27 August 2019

The Monster Book Of Monsters

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Did you see the remake of The Evil Dead? Do you know what I'd do if I found a book that was wrapped in human skin and tied shut with a piece of barbed wire? I'd throw it in the fucking bin. I read some porn that I found in the bushes as a kid once and that was fucking bad enough. Well.. I didn't read it but I was still frightened by what I saw. There are so many horror movies though in which the main characters find a clearly horrific piece of reading material and then start flicking through it like they've picked up the latest fucking Jack Reacher. I don't mean to sound too shitty but if you're hoping to pick up the latest best-seller for your book club then it's probably not going to be the one that you found in the bowels of a cursed fucking pyramid is it? The latest film to feature this as a plot device is the Guillermo Del Toro produced Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark in which a group of teenaged kids find a book that's written in blood and decide to take it home with them. Why would you do that? If I'm going to put myself at risk of catching AIDs then I can think of more fun ways of doing it than attempting a bit of light fucking reading. 

Although maybe I'm being too harsh? I don't read books at the best of times because they're usually full of spoilers for the films that will one day be made of them. This is one of the reasons that I hadn't read the original books that this film was based on. The other reason might have been that I'd never fucking heard of them. I think that the original series may have been an anthology thing with the book of blood that the kids read in this movie featuring the various stories from the source material. In the movie, the stories are all written in front of the kids from thin air too if that makes sense? So they'll look at a blank page and suddenly the words will just begin to appear on their own. Obviously, this terrifies the kids but if you were an author with writer's block then I suspect it would be your actual wet dream. Except, to complicate things further, the stories that the book begins to write all feature the main characters and all end up coming true. So there'll be a blank page, it'll start writing a horror story in which one of the kids is killed by a monster and at the same time, that kid will be getting killed by that monster. Does that make sense? It doesn't does it? For fuck's sake. Do you remember the Goosebumps movie in which the plot was that the Goosebumps books were all coming to life? Well, it's just that but crossed with the self-writing of Tom Riddles fucking diary from Harry Potter.

Did I mention that they find the book of blood in a haunted house, by the way? The film is set in the 1960s and at Halloween and the kids decide to have some fun by visiting a local haunted house in an attempt at scaring themselves. If kids want to shit their pants these days then it's way easier to just check out their student debts and then have another look at their fucking job prospects. When exploring the house the gang get split up with one of them getting briefly trapped in some terrifying and supernatural-seeming red room. This incident ends up haunting him throughout the rest of the movie and for good reason too. If Twin Peaks and Fifty Shades Of Grey have taught me anything it's that a Red Room is not to be trusted and that the kid is now at risk of being taunted by a backwards speaking dwarf or worse... fucked with a strap-on. The house is considered to be haunted because a young girl had previously gone missing and it was rumoured that her family had murdered her there. The book of blood was said to have been written by her as she lay trapped in a secret room. When exploring the house the kids find this secret room which would finally provide proof and solve the mystery of what happened to that missing girl. Rather than telling a single adult about it though they simply steal her book and then try to deal with all of the ensuing creepy shit by themselves. I think that the message of this movie might be that just because a person reads books for fun it doesn't mean that they're not still a fucking idiot.

I have to say that I did quite enjoy this movie although if it has any problem it's that despite its relatively intense third act it was never quite scary enough over-all. The director has said that he was hoping to make a film for kids that would act as a gateway horror in the hope that they'd then go on to explore the genre further. Although my understanding of kids these days is that the only thing that piques their interest is when a friend sends them a Snapchat of their genitals. The director also went on to say that when making this film it was his intention of stretching the PG rating as far as it could go. I'd say that he managed that too because in the UK it's rated 15 meaning that his target audience isn't allowed to fucking see it. I don't mean to suggest that he went overboard but as far as stretching things go I'd say that was like attempting to win a dick-measuring competition by tying your bell-end to the back of a car and then getting the driver to fucking floor it. As a result, the film is too scary for the people that it's aimed at but not quite scary enough for the people who are seeing it. At one point the book begins to write its next horror story which begins with the title of 'The Red Dot', which caused a group of women in my screening to burst out in laughter. I have no idea why they 'The Red Dot' would get such an emotional response for them though I suspect they were on their periods.

I don't want to put you off seeing it though because it's significantly better made than the general arse-dribble of shite that's pumped into the cinema under the usual guise of horror. This film has an obvious fondness for the genre with it attempting at least a little subtext beyond the usual 90 minutes of nothingness in which the void is only ever punctuated by the predictable attempt at a jump scare. The film also deals with a character that suffers abuse for being Mexican, it talks about the Vietnam war and the tragedy of lost youths, and it constantly reminds us of Nixon's Presidency. Why a film would want to talk about racism, kids being shot, and the damage that a lying twat can do as President is a mystery considering the shining fucking utopia that we live in right now. As you can imagine the other thing that the movie seems interested in talking about is the power of stories and the damage that can be caused by words alone. Again, with Trump as President and with the UK about to be donkey punched by the bullshit of Brexit, I can't quite see how making shit up could ever cause trouble. I think we're currently at the point in the Brexit debate in which politicians are reassuring us that we'll still have clean drinking water after we leave the EU. I'm pretty sure, that's also their way of saying that we should get used to the taste of our own piss. The actual monsters on-screen are also one of the stand-out aspects of the movie though and pretty much justify the price of the ticket alone. I won't spoil what exactly they are except to say that the Pale Lady was particularly creepy. Not only does she look like the perverted bride of the Stay Puft Man but I'm pretty sure that she might also have been my first girlfriend and I have to admit that seeing that fucking bitch again did come close to scaring the shit out of me. Thanks for reading motherfuckers and see you next time.

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