I know what you’re thinking, what does a medieval fair and a horror remake have in common. The answer is: absolutely nothing. But when I finished writing about my Pumpkin Hurl experience, it wasn’t enough to make an entire blog post around. So on Saturday I went to the 4th Annual Pumpkin Hurl, an event where people spend quite a bit of time and money constructing some impressively complex machinery designed for the sole purpose of flinging a pumpkin as far as possible. That, however, was not the main reason I went. No, the real reason I went was to see medieval/reinassance reenactments.
It was a fascinating experience, mostly because I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb like I expected to. Deciding not to take my swords with me, since carrying a broadsword while wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt looked sort of odd, I expected to find myself the lone person in such boring clothes. I was surprised to find that most people there were actually dressed normally, and the actors spoke like normal 21st century citizens, not a single “Ye” or “Sire” to be heard. In fact many of the people were extremely knowledgeable about the era they were recreating, especially a one Master Wilhelm, who generously gave several of us a class in Viking sword fighting. Thankfully we were only using wooden swords, since everyone took the opportunity to hack at my legs, and let’s put it this way; even if I’d been a spider, at the end of the day I still would have ended been legless if we’d been using real swords. One of the disadvantages of being tall is that the shield barely managed to cover my torso, let alone my legs, leaving me quite vulnerable.
At one point he told me to brace so that he could demonstrate locking shields, there’s a better more poetic name he used but I’ve forgotten it. Anyway it’s when two combatants smash shields together in order to force one away or such.
So, thinking he just wanted me to hold my shield up so he could brush against it, I lifted my shield arm and waited. Moments later, this happened:
Okay, not really, but I was almost flung onto my back by a guy half my size and nearly three-times my age. Wilhelm smashed into me like a Viking berzerker, my shield slammed into my side and nearly broke my knuckles from the impact. If it hadn’t been for my spry body and lightning reflexes (read: huge bulky body, and pure luck), I would have ended up like that poor unfortunate soul flying through the air. Fortunately for my pride, my back, and for that matter Wilhelm (who would have fallen over as well), I managed to keep my feet. The class only lasted about ten minutes after that, learning how to parry, thrust, slash and dance, no seriously, the foot work required is a lot like dancing. Then after some sparring, it was over. After only ten minutes, most of us were sweating and tired, so it’s probably just as well it was short. It looks easy in the movies.
And speaking of movies:
The Thing is being remade.
Now I love me some Thing.
I saw John Carpenter’s The Thing when I was kid, and thought it was the scariest thing I’d seen since…well ever, since I was only about twelve at the time. I also watched it a few weeks ago on Netflix and, while it wasn’t as scary (and traumatizing) as it was when I was twelve, it still holds up as an excellent horror film. The best part about it, was that when the heroes realized that the thing was capable of mimicking humans, the paranoia became so great that the threat of being killed by one of your buddies was just as big a threat the thing itself.
But from what I’ve seen of this prequel so far, it seems to be heading in a terrible direction. A direction that many, many, many bad prequels and sequels have travelled before. A direction taken, not by the director, or the screenwriters, or even the actors. A direction taken by the Producers, the money behind the throne of Hollywood.
The big warning sign? An attractive American woman shoehorned into a plot about a bunch of Norwegian scientists in Antarctica.
Now compare that to the protagonist of John Carpenter’s The Thing, Kurt motherfucking Russell:
See the difference here? Now I’m not saying a woman couldn’t have played a rugged, self-sufficient hero like Kurt Russell. In fact I would pay good money for that. What I won’t pay good money for, on the other hand, is yet another movie where a young beautiful woman is chased around by a monster. I don’t want another Halloween remake, no more Saw type torture-porn, and definitely not more teeth-clenchingly awful and awkward romance that makes me wake up in a cold sweat.
I don’t mean to sound like some kind of Alpha Male, but come on. The woman looks like she’s arrived for a photo shoot for some kind of Eskimo porno mag, just enough fur covering to look sexy but not so much that you can’t admire that taut, mouth watering body that makes me want to….huh? What was I talking about? Oh right, the Thing. That hot juicy, thing…No no no. Anyway, from a writing perspective this woman is here presumably to do some research, in the middle of Antarctica (otherwise known as the frozen asscrack of nowhere) and she just doesn’t look the part. If there’s an antarctic female scientist among my readers who does actually bring this many beauty products with them on their mission, I’d love to hear from you and will retract my statements. That said, maybe I’m putting too much on outward appearance. Maybe looking that good will make us all the more willing to root for her.
But that’s exactly the problem!
Giving us, that is Males aged 16-30 (their expected viewership), an attractive female protagonist is supposed to make us more sympathetic toward her. They’re hoping we’ll think with our hormones rather than our minds, and root for her because we subconsciously want to sleep with her. That’s just lazy, sloppy work that is. Hopefully the actress, and the script for that matter, are good enough to make her character interesting enough to like for something other than her body.
Please Hollywood, I’m not asking you to make this movie better than John Carpenter’s version, hell I don’t even think that’s possible. I’m not even asking you to make it good. I’m just asking…no no no, I’m begging you, just don’t let it be completely terrible. For god’s sake, have a little pity! I’ve already seen my beloved Star Wars repeatedly savaged by a now clearly insane George Lucas, Michael Bay has ruined my favorite childhood show, and every movie that has pretended to call itself horror in the last ten years consists almost entirely of movies like Saw and Hostel. Or in other words, movies that seem to think that if there’s less than ten gallons of blood per minute flooding across the set you can’t consider it horror. Haven’t I suffered enough?
Look I’ll make a deal with you. If I can sit through The Thing 2011 without having to claw out my own eyeballs, I won’t come to all houses and cry bloody tears on your doorstep. Okay? Deal? Good.
I’m…I’m going to lay down now…