Things the Internet Killed...

The first time I accessed the Internet was at my friend Chris Leuty's house around 1995-1996.  Chris, many years my junior, was the local wiz-kid and techno geek. Back then, I was brand new to computers and I was simultaneously jealous and intimidated by all of the things he knew about them.  I tried to keep up-or, appear that I was keeping up.  After banging away on the keys a bit Chris turned to me wide-eyed.
"You're gonna love this, man!" he said. Hyper as always. His enthusiasm easily spread to anyone around him.
"Yeah? OK!" I replied, "We're gonna do what now??" I was certainly excited and had no idea why. haha. I wasn't doing a very good job of pretending to be as knowledgeable as he was.
"It's the FREAKING INTERNET, Charles! It's like our bulletin boards but instead of just Parsons it's the whole world at your keyboard!"
I started with a 24.4 baud modem and used America Online and Prodigy to access the net (Even got some lovely phone bills that nearly got me killed.) It wasn't long until I had a 28.8 modem and a dialup connection. Then a 33.6. And then DSL. Hard to believe 15 or 16 years have come and gone since Chris and I sat in his computer room and browsed those first archaic web pages.
The kid was right.  I DO LOVE ME SOME INTERNET!
The net has changed sooo many things. I could go on and on and on about it but the purpose of this post is to mourn (ok, that's a little dramatic-let's say look back fondly on-some of the things the net has, if not outright killed, then greatly diminished...

1.  Board Games

When I was a kid there were two primary forms of play.  You could run outside and climb trees, ride bikes, walk the railroad tracks, play hide and seek and football and yadda yadda yadda...Or, if you were a bit more of a house brat like me you could make kool aid and play board games!  I loved board games! Especially Monopoly!

How often do kids play monopoly anymore?  I play all of the time...but guess what?  Yep, I do it ON THE INTERNET! Once in a blue moon my sister and my brother in law will be in the proper mood and I can talk them into playing a game or two but by and large if I wanna play I do it on the net. Chess?  Scrabble? Reversi? Cards?  Same deal.   I like "meeting" other players and having a chit chat whilest Im either winning brilliantly (seldom) or losing spectacularly (often). On the other hand, I miss physically sitting in the same room with someone and interacting with them face to face.  I enjoy seeing the look on their face when an "AH HAH!" moment happens or a valuable piece is lost. You just can't get that same experience on the net. It's really strange how the net brings people together while simultaneously isolating them.

Here's a sampling of my other favorite board games from yesteryear:

When I was an even younger child I loved games that produced suspense or made a loud noise or both.  Here's some of my very favorite from WAAAAY back.  Do you remember any of these???

PERFECTION absolutely thrilled me when I was a kid. I loved racing against the timer and it always gave me a start when the bed popped up and threw the shapes everywhere.

OPERATION.  Look out! Don't touch the sides.  You have to have a steady hand if you wanna play this game!

BUCK-A-ROO.  This game is just on the very edge of my memory. Each person added a piece to the mule's back until the load becomes too much and the mule "kicks" it all off. This game made me delirious with anticipation!

THE LAST STRAW. This game is very similar to BUCK-A-ROO only with a camel and straws.  If you're the unlucky person who adds the straw that breaks the camel's back you loose!

JAWS.  OK, so I wasn't quite so little when this game came out but I loved it to death anyway!  Can you get the junk out of JAWS mouth without getting your arm bit off???? Great fun!  I spent many an hour playing this one.

ROCK EM SOCK EM ROBOTS.  Oh MAN!!  HELL YES!!!!!  This game was MANDATORY!! If you didn't have it you damn well better hope you had a cousin or best friend who did!  It's robots!!! And they FIGHT! AND THEIR HEADS POP UP!!!! I could NOT get ENOUGH of this game when I was a tiny tot!!!!

