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Cabin in the Woods Film Festival – They Live

Posted on May 14, 2011 by | 0 comments

I don’t take vacations all that often, though in the past year I’ve spoiled myself with a couple. First, a trip to Washington DC to see the Rally to Restore Sanity, and then to New York to see the premiere of Beauty Day, but other than that vacations are a bit thin on the ground in my world. Its not that I don’t like vacations, I do, but rather I don’t like coming back to all the work awaiting me when I get back from vacation.

But with the summer movie season about to kick off in full force in two weeks this was my last chance to get away for a few days to rest, relax and recharge my batteries for what looks to be a busy season. So the girlfriend decided that it would be a good idea to go up to her family’s cabin where we could do a whole lot of nothing for an entire weekend. Well not nothing, because I had a plan.

Now the girlfriend is a bit of a movie buff, but she isn’t much of a horror fan, let alone a genre fan. Its primarily because horror films scare the crap out of her, in the industry we call that kind of person a pussy, and because of that she tends to avoid any film that she thinks might be the slightest bit frightening. So being that I’m a genre fan and we’d have some time on our hands I thought what better way to spend time than sitting in front of a fire at the cabin in the woods of northern Wisconsin and watch some horror films; thus the Cabin in the Woods Film Festival was born.

And since we were going to be watching movies, and I happen to run a movie blog, what better fun than to document the movies we watch and the hell I put her through.

Have I mentioned how awesome I am to date?

First up on the agenda I decided that I would ease her into the whole bloody affair with my favorite John Carpenter film, They Live. I’ve been nose deep in an essay by Jonathan Lethem for the Deep Focus book series (Purchase the book here) on the film for the past week and it had left me itching to watch the film once again.

They Live is far from perfect, its slower than molasses and the acting is abjectly horrible even at its best, but damn if it isn’t still pretty damn sharp with its satire, even nearly 25 years later, which is primarily do to the recent resurgence of Reagan era political posturing in popular culture.

And the fistfight, oh man, does it still hold up. In nearly five minutes of “action” that brings the plot to a crashing halt in a film that already was risking falling into that trap at almost every other moment. That Carpenter has the restraint to not rush this fight sequence when it would counter-act everything he had setup in the film to that point is one heck of a feat. Of course, it is hardly the kind of thing that thrills action film audiences, but for whatever reason I just can’t get enough of it or the rest of the film.

As for the girlfriend’s thoughts? She gave the film a passing grade, as she wasn’t much of a fan of the pacing, but loved the social commentary present in it. She even remarked that it was the kind of film that might do well to be remade, a sentiment which I can understand but would disagree with. While the film’s posturing holds up well, it is still very much a film that is a product of its times that is impossible to reproduce. If only because only John Carpenter can craft art out of something that should otherwise be awful.

Next up: Drag Me to Hell


Matt Gamble
I review movies. I run a movie theatre. I annoy people. I let my dogs lick my face whenever they want. Sometimes I'm even a halfway decent human.
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