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The Tangential Thinker - Ladue News: Tangential Thinker

The Tangential Thinker

Monster Mash

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Posted: Friday, January 8, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 11:21 pm, Tue Aug 9, 2011.

Well, it’s a new year: 2010, a year filled with endless possibilities. A year filled with resolutions and projects and goals. And apparently it will also be a year filled with werewolves. Last year was widely regarded in the media as the year of the—can you guess?—vampire. With the Twilight craze and HBO’s smash series True Blood, there was a vampire in every multiplex and on every television in America. Now there is confident speculation that 2010 will be the year of the werewolf.

    I’m not big on werewolves, personally. Nobody can seem to pull off the transformation—it always looks to me like that time-lapse photography film of a flower blooming we saw in science class. We all know Hollywood is a derivative place, though. Someone hits a homerun with a werewolf movie, the next thing you know 10 studios have ‘unnamed werewolf project’ in development.

    The years from 1992 to 1994 were the last big vampire era that I recall. Coppola kicked it off with Gary Oldman as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Then there was Luke Perry’s step to the big screen opposite Kristy Swanson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  The movie then went on to become a wildly popular cult TV series. Anne Rice’s bestselling novel, Interview with a Vampire, was getting a second wind and became the screenplay for Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise’s only big screen pairing. You have to wonder what happened there. Oddly enough, much like this year, vampires transitioned to werewolves with the underwhelming Jack Nicholson-Michelle Pfeiffer film, Wolf…again the transformation, well to be fair, that and the plot.

    Before vampires, obviously, it was witches and wizards. Next up, led by Taylor Lautner and his gang of shirtless hunks, come the wolves. Anthony Hopkins steps in with a much darker tale of the beast in The Wolfman. Then we have the ultimate demonstration that there is no creativity or originality left in Hollywood, as rumors abound that Warner Brothers is looking for writers to update the script for the ridiculous Michael J. Fox romp, Teen Wolf. What is it about a werewolf on a basketball team that screams remake?

    Personally, I am not a huge fan of monster movies. I have three smallish children, so life is scary enough. What’s more, when movies are not too scary to sit through they are often too stupid to sit through. The advances in the special effects alone make the older movies seem silly. My kids watched Jaws over the summer and, with the exception of that bone-chilling opening sequence, they thought it was a comedy. There are times, though, when a movie is just scary enough—and just clever enough—to be great. We all remember when Hannibal Lecter smacked his lips at Clarice, or when Jack Torrance hacked his way through the hotel room door comically announcing, “Here’s Johnny.” So whatever awaits us in 2010, be it werewolves, zombies, mummies or ghosts, let’s just hope it’s good. 

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