DON'T SPILL THE BEANS.  Its a pot.  And you throw beans in it.  If you're the poor shmuck who spills the beans you suck! Another awesome game that I spent untold hours playing. Looking might be safe to say that sometimes I was TOO EASY to amuse....

GNIP GNOP.  Saved the best for the last.  I got this for Christmas when I was 3 or 4.  It's ping pong spelled backwards, get it?  You try to get your plastic balls through the holes and to your opponents side before he does the same to you. My dad would play this with me and Id laugh like a little freaking maniac as I beat on the keys. This was my favorite toy for a long time.

posted under | 0 Comments

That Seventies Religion

You know what really interests me? Religious pop culture.  I don't know what else to call it. The study of religious movements, maybe? But then, that sounds more like it has to do with sanctified bowels than popular religious trends. Religious trends! Yes, that's a much better description but religious pop still sounds more awesome, right? 

The seventies were memorable for several religious pop culture waves that didn't by any means START in the seventies but somehow took on new shapes, prominence, or importance. Here's a few that I remember happening and having an effect on me in my first full decade of religious life.

PROPHECY-(Sorry kid, you ain't never gonna grow up!) Prophecy has always been a big deal to believers and non-believers alike. Everyone wants to know when the world is going to come to an end. I have never been able to fully fathom the reasons of just why.  (Hey, guess what?  In three weeks everything I ever was, everything I ever had, everyone I ever loved is just going to...end! Wow, can't wait to stand around and wait for all of that! It's gonna be spectacular!) Does three weeks of knowing something make up for the lifetime you spent not knowing?  No, I can't see it my friend. Anyways, there's always a few know-it-alls in every crowd that desperately want to know something you don't. Like when the world is gonna end. Some people make prophecy-or, if you want to impress your friends with larger words-eschatology, their entire life's work.  Imagine that! Depressing, if you ask me.
Anyways, if you were a devout christian kid in the seventies one thing you knew for sure for sure is that you were living in the very last days before the return of Jesus Christ. Chances were more than good that you'd never live on this good earth past-at the most-your mid teens. Nope.  You weren't going to grow up, get married, have children of your own or any of that stuff.  One day soon the trumpet of the Lord would sound, you'd be zapped into heaven, the remainder of the poor shlobs on this planet would almost literally go to hell in a hand-basket, Jesus would erase the cosmic chalkboard and that was it, buddy.  The next 80 billion years to infinity would be spent singing ROCK OF AGES and listening to non-stop preaching. My child brain couldn't hardly grasp all of that.  It sounded kind of harsh...I mean, I would get terribly restless during a three hour sermon.  I couldn't imagine church services going on....FOREVER! I was terrified by the thought of my family or my relatives or my friends missing that trumpet call.  What if-just what if one of us got left behind by accident? It was a thought that broke my heart and scared me stupid.  I know it was selfish (so I thought as a little boy) but I wanted to LIVE! Here on earth! A long time!  I wanted to grow up, have (GULP!!) SEX and kiss girls and drive cars and all of that cool stuff everyone else did when they hit adulthood.
There have always been Doomsday sayers but non greater in the 70s than one Mr. Hal Lindsey. His book THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH was almost like a Pentecostals apocalypse field guide! Or so it was in our house.  In this book Lindsey basically examines books of the Old Testament like Daniel and Ezekiel and the New Testament book of Revelations and correlates the prophetic scriptures there with the then current events of the 1970s.

My dad was going into the ministry in the early 70's and he had a big fascination for Prophecy and "end-times" stuff so if Hal Lindsey had been Gamma radiation my sis and I would be sibling hulks now because we got mega-mega-MEGA doses of Hal Lindsey!

 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" 1 Peter 5:8

Another fact every self respecting Pentecostal kid knew was that the DEVIL was everywhere, man.  He was hiding behind every bush, under every rock, tiptoeing through your dreams, hiding in your rock n roll eight track collection, behind the scenes of your favorite tv show and shining forth from the evil eyes of secret Satan worshipers who claimed to be your friends and neighbors! One misstep, one wrong move and you were likely to be a human sacrifice to some demon or another.

