Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Of monsters and men.

I watch a lot of bullshit movies. Campy, terrible, D, E, and F grade movies. You say Jurassic Park, I say, that Sci-Fi Original steaming pile where dinosaur bones, SKELEEEETONS!, came to life and killed people. You say Citizen Kane, I say Jason X, where Jason gets frozen and ends up in space and then turns himself into T 1000 Jason, and still can't be tamed, even by smarty pants girl from the past who holds the key to the legend of Jason Voorhis. Yeah. Look into it. Bad all around.

So, tonight, while I was dicking around on the Apple movie trailers page, I came across this movie called The Troll Hunter. The poster art for this movie makes it look like an advert for a monster truck rally. Of course, I was like, "Yep. Check into this." What I found there was an absolute deLIGHT! I know what you guys are thinking, and part of me is thinking the same thing. Summer is for totally ridiculous movies that are most likely in 3-D, have lots of explosions, tons of titties, and gallons of fake blood and severed limbs (muchas gracias Pirhana 3-D for covering all the bases). We get a little high, or we get a few 40s, and we go to the movies. Movie theaters have A/C, unlike the sweat lodges we all seem to live in, and, what the hell, rack 'em up so we can keep our conversations relevant and feel like we're covering all of OUR cinematic bases.

Ok, so I watched the trailer for The Troll Hunter, and I actually got really excited. Giddy almost. This is campy, 1950s monster movie territory for sure, but what I found exciting about it, was the approach. It isn't pitched to you as some kind of bullshit monsters out to gnaw a bitch in half and wreak havoc on smalltown USA just because it has some nondescript thorn in its side. First of all, it's Norwegian. Therefore, the folklore is regional, which makes it both intriguing and special to us. It's filmed in that same hand-held documentary style a la District 9, and, one of the better monster movies that came out a few years ago, simply titled, Monsters. Of course there are lots of night vision shots, dark stretches of forest complete with jerky camera movement, screaming, and then, naturally, a shot of the great ugly troll beasts. They look amazeballs you guys. Something born from a dream Guillermo del Toro and the creature design team from The Lord of the Rings is what they resemble. I am sure that this sounds corny and like those "In search of Bigfoot" programs on The History Channel, but I want to, and I wish I could assure you that this will most likely be a very interesting take on the way we process and receive storytelling, and that maybe some folk tales are rooted in some kind of truth. I mean, they all probably are, but that someone would be so dedicated to this one story, or rumor even, that they would pursue it all the way to the end. Then, imagine that that thing that you thought was just some crazy campfire story was true, and you found proof. Actual proof. How would that feel for you? Honestly, thinking about seeing something so buried in ancient lore, in person, would make me question everything I knew about everything.

Now, I get the impression that the trolls are something like a Bigfoot situation, where you think it's some fakey fake guy in a gorilla suit, ever so strategically thrown out of focus, so you can't really tell that it's a guy in a gorilla suit. Maybe, though, they're not. Maybe, as it played out in Monsters, these are creatures who arrived here under mysterious circumstances, weren't able to get back to where they came from, so they wove themselves into the landscape around them, became a part of it, and all of humankind treated it as just a strange progression in their routine. It's like in zombie movies, where the non-zombie folks are aware of the word "zombie," and refer to the walking dead as such instead of "walkers" or "infected." They assume that these are things that happen, and there aren't any super cute euphemisms for them.

Monster movie time doesn't have to be all giant scorpions attacking helpless ladies and cars driving into gila monsters resulting in a hilarious miniature explosion. They can tackle a subject like giant gnarly beasties living in the woods with the kind of sophistication that is campy and insightful at the same time. You can make a movie about trolls that attaches a kind of humanity to them that we usually only reserve for ourselves or the animals in Homeward Bound (don't even get me started). I realize that some of ya'll are going to watch the trailer and throw all kinds of shade my way, but I'm just sayin'. Science fiction can be truly interesting when executed properly.

SO! Without further's the trailer for The Troll Hunter. Enjoy and ya'll are more than welcome to come watch it with me while we sip on Andre and eat Doritos.


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