• The Children, Spiderhole, Silent Night Deadly Night, Gremlins, Stripes (626/360)

    by  • 12/26/2011 • film • 0 Comments

    THE CHILDREN – This little family get together includes talk of viruses, traditional Chinese medicine, and home schooling. The hippies talk about “building kids immunity in a natural way instead of all those nasty jabs”. I’m not sure if the film is using this as a convenient plot point from contemporary headlines, or if they’re trying to say something about vaccinations that I’m missing.

    There’s a load of sick kids, an evil sled, a pervy uncle, and a girl who’s neither adult nor child. Throw in intra-family suspicion and guilt and you can be relatively certain nobody’s going to make it out alive.

    I thought this was a pretty well done film; it’s not black and white, there’s reasonably realistic portrayals by the actors. However, the Netflix page is full of insane reviews about how “people would never behave like this” – I think Netflix reviewers expected A CHRISTMAS STORY.

    SPIDERHOLE – A group of four art school losers head out to find a nice place to establish a squat, using the UK’s liberal squatters’ rights to live rent free at someone else’s expense.

    They break into a house that’s boarded up, and they can’t believe their luck when they find they’re trapped inside with doors and windows welded shut. It’s similar to so many films in the genre; locked in a house with a psycho killer who kills everyone off, one by one.

    Of course, the last person living manages to escape; nearly.

    SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT – Weird structure here, building from Billy’s childhood where his grandfather told him scary stories about Santa. His parents are killed by Santa shortly afterward, and then Santa “stalks” him and his post-traumatic stress disorder… It’s not all that often that you get the full origin story right up front in the slasher films.

    There’s a weird “Billy’s got a job montage” where he lifts and carries things, helps kids, smiles, etc. It’s pretty obvious that no good is going to come from this good kid who doesn’t do anything wrong…

    “I want to be good. I don’t mean to be naughty. Don’t punish me.”

    GREMLINS – Here’s three simple, easy to keep rules – don’t ask why these arbitrary rules exist, just obey. When something bizarre happens, take the creature to your high school science teacher for vivisection…

    Nature vs Nurture? Were the generation two Gremlins born bad?

    The second half of the film features an extended scene of gags with the Bad Gremlins in the bar, behaving badly. Then they’re all in a movie theatre, watching Disney films, behaving badly. Apparently they can get water-based liquids like soda and beer on themselves without issue? There’s so much about these scenes, and the film as a whole, that’s poorly done.

    At the end – “You are not ready!” Not ready? EXPLAIN THE RULES NEXT TIME, and maybe nobody will die. Asshole.

    Longest 100 minute long film I’ve seen in ages. Another film that I enjoyed as a kid pretty much ruined by watching it as an adult. There’s nothing fantastic here – it’s just a string of skits and sight gags; the inventor father, and his unusable inventions, the rich old lady, everything the Bad Gremlins do… GREMLINS has less to offer for story or character building than even SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT.

    STRIPES – “No, we’re not homosexuals, but we’re willing to learn. Would they send us someplace special?”

    STRIPES has held up remarkably well for me over the years; a lot more that GREMLINS has, apparently. This has always felt like two movies to me – the redemption of John Winger in the first part, and the mission to Germany in the second.


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