The 1970s were big, big into the occult. Witches, warlocks, evil covens, satanic rituals were everywhere-supposedly.  One of the people who really rode the 1970s Occult tidal wave  was Mike Warnke.  In his best selling book  (1973) THE SATAN SELLER he told the story of his descent into the occult, of becoming a satanic high priest and of his eventual conversion to Christianity.  I owned this book and read it many times as a kid.  Mike Warnke was a hero of mine. It wasn't until many, many years later that Warnke was proven to be a fraud-but that's a story for another time. Right now we're in the 1970s and Warnke is one of the first Superstars of Christian Pop culture.

Mike Warnke
Up until the 1970s spiritual occupations ran along pretty familiar lines.  You had your superstar evangelists like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Kathryrn Khulman, Jimmy Swaggart and the like.  You had preachers, teachers, deacons, singers, and writers. Then, Warnke comes along and is an author, preacher....COMEDIAN and occult expert. Wow, talk about your total entertainment experience! Suddenly the entertainment and evangelism field collide and a whole new avenue is opened up for Christian entertainers. Some of the old hardliners were rolling in their graves-in advance.

Warnke brought the Jesus Freak movement into the seventies and gave many a kid a breath of fresh air from the stodgy same ol same ol that had been around for ages and ages. 

In Part II of That Seventies Religion I'll be posting about some groovy 70's christian comics, movies, records, and other ephemera.

posted under | 0 Comments

Don't take the fun out of comics!

Ever since The Dark Knight became a smash hit in 2008 Hollywood has tripped over itself to reinvent the superhero genre as dark and gritty, angst ridden, and reality based-and it stinks!  What is good for Batman definitely isn't good for say...Superman.
I read a lot of talk now about "Is Superman relevant to today's audiences?" "Can't something be done to update his costume? How about his personality? Can't we make him a little more 'today' (read that as dark and gloomy and angst ridden)?
My answer to all of that is HELL NO! Superman stood for Truth, Justice, and the American way in 1945 and that's what he needs to stand for in 2011.  As for his costume-give me a break, man.  We're talking about a dude that flies, shoots laser beams from his eyes and can turn crooks into Popsicle sticks by breathing on them.  Considering all of that, I don't think that wearing red underwear on the outside is all of that outlandish of a deal.
Having said that, its not the costumes that make these characters who they are. It's not how fantastical the stories are or how angst ridden and reality based they can become that have allowed these heroes to endure for well over half a century.
The secret to the success of these characters is that they are symbols we can believe in, look up to, and be entertained by.  People want Superman to act like SUPERMAN because he's a character we can invest in-we see the better part of ourselves in him. Who wants a superman that acts like Edward Cullins? Superman don't sulk, dude!
What we need are comic book heroes who remain true to who they are, who inspire us and ENTERTAIN us!  Don't we get enough gritty realism in....REAL LIFE? Yes, I think we do!
So Hollywood, the next time you serve us up a heaping helping of super-heroness remember that along with bringing these characters to amazing life, giving them very human traits and struggles we can identify with-don't forget the fantasy element! Don't forget that even in our jaded, mature modern world we still like to be taken on a hell of a roller coaster ride.  Don't forget to feed our hunger for a hero who remains true to who and what he/she is and is still proud to defeat the bad guys wearing a completely inexplicable costume!

posted under | 1 Comments

The Pratt-Cave Website!

Hi Mom (and my other two paid readers! hahahaha!)

I am in the process of making my own little website. I wanted to invite everyone to it.  Now, I'm not a webmaster by any stretch of the imagination but I sure like to tinker with HTML.  Recently, I stumbled across a little freeware crossword puzzle maker that gave me the "want to" to whip up a home page so that I could share my crosswords with you.

