Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A BLOODY BREAK WITH THE HISTORY OF BLOODY GORE AND A BLOODY BLAST AT YOUNG BLOODY FILMMAKERS AND THEIR BLOODY CGI! (CAUTION: THERE! WILL! BE! BLOOD!!!)







Where Was I?

As I've promised (several times), a review of the opus Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 is coming. It's not a blow-by-blow review (or else it would be a small book), but a critical view of what I thought was great, good, iffy, horrible, and downright stupid about the two movies. 



"NOW GO HOME TO YOUR MOTHER!"
I had to wait on the review for just a bit, because I found out that it was not presented as Quentin Tarantino wanted it to be (the censors got at it between the showing at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, and what audiences saw afterward in theaters). So that changed my perspective about certain things, but there were still plenty of points that I thought were just bloody awful so...

Speaking of blood.



Nightmare On Elm Street
While working on the damned thing, I got off on a tangent, as I always do. I wasn't feeling well (natch), the dictation software was giving me fits (either I had stopped speaking English or it decided that it preferred Klingon), and even the hubby was giving some unsolicited advice that, though usually welcome, at that moment just made me want to chuck the whole thing. Which is why you're not reading it yet.

Speaking of blood.


I actually MADE my hubby sit and watch the infamous nightclub katana sword fight scene from Kill Bill 1. There were so many of the different elements (good, bad, stupid, etc.) in just that one sequence I thought he'd enjoy it... nope. I did get the chance to show him that Quentin apparently thought that human blood in the body is kept at an extremely high pressure, like a fire hose, so something like losing an arm (or a head) can cause a spray equal to kids breaking open a fire hydrant on a hot day. But I digress about digressing.

Speaking of blood.



NOT from Kill Bill...
So I wondered - with this two-movie opus, did Tarantino break any records with the use of fake blood? I decided to look around. Now my "findings" are not all inclusive of course - you probably know of a particularly bloody film that seemed to uses gallons of the stuff - all those produced before CGI of course. AND there is great debate on the amounts used so this contest may be invalid altogether but that never stopped me before.

Speaking of blood.


How much do I hate CGI? Let's put it this way: After watching one heavily CGI'd zombie movie (no it was not World War Z) I read a comment by a parent who said, basically, "Finally! A zombie movie I can let my children watch that is not just blood and guts." And there's your answer.

Speaking of blood.



...except maybe this guy.
Waaay back in the old days (she said drawing up her shawl and knitting needles) people died usually without much fuss, maybe a blood spot on the clothes, and the requisite drip of blood from the corner of the mouth. Blood meant death, no matter how small the amount. Character has a bloody nose? Gonna die. Blood when they cough or sneeze? Gonna die. I'm surprised they didn't try to convince their audiences that women actually were gonna die a little each month (actually that's not far off from the truth)...

Speaking of blood.

Audiences changed - which meant that the horror genre (where most of the blood was spilled) had to change. They wanted more - and more realistic. Enter the great makeup and special effects geniuses that made horror just so, so awful (which means they made it lots of fun to watch): 


Rick Baker. In my opinion, he made the absolute best werewolf I have ever seen (and the scene of a man morphing to werewolf) in An American Werewolf In London (1981) - it has not been done better, even with all the so-called advances. And I loved the poor, ever decaying friend Jack. This is an early picture of Baker making the original 'Baby' from It's Alive. His credits are way too numerous to count, his talent huge, and his fans, lots and lots (sorry to be so technical).

Greg Nictero. He and his eeeevil minions did such a wonderful job on the Evil Dead series. He formed the K.N.B. EFX Group which has worked on hundreds of projects - and no CGI, so there! And you can't mention Nictero without...



Tom Savini. He is the epitome of special effects (and the sexiest man ever born). He is known as the Godfather of Gore, The Sultan Of Splatter, The Come To My Bedroom And I'll Show... whoops, sorry. Ignore that last one. Starting as a makeup artist (that sounds really tame - it's not) he eventually branched out to acting, directing, producing, even doing stunts. 

The picture above is an early one of his work on the original Jason Voorhees for Friday The 13th. But back to special effects: Savini's 'process' is so revered, he runs the 'Tom Savini's Special Make-Up Effects Program' in Pennsylvania. His age may be greater than even mine (blush) but he is just one of those guys who'll be handsome when they're 1,000 years old - I'll wait.

Speaking of blood.


Dick Smith. This is getting too long (natch) but I'd be an idiot not to include at least Dick Smith, the reason why people cowered (or just plain vomited) during The Exorcist, watched a freaking HEAD explode in Scanners, and, despite all the titles Tom Savini has rightfully gathered for himself, it is Smith who is considered the Godfather Of Modern-Day Special Effects Makeup. His work didn't just include horror, but Taxi Driver, Little Big Man, The Godfather and countless others... the guy is just freaking sweet.

