A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

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Yes, I've got a general idea of what I'm in for.


Many years ago I attempted to watch all of his films and The Devils was the only one I couldn't locate. I even found Lisztomania for heaven's sake. So this excitement of mine is more of an OCD "I can finish that unfinished thing!" situation.

It's his best, and I like pretty much everything he's done



And Don't Look in the Basement is fine. But it won't be if one is looking for a Messiah of Evil or even a Carnival of Blood. It's just a minor, understatedly weird, cheapo horror film that has a bit of charm but not a lot of scares. Same goes for Don't Open the Door, which is either slightly better or slightly worse, but in the same ballpark



Yes, I've got a general idea of what I'm in for.


Many years ago I attempted to watch all of his films and The Devils was the only one I couldn't locate. I even found Lisztomania for heaven's sake. So this excitement of mine is more of an OCD "I can finish that unfinished thing!" situation.

I didn't know what I was in for when I first watched it a few years ago. When, "based on a novel by Aldous Huxley" showed up in the opening credits, I went, "huh..."
That's probably the best indicator for what you're in for.



2) I'm on Woolys side in regards to the films portrayal of handicapped characters. Yes, in real life they are frequently treated as a burden, but in film they are generally depicted with a kind of sainthood. I find that actually more of an obstacle in viewing them as just any other person(which is how they should be viewed). I see nothing wrong with having this particular character in a wheelchair be painted in an unflattering light. I have enough disabled people in my family to know that they are quite capable of being ********, and that ******* disabled people need representation too.
But that still raises the question of how appropriate it is to portray a character in an unsympathetic, mocking fashion when they're part of a group that already faces a lot of discrimination in general, especially in a movie that pre-dated things like the Americans With Disabilities Act by over a decade and a half, you know?



And one of my biggest blind spots, Ken Russell's The Devils, is on Shudder now.
Sweeeeeeet!
Yup, recently rewatched that there.



Oddly enough, I actually felt sympathy for Franklin. Sure, he can come off as a weirdo at times, but really, I think it's more a case that the other characters are kinda just dicks to him and treat him as an outcast in their group to an extent, so I think much of his behavior in the film is more out of anxiousness than anything. As someone with anxiety myself, I often talk and repeat myself a lot around my friends and I suppose that can come off as annoying, so his behavior in the film is certainly valid.

Interestingly enough, in fact, when I streamed the film to a group of friends in a Discord server last summer, they all noticed the other characters' treatment of Franklin as well, cheered when the other three characters died, but were bummed out when Franklin died.



But that still raises the question of how appropriate it is to portray a character in an unsympathetic, mocking fashion when they're part of a group that already faces a lot of discrimination in general, especially in a movie that pre-dated things like the Americans With Disabilities Act by over a decade and a half, you know?
I guess the question doesn’t arise for everyone, you know? I like crumbs find it appropriate enough, certainly more so than the sanctification, which is still a much more common approach imo. I also do completely appreciate why people would have reservations about that, but this is the whole debate about filmmakers being at least partly guided in their artistic choices by how disabled people will be affected by said choices, and that’s just something that I find truly detrimental to good filmmaking. Nowadays especially it seems a filmmaker simply cannot portray a group without considering how said group will be affected by the portrayal, and I feel like that’s just too much to ask.



1) Franklin is not badly acted as a character. He's over the top at times, and his fall down the hill is kind of hilariously bad, but there is a lot of nuance in what a sad sack he is. Like when he is talking with the hitchhiker and trying to accomodate his conversation about head cheese.


2) I'm on Woolys side in regards to the films portrayal of handicapped characters. Yes, in real life they are frequently treated as a burden, but in film they are generally depicted with a kind of sainthood. I find that actually more of an obstacle in viewing them as just any other person(which is how they should be viewed). I see nothing wrong with having this particular character in a wheelchair be painted in an unflattering light. I have enough disabled people in my family to know that they are quite capable of being ********, and that ******* disabled people need representation too.


3) I don't think it is unfair to criticize the film for basically garnering cheers for Frankins death. If keeping the film entirely grim and humorless is your angle, I can give that to you. But in a film where the 'dropping the hammer' scene is played as not only one of its most disturbing moments, but also one of its most blackly funny, inappropriate humor is at the heart of the film. I think giving the audience some completely horrifying things to root for is part of its deeply nihilistic appeal.
1) His performance is distractingly bad at times and passable in others. This doesn’t equate to a good performance, especially when the character is constructed to be obnoxious.

2) You can find burdensome handicapped characters easily, especially in the horror genre where they’re used to be oppressive or outright terrifying, from Pet Sematary to Creepshow. They’re not hard to find and also frequently unintentional (see; this years BP winner CODA)

3) Show me where else the horror is outright undercut by the humor besides Franklin. It’s usually an accent to the off kilter insanity. Franklin is tonally in the wrong film.



Oddly enough, I actually felt sympathy for Franklin. Sure, he can come off as a weirdo at times, but really, I think it's more a case that the other characters are kinda just dicks to him and treat him as an outcast in their group to an extent, so I think much of his behavior in the film is more out of anxiousness than anything. As someone with anxiety myself, I often talk and repeat myself a lot around my friends and I suppose that can come off as annoying, so his behavior in the film is certainly valid.

