Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thank The Projectionist

During the last month at Shoot the Projectionist, Ed Hardy Jr. has taken on the task of soliciting votes from his readership and compiling a final list - out of 183 initial entries - of 31 Flicks That Give You The Willies. The results are now up (along with the newly posted results for Top Five Horror Comedies) and what made the grade makes for interesting reading. Some might carp that too many great films or obscure but excellent choices got left off (many of my own picks didn't make the cut, that's for sure!), but hey, whatever.

If you're making a list like this on your own, there's the tendency to go with choices that you know will be regarded as savvy or discerning. No one wants to look unsophisticated, after all. Everyone likes to look like they have erudite taste - even when it comes to selecting the best zombie movie. But a list like this, with choices voted on with relative unanimity, can take some critical posturing out of the equation and bear out more gut level truths. For example, maybe most people really do prefer Gore Verbinski's The Ring to Hideo Nataka's Ringu. I find that sort of thing endlessly interesting to consider - the gap between what's considered hip or tasteful to like and what people actually do like.

Not that people who prefer a more critically lauded film are lying, of course, only that sometimes we might intellectually appreciate one film but privately consider a "lesser" film more appealing. And that begs the question of whether such a lesser film shouldn't be held in higher esteem. After all, what else ultimately matters more than how much of an affect a movie has on its viewers? With that in mind, I think it's telling that the number one film on this list is a film that was deemed mediocre upon its initial release by most critics and horror fans but that has seen one generation after another come to embrace it as a undisputed (or at least a much more seldom disputed) classic.

I might post my own votes here eventually but in the meantime the above pic represents my #1.

Click the link below to see the result of Ed's hard work:


Aaron White said...

I suspect that often people prefer to watch a lesser films because they don't make us work as hard. You can sit back and relax with a dopey flick, but a more rewarding film makes us work a little harder for the rewards.

Jeff Allard said...

That's true. And I'm as guilty of that as anybody. It might be a product of getting older and having more outside burdens to deal with, too. When you come home burned out from work, do you want to watch Maria Full of Grace or do you want to want to watch Transformers? You know, clearly there's a quality gap there but it's hard to fault people for going for that escapist option.

On the other hand, I do think that on the whole, the critical community and the more educated film fans are too quick to disparage what's popular as being automatically inferior. And genre films are often hit the hardest by that mindset.

Aaron White said...

Yeah. I find nowadays I tend to choose movies (or whatever) for homeopathic reasons; it's like I use movies to adjust the balances in my life. If I feel like my brain needs something to chew on I'll watch a complex film, but if I feel like I need comfort I'll watch a silly old favorite.