Sunday

What do troll hunter and the re/animator both fail at?

A couple of years ago I saw year two films, and it struck me soon after that they both left me unsatisfied in for a similar reason. I felt they both cheated.

The Re-animator is a better film; schlocky, humourous, and inventively gorey. Troll Hunter was a disappointment, feeling episodic and inconsequential. 

What they had in common, though, was a disregard for their source material that they visibly hacked up to try to make for a more entertaining film.

I've not read all of HP 'Herbert west: re animator', considered one his poorer works, but I see why it was considered a good property to develop into an 80s horror film, a sort-of parody-tribute of Frankenstein. What's wierd is that to fit in with the Romero zombie fashion, West now lobotomises his zombies, lest they be too clever. Even after he explicitly does this to the first reanimated, all the further Zombies have the tell-tale mark on their heads to explain their shambling stupor.

TH pulls a similar trick; it wants to tell us that trolls are peaceful creatures - so why the need to hunt them? Well, apparently it's because they have troll rabies.

It's annoying because it never delivers on its own setup - instead it fudges it to fit in with the current favourite genre.

Tbh I don't think I've seen any other work pull this unsatisfying just-becausism, a sort of have-your-cake-and-eat-a-different-cake attitude. There must be some, anyone know of any?

Learning about Simon Lord

Last year, I made a mixtape of one of my heroes, Simon Lord.

I was a huge Simian fan, I bought everything they put out. I would make pilgrimage to vinyl exchange on Oldham road to look for a promo copy every time they released a single, as the promos had all the b sides from the different editions on one cd. 

When Simian split up, they had a very clever message on their site that played one of two songs: Simian Mobile Disco's 'boat race', or Garden's 'reason for your smile'. Simian split into these two projects:  Simon Lord did Garden, Jas Shaw did SMD; James Ford was in both.

I tried keeping up with both parties, but was a lot more drawn to Garden's post-psych-folk style and after acquiring the first few SMD singles and compilation appearances, i never got around to buying their debut album.

So my understanding of Simon Lord's career was that he was the folky guitarist of simian, and Jas was the electro genius. I lived the last decade of my life under this illusion, and ignored any evidence to the contrary, like his band The Black Ghosts, who released two albums, or the fact that his Lord Skywave album was so clearly electro. 

My previous mix was done with this mentality; over-emphasising his work with simian and garden, and relating him as predominantly a folky. But in the course of researching it, I found a lot about him I didn't know and investigated further: I bought both BG albums, and discovered Lord had recorded an acoustic version I their entire 2nd album; I trawled beatport for singles and rarities; I even discovered an entire project I had never been aware of, called simply 'Roberts and Lord'. I bought every track I needed to for a follow up mix designed to show off the other side of Lord and correct the bias of the first one.
So this 2nd mix not only portrays Lord as more eclectic - he's had two albums out on different labels, under different names, this year - but I also wanted to highlight another facet of him: his status as a frequent collaborator in all sorts of ways, as a producer, vocalist, or remixer. 

I hope you enjoy them both.

Simon Lord - a balanced retrospective by Dj Gallowslutt on Mixcloud

Blatchmen

So I finally picked up the courage to critically examine the Watchmen film. It was... predictably disappointing. It makes me disappointed in those people who like it, or think the changes improved the plot.

I'm not going to rant about it, like I did the hobbit, but just make a couple of observations; firstly, I know why Snyder was accused of being 'in love with the source material', given the number of shots that look like they were lifted straight from the novel. However he seemed to completely miss the point of the book in two ways to my mind: by ramping up the sex and violence but dampening the commentary on it (for instance, the sex scene is heightened and lengthened to a pornographic level, but the 'did the costumes make it good?' dalogue is removed).

Secondly, removing my favourite character arc that highlights the existential angle of the book. It's odd that it's the prison psychiatrist, treating Rorschach, who most makes you empathise with Osterman and his no-frills view of the universe. In the novel, he is deeply involved with rorshach, we see his private life and descent into obsession, and see him come face to face with the meaninglessness of everything. In the film: he spends five minutes with him then walks out in defeat.
Also all the New York street characters were trimmed out, so the ending had no punch.

I'm not going to talk about the ending. 

I'm not. 

It's just... If you don't think a fake giant psychic space squid is a good way to end a story, why are you going to see a superhero film? Tbh, it does make more sense to have multiple assaults on the earth than just New York, so perhaps that particular aspect of the change is an improvement. But maybe Alan Moore (9% of people know his name, as author of watchmen, the most famous comic ever [source: pointless]) meant it like that. Maybe it's not meant I be a clear cut ending.

So instead going to discuss something else: similarities between watchmen and Sirens of Titan. There's been discussions elsewhere on the net (lmgtfy), but there's a few beats that are similar:
The science accident that turns a person into a being of energy that can see all time and space;
The plot to unify earth by faking an alien invasion;
The flat, deterministic, meaninglessness of life.

What I like is that both stories do something the other doesn't do. Not all of Sirens of Titan is in Watchmen, and vice versa. I like the fact that I know both stories, like both stories, and appreciate the differences and similarities between them. None of that stuff reaches the truth of watchmen, which is all about comics. That's really why it's an unfilmable book, because if you were to adapt it to the screen, you should end up with a film about superhero FILMS. Your reference points become completely different. IT'd be like tarnslating a Russian book into English, that was about the Russian Language itself. Do you keep the references Russian but completely lose their meaning? or translocate the references into analagous English ones? Either way, it's not the same book.