I just started so I only have 2 crosswords right now but many more are coming on various topics.  I'm hoping that you will check them out and leave me some feedback.  Too hard? Too easy? Boring? Etc.

The address to my Pratt-Cave website is . Hope to see ya there!

posted under | 0 Comments

Thrift Store Archeology 1

I'm sure you've heard it said that the only two things certain in this world are death and taxes. I would like to add another certainty to that list.  All things, no matter how uber super cool will eventually and ultimately...wind up in a thrift store.  Yes, it's TRUE! Its completely unavoidable.

The other day I was lounging in the Pratt-Cave and I was in a particular warm and fuzzy mood.  I sat back in my manly man lazy boy chair and I took stock of the Pratt-Cave and all of its contents.  I've been blessed with a productive, healthy life.  I've worked hard and I've managed to get many things that I'm proud of and that make me very happy.

Just looking around at all of the movies I dearly love-sitting in nice little rows in nice little boxes burned on nice little dvds-that's joy my friend!  And I got to thinking about what a super awesome cool time it is to be alive.  Oh sure, the world is a mess and times are uncertain but when has that little fact NOT been true to one degree or another?

We have computers and cell phones and wi-fi and giant hi def tvs and on and on and on....truly we live in a remarkable age.  Then I got to thinking...people in 2000 thought those thoughts about everything they had then.  People in 1990 thought those thoughts about their world too.  The people in 1980. Same deal.  1970. get the drift, right?  Hell, there was a day when wheels and flint were cutting edge. And guess what?  At some point all of that awesomeness was forsaken. Abandoned.  Discarded....left to future generations to chuckle over and buy for a quarter.

I'm 41 and just in my lifetime so many things have come and then gone and I've rediscovered it on a thrift store shelf and thought to myself "I remember this! I had one of these!  They were SOOO COOOL...back in the day!"

I made a list (no particular order) of just a few of the odds and ends I used to have and thought was brain shatteringly awesome way back when and can now be bought for a buck or two at the local Salvation Army!


Yes, ladies and gentlemen back in 1986/7 I had me a rockin' 1978 Chevette with a factory installed 8 Track player.  It was a complete chick magnet.  Once the girls at school learned what I was packing in my car I couldn't beat em off me with a stick.  Yeah. Ok, so...ah, maybe that's not COMPLETELY the truth but close enough, right?
Anyways, I was living in Fredonia, Ks at the time and I remember going to ALCO and buying this thing of uber-awesomeness for only 45 dollars!  Now I could play my cassettes man-USING MY AWESOME 8 TRACK ADAPTOR!! Dude, I totally ruled the universe!

 In 1985 I was 16 years old and completely obsessed with movies.  Wow, things have REALLY changed since then, huh? Haha.
I went through a brief period of time where I thought I wanted to make my own movies-just like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg did in their teens.
I finally scraped together enough money from mowing lawns and what not to buy a super-8 camera and some film.  Holy Cow! My own movie camera! I was practically on the road to fame and fortune!  I ran into trouble, however, when I realized that films of my sister's dog running around were-well....boring. I read lots of magazines on creating special effects-stop motion and animation and what not and I wanted to do those things very badly. Unfortunately, that took even more money which I didn't have.  It also took experience, patience, practice, and dedication and despite my blockbuster dreams I didn't have those things either. When no one wanted to be in my movies and I couldn't be George Lucas in five minutes the camera stopped rolling.

 You know, I missed the whole Atari craze.  Oh, I wanted one and probably pestered my mom and dad for one a time or two but I never got too bent out of shape for it. My friend David had one and I enjoyed playing his, even long after Atari 2600's prime. It was a different thing all together though when Nintendo hit the shelves.  Everyone had one and damn it, I wanted one too!

