Monster of the Day #531 Updated on August 3, 2012 By Ken Begg 42 Comments Frankly, I thought the first sequel to The Car would have featured the drive shaft. But whatever. Tweet Pin It Related PostsMonster of the Day #1678 (Dec 18, 2017) Monster of the Day #1677 (Dec 15, 2017) Monster of the Day #1676 (Dec 14, 2017) Monster of the Day #1675 (Dec 13, 2017) Monster of the Day #1674 (Dec 12, 2017) By Ken Begg http://jabootu.net Beckoning Chasm I really liked this movie, probably more so than would be considered reasonable, given the movie in question. Gamera977 If it’s the movie I think it is when a friend described it to me my reaction was more or less – WTH!?! The Rev. I saw this was on Netflix or Hulu, one of those, and made a note to watch it as soon as possible (Ip Man came first, and we were out of town last weekend, so maybe this weekend). I still can’t believe the premise of this thing; I simply must see it for myself. MrTongoRad I saw this movie. Why? No reason. I enjoyed it too. Why? No reason. SteveWD I had high hopes for this movie but came away feeling very ‘meh’ about it. Now ‘The Car’, that’s a ‘good’ bad movie. Maybe even a great ‘bad’ movie. I have The Car’s horn sound as a ring tone, and the movie didn’t try to explain itself or it’s ludicrous-ness every 5 minutes. This movie would have been so much better had it just taken the idea and played it straight rather than being all ‘meta’. Flangepart Well, that’s an obvious retread of other ideas, gone all rubbery and losing air, but pumped up with it’s awareness of where it’s been down the road. Okay…I’ll stop now… Ken_Begg Rubber II: Retired The natural double bill for The Car 2: Repossessed bgbear_rogerh rimshot Flangepart I’m bolting for the door! Gamera977 Normally I’d try to come up with a pun but today I’m just too tired… Sandy Petersen so … I looked up the film, having never heard of it. Was this a prank of some kind? How did this get a team of people to make it? What the HELL?! Sandy Petersen has been driven speechless by the fact that this movie apparently rolled into production. bgbear_rogerh I hear the producers had a Goodyear. MrTongoRad Yeah, but they also had to tread carefully. Gamera977 I think I’d rather see the Michelin Man go on a rampage. It could start with him beating some poor guy with a tire iron for purchasing a set of Firestones and end with him shooting down the Goodyear blimp with a SAM. Ken_Begg Well, they did after they canned the original director. Sure, the guy had made such famous films as Wall Street and Platoon. In the end, though, he went over budget and they had to fire Stone. bgbear_rogerh oh Ken, you Hankook. zombiewhacker Stumped me again. What movie are we looking at here? Ken_Begg Man, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that brand! Are they regional? Rock Baker One of those films where I saw the trailer and said “No.” I like an unusual monster and a desert setting and all that, but again, if you don’t have enough confidence in your own idea to play it straight, why should I bother with it? Why couldn’t you just make a horror movie about a tire possessed by some alien intelligence? That could have been kind of interesting. Gyped again. I’m not sure, but I think the title was something like RUBBER. Beckoning Chasm It’s called “Rubber.” It stars “Robert” and Wings Hauser. bgbear_rogerh 8th largest tire manufacturer in world they are out of Korea. Check your Hyundai. Gamera977 Yeah, a killer tire just sounds like too much for me. And I love ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!’ Ken_Begg Rock, that’s rather dismissive, isn’t it? You can’t really be arguing that there’s only one correct way to do a story. Aside from all the other problems with that idea, it would result in tremendous boredom. Rock Baker All I know is that I’ve seen a movie or two that would have made fine straight monster movies but were played for laughs instead, and it felt like a waste of a good idea. I admit, I seem to be in the minority on this. The best example is surly DR. STRANGELOVE. All I see when I watch that film is a missed chance to make a fine suspense film. Most of my viewing time is spent re-editing the flick in my head. I thought FAIL-SAFE! had much more power and emotional impact (though, again, I recognize that I seem to be in the minority on this). I grew up with Dragnet and the Holy Bible, irony isn’t the easiest thing for me to digest. You know why I love 80’s genre films? Because that was the last decade where you could take really wacky idea and play it straight. Case in point, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE. If it had been played for laughs instead of scares, I doubt it would be remembered at all today. (Well, it might be. It was made by some very talented people. But I still say the strength of the film is that it’s a straight horror story -albeit with a plot borrowed from THE BLOB- which takes a ridiculous premise and uses it for chills.) I remember when watching SHAUN OF THE DEAD, I didn’t get much out of it until the later reels where it turned into an actual straight survival movie. Again, though, my example only highlights the point that I’m in the minority on this issue. You can mix laughs and chills, but I hate to see a good premise wasted by being played for laughs when it would have worked so well played straight. Rock Baker And while Whale threw in some humorous elements to THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE INVISIBLE MAN, they were still straight in their premises, were they not? Ken_Begg It seems to me you’re shaving a pretty fine line, there. There’s a *lot* of black comedy in BoF, and it’s exactly those comic elements that make the film so much richer than the original Frankenstein. Surely Whales preferred camp in his horror movies–see Old Dark House–and I would hardly say that demonstrated a lack of confidence on his part. (Same thing for Vincent Price. Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood are both heavily comic, and great movies.) I can obviously understand that you (and everyone, including definitely me) has personal preferences, but I don’t really get jumping from the subjective to the objective, as it were. Rock Baker Well, with newer films, those made after what we could call the post-irony period of the 70’s, you occasionally run across something where it seems someone came up with a premise and then asked themselves “Should I play this straight? It’s a pretty far out concept. Yeah, I’d better try to make it funny, then people will laugh WITH me and not AT me!” That’s the attitude that irks me. It seems to me it’s braver to play a concept like killer tires or clowns or whatever with a straight face than it is to assume people will laugh at you and try to head them off at the pass. NIGHT OF THE LEPUS gets a lot of ribbing, but I think it’s a decent enough movie that it holds up. If it were outright comical, it would just feel like something they were fully embarrassed with. So it seems with this recent number of comical horror films. It seems like they would have been embarrassed if they just tried to scare people. (An off-shoot of this might be how the makers of the original PIRANHA have tried to re-write their intentions. The film certainly seems to be a straight horror picture, not the spoofy sort of deal the director and writer insist it actually is. They made a really good monster movie, yet seem to be afraid of having people think of it that way.) cullen_waters I’m fairly certain a lot of Killer Klowns was played for laughs, such as the clown girls in the space tent. Certainly the way to disposed of the Klowns was silly. It’s just that when it went for the Horror aspect it did so quite well. Which reminds me to check Netflix and make sure that flick’s still there. Been a while… The Rev. Someone get this man a budget! The Rev. I have no need, I own it! Yeah, it’s definitely not full-on horror. It is, however, one of the better blendings of horror and comedy ever produced. Quite a few gags manage to be creepy and humorous all at once; the invisible car bit, for instance, or the ventriloquist gag. Ken_Begg Well, obviously mileage varies. But the reason most people find Night of the Lepus so awful and hilarious is that it takes a simply unbelievably hysterical idea–giant killer rabbits–and plays it completely straight. To most, including, it must be said, myself, this doesn’t come across as brave so much as utterly clueless. I understand where you’re coming from, but confidence isn’t always a good thing. Frankly, the makers of Night of the Lepus probably should have been a lot less confident. If so, they might have chosen a central premise that didn’t strike 98% or more of the audience as completely ludicrous. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with asking an audience to laugh with you as long as you execute the movie properly. Evil Dead II, Return of the Living Dead 1 & 2, Re-Animator, Tucker & Dale Fight Evil, Black Sheep, Dr. Phibes, etc. A film fails not from its approach, but from how well it achieves its intent. That said, there are many, many films that went for comedy and abjectly failed. But that’s an execution issue, not a conceptual one. Petoht I’ve only seen a review for this movie, but my problem isn’t a killer tire. Or even a tire that randomly gains sentience and goes on a rampage. I’m fine with that, and not going to immediately dismiss it. My problem is that it seems like they decided to stuff it full of 4th wall breaking and “deep” social commentary and just generally acted like they’re above their own killer-tire idea. Honestly, it’s similar to the problems I have with movies like Funny Games. Don’t make a killer tire movie if you just want to mock and ridicule creature features. Don’t make a hyper-violent home invasion movie just to talk about how terrible people who watch home invasion movies are. Honestly, they fall into the same trap Soap did. After awhile, Soap stopped being a parody of soap operas and became one. Flangepart Proof ya never know what a post will go afar… Dr. STRANGELOVE did the comedy angle, and FAIL SAFE did the direct fear angle. F S worked just fine, though the ending was just short of having a ‘Mineshaft Gap!’ Was the humor in Dr. S meant to make the ending a bit more endurable, mayhaps? Or just to show the directors attitude towards the whole concept of M.A.D.? Also, there’s the Riff factor. The more seriously a film takes a shaky premise, the more it sets it’s entirety (Cast, crew, writers) for a wedgie. Any Rifftrax or Cinematic titanic always comment on a blown concept like a mecanic talks about a dumb driver move. “Well, ya see here, you shouldn’t oughta let the FX guys use cheap rubber in the monsters suit, but yer real mistake was letting the audience know it was a dream sequence. That’s what caused the blow out at the box office.” Rock Baker It’s one of those where the gags are made more horrifying by their supposedly harmless nature. The Klowns gathered under the window with the trampoline for example. It’s timed like a joke, but it drives home how hopelessly surrounded the girl was and added to the suspense. There’s a blend, sure, but mostly it’s an effective horror movie. Mooney being used as a dummy is classic material, a riff on how aliens use human bodies to communicate and showcasing a horrific fate for the character as well. The scene also completely establishes the evil intent of the Klowns. Goofy, but horrifying, it keeps the audience on edge. Brilliant stuff. Rock Baker I recently watched RE-ANIMATOR, and I’ve seen DR. PHIBES a few times. They have some humor in them, but both still function as horror stories (particularly RE-ANIMATOR). There’s subtle satire and there’s outright spoofery. The scene shown in the trailer for RUBBER, where a cop shows his colleagues a tire and says, more or less, “this is our enemy” and one guy responds by asking if the evil tire is round, or black, or whatever it was, didn’t strike me as funny. It was just insulting, on a gut-instinct level. I’m not saying there’s only ONE way to tell a monster story, that would be folly, but there are ways that just alienate a potential audience. Comedy is hard on it’s own. Mixing it properly with horror is even more so. RUBBER looked like it belongs in the same class as that movie where Ron Jeremy’s disembodied, alien-possessed penis goes on a killing rampage. Rock Baker That’s more or less how the preview struck me. I’m all for a killer tire movie (I think the concept actually COULD support a monster movie, really). RUBBER just looked pretentious. They took an intriguing concept and then went ‘funny’ with it, and from all appearances did so in about the least amusing way possible. Rock Baker It’s been my experience that it doesn’t matter HOW good a movie is, SOMEone, SOMEwhere will make fun of it. That shouldn’t be the concern of the film makers. I’m sure the Rifftrax guys would be just as merciless with QUO VADIS as they were with PLANET OF DINOSAURS. I’m sure they’d be just as funny too. How shaky a premise is, or how straight it was handled, wouldn’t have much to do with it. At least I knew how to react to FAIL-SAFE!, which is one of the few films to ever actually scare me. STRANGELOVE just had me tilting my head in confusion most of the time. Part of it seems to be that FAIL-SAFE! wasn’t as pretentious as STRANGELOVE (a film which clearly thinks it’s brilliant in it’s own observations on human nature). Let’s take ON THE BEACH, as hopelessly flawed an end-of-the-world flick as was ever made. Would it have been better if it were played for laughs? I don’t think so. At least as is there are a few good scenes with some fine actors to enjoy. The concept keeps it from having any validity, but the only thing that really scuttles the flick is the pretentious nature of those who made it. Had they not been so focused on a message and substituted a killer plague or cosmic storm for radioactive fallout (and this, remember, in 1959, when every grade-schooler understood the principals of atomic bombs), it would have worked just fine. Actually, even the flawed atomic bomb stuff might’ve worked had they been less focused on changing the world. It’s a complex matter, for sure. Petoht Honestly, for me, it’s not that they went funny. I can handle funny. Tremors balanced both nicely, as another example. My problem is that they went “ironic hipster” and tried to deconstruct the genre. The only thing I hate more than hipsters are dirty hippies. The Rev. Man, how’d I forget Tremors?? That’s one of those rare movies all three of us enjoy about equally, and are happy to make time to watch. What a great damn movie that is. Rock Baker Again, though, the monster stuff in that one WAS played completely straight. TREMORS wasn’t a self-mocking parody so much as a slick monster movie with a sharp script. I’d like to see a LOT more of those, actually. Flangepart Hummm… Interesting. Never thought of the threat in ON THE BEACH as unworkable. Did the remake use the ‘killer germ’ idea? Still, it’s been so long since I watched the original. Re:Riffing. You’re right, any film can be riffed, but as to how badly it ‘needs it’, IE to make it watchable is a personal question. Very subjective, methinks. Rifftrax did Star Trek 2, which I enjoyed. Sometimes they just seem too sure of themselves. But like I said, that’s a subjective view. Rock Baker Was there a remake of ON THE BEACH? I suppose VIRUS could be considered such (and that one did indeed use a killer bug as it’s premise). The biggest problem with ON THE BEACH is that the whole thing is built around the aftermath of an atomic exchange, and the bombs in question are nothing like real a-bombs. Fallout, even from an exchange big enough to destroy the world (and we see New York completely intact, remember) wouldn’t linger in the clouds for years on end. The danger from atomic fallout is, in reality, very short-lived (roughly two weeks or less). Just off the top of my head, I can only think of two films that handled atomic bombs in a realistic fashion, INVASION USA and PANIC IN YEAR ZERO (I grant there may have been a couple others, but I haven’t seen them all yet).