I’m loathe that there might be a time, somewhere in our future, when kids will go to see a film and no one will remember seeing a film with special FX in them instead of only CGI. I’m worried about this, because I watched American Werewolf In Paris Sunday morning and if this is the plight of things, I feel it’s up to those of us that love the old school to help keep it alive.
It makes my head bend in several different directions that we live in such a throw-away society. Nothing is built with integrity and is meant to last. At one point I had a vacuum from the 50′s crouching in my closet. I wound up giving it to a friend as I a) had hardwood floors and one area rug that got retired to a jam space and b) it was taking up valuable space where pretty sequinned gown and PVC catsuits wanted to live. The choice was clear, but the point remains that the vacuum still worked. Things of a certain era are still able to be fixed, maintained and enjoyed where today so much of our technology is fleeting. Your iPod dies? You throw it out and buy another. Your computer packs it in? You send that shit to silicone heaven.
But I have some hope for the analog and the old school. As much as I like the progress and the new technology, I still like flipping albums on turntables, vintage shoes that hold up style and quality-wise and FX that would scare you shitless if you turned on a light and found them stashed under the stairs in your basement. My case in point…
So recently I attended the American Werewolf In London panel with Mr. Todd Masters, Smartypants, the Soskas and our friends Kristian and his lovely wife Fernanda. The panel was made up of John Landis, the original FX team (Rick Baker and his boys) and David Naughton, who played the werewolf. Whether he knew it or not, I immediately felt a kinship with Mr.Naughton since he had to wear quite a lot of FX make up throughout the film. While his application time was a whopping 18 hours, I did feel a little retraction of sympathy when I heard what a weenie he was about it. Still… that dwarfs my time in the make up chair which by comparison was a coffee break.
(See? Scary as shit, even as an adult.)
Mr.Landis also went on to mention how he had very little to do with American Werewolf In Paris. I remember it was one I saw in theatres with a boyfriend and was pleased to have the film to share with someone. However, like so many other things in life, I should have left it buried in my memory banks. Upon revisiting the film I had missed out the plot holes, inconsistent acting, and horrible CGI. As I rewatched this I couldn’t help but think that if they had done this the old school way, the film would have improved immeasurably. But as an adult now I’ve been to Paris, seen the best of the FX world, and been able to work out dialog that appeals to a 16 year old versus a 31 year old, so I’m forced to come to the conclusion that some things age better than others. Even werewolf films.
(I have neutered dogs scarier than this. Horror fail.)
But I have faith. Because a film like John Carter can dump all the money in the world into it, and it still doesn’t have the integrity and entertainment that a film like Dog Soldiers possesses. I saw Dog Soldiers at Cinemuerte Film Festival in Vancouver years ago, and I was floored by how good it was. It was later I was told the whole thing had been done old school effects style. No CGI needed. It was just a really entertaining film and the effects did it justice. I truly believe that there is a place for CGI, though. By the same note, a movie like Harry Potter marries the two together beautifully. The Harry Potter movies wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have the use of the CGI, which would be a sad thing.
That being said, if I ever catch a movie-watching whippersnapper that’s breaking off about the new school vs the old, I’ll strap him down Clockwork Orange style and force him to watch American Werewolf In Paris. Then I’ll invite him to watch the original. I’ll then I’ll let him thank me for opening his eyes.
Little Miss Risk