Speaking of blood.

See how easy it is to become distracted? I am typing this by hand 'cause I thought it'd be short - now I'll be moaning and wrapping my wrists, and gulping down the pain pills for the rest of the week.

Speaking of blood.

SO. Who is the champion of Most Fake Blood Used In A Single Movie? I was wondering if it was Kill Bill (considering the people with gallons of high pressure blood in 'em, and Uma slices up an awful lot) but I remembered a couple of earlier movies so I'm just doing A COUPLE of movies and how much fake blood was used. If my pick for 'Most Blood' is incorrect, please send a message - I am pleased to look things up and if I'm wrong, I have no problem with saying so. SO.

Speaking of blood.

The Shining (1980): I'm leaving Stephen King out of this one (Why not, Family Could Brick did... hmm? What was that? Oh, that's how my freaking dictation software kept insisting on spelling Stanley Kubrick, which is why I'm typing today.), which sucks 'cause it's King's story - please read the book, especially now that the book Dr. Sleep (the sequel) is out which, as far as I've gotten in it, is just soooo cool. But despite the movie's many flaws and conspiracy theories it had a doozy of a fake blood scene. A couple hundred gallons of the stuff sounds wild enough.

Speaking of blood.

But Family Could Brick insisted that the first two takes weren't 'real' enough and insisted on a third. So mop up the muck and try again, right? Nope. Each take took so long to set up that before Family Could Brick was satisfied, a WHOLE YEAR had gone by... and it was bloody but still extremely flawed. Check out the video of it - not only is the elevator... strange, but the mechanism that both propped open the door and made the blood shoot out from floor to ceiling quite clearly flops onto the floor. So much for dissin' old Stephen, huh Could Brick?




Speaking of blood.

In 1984's A Nightmare On Elm Street, a Wes Craven masterpiece and a starting point for several now-famous actors and actresses (the bedroom scene is shown above), the total amount of fake blood used for the movie (which was shot in 30 days) was over 500 gallons. According to sources that is. If you know of a different number, do tell.

Speaking of blood.


1992, a not-quite-world-famous-yet Peter Jackson made a little film in New Zealand (actually he made quite a few but I digress times infinity), called Braindead (Dead Alive for those lucky enough to see it in the States). It was dismissed as just a gross-out for the sake of being gross... until LOTR. THEN all of a sudden it became a 'cult classic'. Hmm. Being about nasty zombies from a bite spread by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey, the movie has since become discussed and debated (excuse me) to death.

Who the hell cares about if they used the same cemetery from The Frighteners (another Jackson film) or if the priest says 'ass' or 'arse'? I wanted to know how much fake blood was used. The amount passes up anything made up to then or since, even if I went with the low estimate of 5,000 gallons to the whopping post-production estimate of 20,000 gallons. That's... quite a mess. But fun. 

In one of the last scenes of DA, Lionel (our hero) uses a plain, one blade lawnmower as a zombie dismemberment machine. It is said that the lawnmower sprayed out five gallons of fake blood per second. Believe what you want, I'm just glad they kept the mess mostly to one room (okay, set).

Speaking of blood.

So Kill Bill (2003 and 2004), pales in comparison (pun intended) using only a couple hundred of gallons. Huh. So who's the winner? Depends on who you believe.



...umm, this is Ash in Evil Dead 2 by the way...
There are sites that claim (and I'm not buying it 'cause I've seen both movies) that the reboot of Evil Dead (2013) kicks ass for the Lord on a much greater scale than Braindead, using 'over 50,000 gallons' of fake blood. Uh huh. But this same source also claimed that Braindead only used 1,000 gallons. Not. Even. Close.

Speaking of blood.


Am I being totally obsessive about my love of red, messy, squishy, pulpy gore in my movies? Lets have a couple of bad examples, shall we? There are no GOOD examples of CGI. First, in the reboot of Fright Night (2011), a woman who has 'turned' exploded in the sunlight right next to Charlie (the, uh, hero) and yet not a drop of blood, guts, skin, clothes, etc. hits him, the lawn, or anything else. WTH? Second, there's been a couple of zombie films (which I refuse to name) in which zombies are blown apart and... evaporate, because there is absolutely not a shred of evidence that they were even there in the first place.

Yup. Give me my pulp, my mess, my icky sticky red stuff. You want CGI? Play video games.


Note: Goddammit now my whole column is blown. I just read (and this is unconfirmed but knowing the Whedonverse it is conceivable) that they used an impossible 200,000 gallons of fake blood in their 2012 movie The Cabin In The Woods. Somebody please write me to tell me this is wrong... still, it was an awesome movie that I faithfully watch several times a month...