Mom and dad made up for never getting me an Atari by surprising me with a shiny new Nintendo on my birthday back in 90 or 91. I think it was probably 91. Wow! That was another time I felt like I was hot stuff.  My very own Nintendo! I loved playing Super Mario 3, Star Trek, and Gyrus. They were my favorite games and I played them continuously!  If I wasn't at work or watching a movie or sleeping I was probably on my Nintendo trying (and failing) to save the Princess or complete the next Star Trek mission.
I don't know-I just thought the graphics on a Nintendo were the be-all and end-all of gaming. Then my friend Dave got something called a Genesis and I was pretty jealous.  It had better graphics.  Better!  Ahhhhg!
I played the Nintendo for several years and then my enthusiasm for it waned. Eventually it sat tucked away in a nice little box and then finally one day around 2005 I sold it in a garage sale.  
Now I have a playstation 3 and I constantly wonder "how could they ever make anything better than this? Try as I might, I just can't imagine my ps3 mildewing in a thrift store-although that's exactly what will happen to it someday. Some pimply faced teenager will see it all dusted over sitting on a lonely shelf and he'll pick it up and go, "Ohhhh a PS3! I can't believe people actually played with this junk and liked it!" with a big smirk on his face.  I hope Im there to bop him upside the head with my cane and say, "TEENAGERS!  HMMPH!"
Oh man! CBs RULED in the late 70s! Just like everyone else, my mom and dad got caught up in the craze and bought a cb for the car.  I don't know how many hours we spent riding around at night talking on the cb and learning all of the cb lingo.  It's like everyone lost their mind for a while.  Phone?  Who needs a phone when you can jump in the car and drive within a few miles of each other and warn each other about all the smokies in the neighborhood.
Another advantage to talking to each other on the cb as apposed to the phone is that you could go by your super cool sounding handle like Mama Bear or GI Joe.
The snobby people in the neighborhood not only had car cbs but they had base units in their homes.  I guess mom and dad weren't rich enough (or interested enough) to buy a base unit.  We just had to settle for riding around in the car half the night. haha. 
Don't ask me why but in 1983 I talked someone in our church into turning my car cb into a base unit that I could talk on in my bedroom. It was a cobbled together thing but it worked and it made me happy. When I could ride the skip I'd talk to people all over the place.

What are some of your favorite treasures that became junk?

posted under | 1 Comments

Movie Memories: Lethal Weapon I-4

Leathal Weapon (1987)
So, I'm watching TV at work the other night and I stumbled across a Lethal Weapon Marathon.  It really took me back in time.  I can recall each Lethal Weapon movie and what was going on when I watched it.  Here's my Lethal Weapon movie memories.

Lethal Weapon hit the silver screens in March of 1987.  It was the number 1 box office draw for three weeks in a row and reinvented the modern cop buddy film.

You would think that being the movie lover that I am (and getting a huge charge out of Mel Gibson in the MAD MAX movies) that I would have been all over this film. Inexplicably, I could have cared less to see this movie at the theatre.  In my opinion, cop movies were a dime a dozen. I was much more into science fiction, westerns, and classic horror films at the time.

I didn't see Lethal Weapon until it had been on VHS for quite a while.

An old friend of mine from Pratt, Kansas came down to Chetopa where I lived at the time for a visit. I met Lee in middle school when my dad pastored a small church in Caney, Kansas.  Lee's dad was a pastor too.  Lee and I were both PKs and we had several classes together.  Our friendship was fairly immediate although we were about as different as two people could be.  Lee was very athletic and had two things on his mind from sun up to sun down: sports and cars. He was great with his hands, even as a kid but anything from a book might as well have been from Mars to him.
I was the opposite of that, for sure.  If I wasn't picked dead last for any sport you could think of-then something was terribly wrong. The only thing about cars I dug was that it could take me to the movies or the library. I could've cared less how they did what they did. Show me an engine block and I'd be sawing on my own wrists with a butterknife in a matter of a few minutes.

By the time Lee came down with his parents for a few days we had something else in common. We were both freshly out of  high school and we were idolizing anything on the screen that presented an illusion of quintessential manliness. You know, anything that seemed like it would be cool to emulate.

