The Guest / No one Lives – are they horror? [thoughts + spoilers]

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Films: The Guest [2014] and No one Lives [2013?]

Genre: horror [allegedly]

Director: Adam Wingard [You’re Next], Ryuhei Kitamura [Azumi, Midnight Meat Train]

Starring: Dan Stevens [Upstairs, Downstairs], Maika Monroe [Labor Day], Luke Evans [Fast & Furious 6], Adelaide Clemens [Silent Hill: revelation 3D, Blue Water High]

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I’m not sure if there’s an objective test to tell if a film is horror or not. I know there’s one that judges whether a film represents women in an equal way…maybe that could be adjusted for the horror tag.

Bechdel Test [representation of white women in movies]

A movie that

i] has two or more women

ii] who talk to each other

iii] about something other than men

It’s an interesting test, actually…not the most accurate as it fails movies like ‘Aliens’ which have one strong female role [Vasquez doesn’t really count as she doesn’t have much of a character, unless you want to argue nuance from her relationships with Gorman and Drake]…but it does make you realise how badly women are treated in Hollywood.

I wonder if ‘The Guest’ and ‘No one Lives’ would pass the Bechdel Test? They say horror is more representative of women, which is an easy sentence to make when you don’t need to explain who ‘they’ are…yeah, I just made it up. I guess I’m thinking of the ‘final girl’ trope from horror films…the idea that women are the only ones strong enough to beat the killer, like ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Halloween’…even though they’re used as the final girl because they are physically weak and can make the film scarier. E.g. if Michael Myers had been chasing Macho Man Randy Savage round that house I don’t think it would’ve been quite as terrifying… Continue reading

John Dies at the End [thoughts + spoilers]

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Film: John Dies at the End

Director: Don Coscarelli [guy who did Phantasm films]

Writer of the book [not sure about the screenplay]: David Wong

Genre: Bizarro sci-fi

Starring: 2 guys you don’t know, Paul Giamatti, Toto.

Is Clancy Brown in it? Yes.

Does he play a prison guard? No.

Why not? No prisons to guard.

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I’m not writing for anyone that pays, so I’ll skip the intro/preamble and the through line argument and just write down some random notes.

Note: I’ve never read the book, but I have seen the film, so that’s what I’m going off.

It’s an empty world

First thing I noticed was a lack of parents. A lack of anyone, actually. The restaurant at the beginning doesn’t seem to have any waiters or waitresses or even customers except David and Paul Giamatti. There might’ve been a maitre’d when Giamatti first entered, I can’t remember, but if there was, they didn’t appear again.

Neither John nor David lives with their parents. The only oldies in the whole film are Giamatti, the police officer and Clancy Brown. Continue reading