Interestingly enough, in fact, when I streamed the film to a group of friends in a Discord server last summer, they all noticed the other characters' treatment of Franklin as well, cheered when the other three characters died, but were bummed out when Franklin died.
Wait, you're on Discord too?!



Yeah, I'm not buying this. Hardly a cash-in in any way and unquestionably a different look at the situation. Franklin isn't a burden specifically because he's handicapped, he's a burden because he's an ass. And he's handicapped. You never met a disabled person who was also an *******? They're out there, just like every other flavor of person one can imagine. And you can show that in a movie without it being an exploitative cash-in.
Sure, I’ve known disabled ********. That has no bearing on making that a good choice given the goals of the film. “Realism” is just about the laziest justification for any element of a movie.

His characterization a vestigial element of Hooper’s failure to make a slapstick horror flick. If Franklin were in TCM 2, I’d have very little issue.



But that still raises the question of how appropriate it is to portray a character in an unsympathetic, mocking fashion when they're part of a group that already faces a lot of discrimination in general, especially in a movie that pre-dated things like the Americans With Disabilities Act by over a decade and a half, you know?

No. The film isn't mocking of his disability. It treats a person with a disability to be human enough to be unlikeable. I find the notion that it is a good thing to not acknowledge marginalized groups as having the potential to be all sorts of different types of people as grotesque. I think it is pandering and the opposite of helpful.


There aren't many groups as misunderstood or marginalized as the mentally ill. To this day, people have deep misunderstandings about anyone deemed as such. And as a person who has my own mental health struggles, and who had both parents institutionalized for similar problems, I know what marginalization is like first hand. I know how harmful stereotypes can ultimately be. And yet I still have zero idea why having movies occasionally represent the mentally ill as being just as unlikeable as the next person, is anything but a good thing.

I can grant you that the franklin falling down the hill bit as being demeaning. But other than that, we aren't going to see eye to eye on this



Victim of The Night
And Don't Look in the Basement is fine. But it won't be if one is looking for a Messiah of Evil or even a Carnival of Blood. It's just a minor, understatedly weird, cheapo horror film that has a bit of charm but not a lot of scares. Same goes for Don't Open the Door, which is either slightly better or slightly worse, but in the same ballpark
Honestly, between Don't Go In The House, Don't Go In The Woods, Don't Go Near The Park, Don't Look In The Basement, Don't Look In The Door, the overwhelming advice of Horror movies should culminate in Seriously, Just Stay In Bed And Read.



Victim of The Night
Sure, I’ve known disabled ********. That has no bearing on making that a good choice given the goals of the film. “Realism” is just about the laziest justification for any element of a movie.

His characterization a vestigial element of Hooper’s failure to make a slapstick horror flick. If Franklin were in TCM 2, I’d have very little issue.
Realism is what the movie is famous for.



I guess the question doesn’t arise for everyone, you know? I like crumbs find it appropriate enough, certainly more so than the sanctification, which is still a much more common approach imo. I also do completely appreciate why people would have reservations about that, but this is the whole debate about filmmakers being at least partly guided in their artistic choices by how disabled people will be affected by said choices, and that’s just something that I find truly detrimental to good filmmaking. Nowadays especially it seems a filmmaker simply cannot portray a group without considering how said group will be affected by the portrayal, and I feel like that’s just too much to ask.
Like all things, I think it's a balancing act; like, you should be able to portray a member of a marginalized group in a negative light if that portrayal actually feels authentic, because of course there are unsavory members of every group, marginalized or not, in real life, but there should still be some sort of consideration as to if you're unnecessarilly reinforcing harmful stereotypes with them, since those can hurt even movies that are good otherwise, like the unavoidable underlying transphobia of Silence Of The Lambs, or the unnecessary racial stereotypes in Taxi Driver, you know?



Yeah, here's my id if you're interested:

bberta#9908
Cool, thanks; I'm running a server of my own there, actually, so if anyone else here on Discord is interested, just let me know, okay?



Oddly enough, I actually felt sympathy for Franklin. Sure, he can come off as a weirdo at times, but really, I think it's more a case that the other characters are kinda just dicks to him and treat him as an outcast in their group to an extent, so I think much of his behavior in the film is more out of anxiousness than anything. As someone with anxiety myself, I often talk and repeat myself a lot around my friends and I suppose that can come off as annoying, so his behavior in the film is certainly valid.

Interestingly enough, in fact, when I streamed the film to a group of friends in a Discord server last summer, they all noticed the other characters' treatment of Franklin as well, cheered when the other three characters died, but were bummed out when Franklin died.

All good points



Realism is what the movie is famous for.
And yet, it bares little to no resemblance to the “real” story and makes tons of stylistic choices to create an effect on audiences. Just because something happens in “reality” doesn’t justify the choice to use it in a film.



3) Show me where else the horror is outright undercut by the humor besides Franklin. It’s usually an accent to the off kilter insanity. Franklin is tonally in the wrong film.
I consider myself a fan of the film, but I always sort of check out during the grandpa scene. I seem to be in the minority in that I don't find the silliness adds to the tension and the terrible old man mask doesn't help. I find gramps' presence more jarring than Franklin's.
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No. The film isn't mocking of his disability.

I can grant you that the franklin falling down the hill bit as being demeaning.
Hmm...