When we decided to go to our local dinky video store I immediately tried to sell Lee on various Clint Eastwood movies.  He wasn't interested. All of the Chuck Norris flicks were rented out. I was feeling bummed.  Lee suggested we watch the new Mel Gibson movie, Lethal Weapon. Well, there wasn't much else and it DID have MAD MAX in it.  So, we rented Lethal Weapon, bought some munchies and took the goodies home.

Seems funny now but we actually had to wait until our parents went to bed so that we could watch the movie! My parents and Lee's parents were uber strict about what we watched.  Profanity, sex, violence...just about any damn thing that made a movie fun to watch was greatly frowned upon.

So, I remember Lee, my sister, and me all gathered around the tv trying to watch Lethal Weapon and not let the volume be loud enough where anyone else in the house could hear the F*cks, and Damns, and hells and other words being screamed by Mad Max.

I was sucked into the movie right away. It was MUCH MUCH more exciting than I thought it would be.  I was drinking Pepsi and munching chips at warp speed. The more the bullets and fists flew the faster I ate chips....until....I noticed something very, very odd.  I was laying in the floor-something I did for many many years when I was watching movies and tv-and Julie and Lee were sitting on the couch...sitting really freakin' close to each other! And lee had his arm around my sister's neck.  OH MY GOOOOOD!!!  LEE liked my little sister. OHHHHHH NOOOOOOooooOOOOOOooooo!  OH MY GOD! THATS JUST SO WRONG! That's definitely against the best friends rule right there!  No getting crushes on your friend's sister! GROSSS man!  I tried to pretend to ignore it but it bugged me the whole damn movie. Besides, she was already seeing another guy!

The big finale with Riggs fighting Gary Busy had both Lee and I boxing the air and cheering Mad Max on! Get him!  KILLL HIMMMM!  TAKE HIM DOWN!

Lethal Weapon was quite an adrenaline rush.  After the movie Lee and I walked over to the High School and shot a few baskets in the dark. We wound up talking about High School days and school yard fights and girls we were crushing on.

I always think of Lee when Lethal Weapon comes on cable or I pop the DVD in. That visit was a lot of fun. Shortly after that Lee moved. Then I moved. We lost contact. I've seen his parents a time or two over the years.  Heard he's doing well.

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

Lethal Weapon 2 debuted on July 7, 1989.  I believe it was the following Tuesday night that my sister Julie, my friend Rusty and I filed into the old Parsons Theatre to watch Riggs and Murtaugh work their magic on the big screen for the second time.

Lethal Weapon 2 is by far my favorite of the entire series. Leo Getz as portrayed by the always cool Joe Pesci had me in stitches from start to finish.  Gibson and Glover were fantastic in this installment.

I really don't have a story concerning the viewing of Lethal Weapon 2 other than I remember Rusty mainly came along because he had a crush on my sister.  What was it with all of my friends?  One minute they liked me...the next minute they liked my sister more. hahahhahaha.

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
Ahh,  Lethal Weapon 3. How could I ever forget watching this movie? Believe me, I've tried and it wasn't because of the movie's many shortcomings.

I enjoyed Lethal Weapon 3. It was a considerable step down from LW2 but such is the way of sequels, generally speaking. The interactions between Riggs and Murtaugh were still more than worth the price of admission-and hey, throw in Leo and plot shmot! Who needs a discernible plot when "The magic is back again!"

I watched LETHAL WEAPON 3 as part of a triple feature playing at the Wichita Starlite Theatre. The other two movies were BATMAN RETURNS and WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP.  I watched these movies alone, on a drive in park bench, soggy from intermittent rain, after being unceremoniously dumped there during a "date" that went all kinds of drastically wrong.

