Thursday, March 03, 2005

Horror Movie Pet Peeve

The Interpreter:

This is a character that plays no other role in a horror movie other than to either a) give a brief recap of all the clues leading up to something important for the viewer or b) give a recap AND analysis of all important clues thus far in the movie, allowing the viewer to easily see the resolution to the movie's mystery. This character irks me because it is insulting to the viewer's intelligence. The filmmaker seems to put them in there as if to say, "Well, in case you can't interpret all the clues that we've put in here for you, we'll throw in this character to verbally interpret them all for you at some point in the movie, you big stupid moron."

Prime example--Mr. Bludworth in Final Destination:

In Death...

CAMERA INCHES TOWARD the mortician. In this environment, lit with Fritz Lang shadows, Bludworth's tone, appearance... he could easily be mistaken for personification of the subject.

... there are no accidents. No
coincidencess. No mishaps.
And no... escapes.

You saying Tod did kill himself?

Bludworth moves to Tod on the draining table, disconnecting the tubes connecting the body to the embalming chemicals.

Suicide. Murder. Plane crash. What
does it matter? He was going to end
someday. From the minute you're cut
loose from the womb... it's a one
way ticket on a trip to the tomb.

Vile liquid oozes out of the body onto the porcelain table.

You may not realize it, but we're
all just a mouse that a cat has by
its tail. Every single move we
make, from the mundane to the
monumental... the red light we stop
at, or run; the people we have sex
with, or won't with us; the airplane
we ride, or walk out of... is all a
part of Death's sadistic design
leading to the grave.


The mortician considers as he drains some yellowish green fluid from the table. He shrugs then continues his work...

If Life is like a box of
chocolates... Death... Death is like
a big Milton Bradley game of "Mouse
Trap." The day you're born is just
the boot, hanging from the
streetlamp, kicking the marble to
get things rolling. Growing up is
only the marble rolling down the
curving chute. You feel immortal
having survived school, sex, drugs
'n' rock 'n' roll, but you've really
only upset the big hand holding the
steel ball that falls into the
bathtub. Marriage and kids and
career seem to make it all worthwhile
until the ball hits the see-saw and
flips the diving man into the big
barrel. In the old folks home or the
hospital you just see the big cage
rattling down until it captures...
the mouse.
Game over.

Alex considers as Clear eyes him, conveying "this guys's whacked!" Alex moves toward Bludworth...

Maybe there's no way to win...
but... if you figured out the
game... you knew where the "steel
ball was rolling" couldn't you
avoid the trap and extend the
playing time? Couldn't you... cheat
Death at Its own game?

Mr. Bludworth looks directly at Alex. CAMERA MOVES IN ON EACH,
INDIVIDUALLY... this between the two of them.

You already did that by walking off
the plane. Now you gotta out when
and how it'll come back at you.
Play your hunch, Alex. If you think
you can get away from it.
But beware the risk of cheating the
plan, disrespecting the design...
could iniciate a horrifying fury that
would terrorize even the Grim Reaper.
And you don't even want to fuck with
that Mack Daddie.

(courtesy of

Annoying variations on this pet peeve:

When main characters in the movie recap all the pertinent clues for the viewer just in case the viewer is ridiculously slow and can't put together the pieces of the puzzle for themselves. (i.e. The Ring)

When the filmmaker does a visual recap, usually consisting of rapidly fired shots of various important scenes in the movie, so that, if the viewer is a moron and missed something, he/she can now figure it out. (i.e. The Sixth Sense)


At 8:17 AM, Blogger Genevieve said...

While I totally agree, I think a lot of people like this, and not just in horror movies. When I saw Vanilla Sky, I was thinking it would be like this total Lynch-esque experience where I would be trying to interpret what the true reality was, because so many people had told me how weird it was and that they didn't get it. Well - it was, until the last 20 minutes or so, in which a character we had previously never met appeared just in order to explain everything that had happened in minute detail...

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

In defense of the movie, the character *does* appear previously in the movie, but only in what we're, up until the end, led to believe as "delusions"

But, yea, I hate the "long monologue to explain the whole movie for the terminally slow"

Even one of my favorite horror movies, 'The Others' did that too much for my taste.

At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, believe me, I'm not dissing FINAL DESTINATION b/c it's actually pretty high up on the list of horror flicks that I like. But it just irks me. Same with that Kevin Bacon movie, STIR OF ECHOES too--there's a random guy that he literally just meets in an alley or something that clues you in on all the details. Lame.

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:43 AM? Jesus, what time do you get to work in the morning?

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dammit. This stupid clock thing is f-ed up. Heh heh.


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