How wrong, you ask?  I went to Wichita with this psycho woman with the understanding that we were going to some kind of science fiction convention. You know where we wound up?  A swingers party.  I kid you not. I couldn't make something that stupid and that convoluted up. After refusing to join in the "festivities" I was given the choice of either getting back home any way I could or waiting until she (who had unfortunately driven us up there) was done with her thing.

As I debated how I could possibly have gotten mixed up in a deal so freakishly retarded and how I was gonna get myself home we passed by the Wichita Starlite Drive-in.  I said, "Whoa! Stop the car!  You can just let me out here!" And so she did.

Unfortunately for me, it rained off and on all night. Imagine how soggy my popcorn got!

I could (and did-but erased it several times) relate the whole miserable account of that very memorable Saturday night but that's a long blog for another time. haha.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
Lethal Weapon 4 rolled around in 1998. By that time the franchise was 10 years old and had spawned a bazillion lesser knockoffs. It had the unfortunate effect of making the last Lethal Weapon seem like a retread too when in fact it had been the template.

It was great to see "the gang" once again but it also drove home the point of just how DONE the series was. Martin Riggs character arc was more than completed by the end of Lethal Weapon 3 and Murtaugh never had much of a one to begin with so we were left with little more than a bunch of jokes about how they were "getting too old for this sh*t" and that was about it.

I saw Lethal Weapon 4 with my sister and brother in law at the old theatre in Joplin beside SEARS.  We just about didn't get a seat. I remember the theatre being very crowded that night.

Over the ensuing years I've heard sporadic rumors about "one more" Lethal Weapon movie, especially after Mel started going off the deep end and his status as huge star began to tarnish. Thank god that another movie hasn't come to pass.  I think we'd all be well advised to consider the fate of other sequels that were finally made a decade or more after the public lost interest in a franchise.  Indy 4, anyone? Sometimes you just have to let movie characters go and be thankful for the handful of GOOD films that particular franchise produced.

posted under | 0 Comments

Paranormal Activity 2

Happy Halloween everyone!

So, have you seen Paranormal Activity 2 yet? Did you like it? I've seen it 3 times! That's highly unusual for me-to see a modern day horror film 3x.  Usually, once is MORE than enough!  Horror films have been lame for quite a while.  It's all blaring, bombastic stings reminding you TO BE REALLY SCARED CAUSE THE MUSIC'S PLAYING REALLY REALLY LOUD!  Pshhhh!  Instead of tension we have MTV on crack quick cuts and instead of horror-well, we have plenty of blood and guts splashing the screen.

The Paranormal Activity movies are a breath of fresh air in the horror movie genre. It ramps up the tension and disquiet in every "thump" and every creaking door.  Paranormal Activity plays on the audiences own fears and imagination to make it many times more frightening than the usual hack/slash/BOO! tripe that we've been exposed to for a good many years now.

I'm sure that they'll wring every bit of originality and creativity out of Paranormal Activity by the time we get to Part V, but such is the beast known as Hollywood.

I've heard a lot of teens say that Paranormal Activity and it's sequel are two of the scariest movies they've ever seen. I don't know about that...but I do know that we're constantly forgetting and then remembering and forgetting again what cinematically speaks to our inner fears. For instance, go back and watch Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING. It's basically the Camelot version of Paranormal Activity.  The characters actually have, you know-PERSONALITY-and are believable as real, living breathing people.   The movie unfolds in a leisurely pace, setting mood and tension and motivation and then the viewers nerves are put on the rack and stretched to the breaking point. But time passes and movie makers slowly forget what REALLY works and what doesn't due to the ever present need to capitalize and squeeze every single dollar out of a creative concept.  Cue Friday the 13th Pt. VIII, you know? Halloween 27, Saw 7 (SEVEN!!??)

The Horror genre is definitely big enough for all types and flavors, but no matter the current in-vogue flavor, the underpinnings of tension, suspense, drama, fear, dread, and character motivation still needs to be there for a film to be truly thrilling, scary, and horrific.

posted under | 0 Comments
Older Posts



Recent Comments