Sunday, April 27, 2008

Call Me Old-Fashioned

When I was growing up in the Philippines, we didn't have to worry about PG-13 or R movies (and you could sit in the theater for hours, watching the same movie again and again...and again). My own mother would take us to see these horror movies, regardless of the ratings - and we loved every bone-chilling moment of it.

With my brothers and cousins, we'd trek with her to these movies about vampires, haunted houses, possesed kids (The Exorcist is still one of the best, and though we tried and tried working with that Ouija Board, the only thing it spelled out was "ET phone home" and I suspect my cousin had something to do with it) - and sometimes there would be some nudity (remember, this was the 70's, so I mean "some"), but as kids, we were there for the scare of it. To see who would shudder, cover their eyes, and hide...and then tease the 'victim' for days for being a scaredy cat (remember the bouncing ball on the steps from the movie The Changeling?). Yeah, we were that bad.

By the time I was a teen though, movies had changed. The last movie I think my mom took us to was Friday the 13th Part 2. This time, the scare was not brought on by the suspense, or that perfectly timed hand popping up on the screen. No, this time, it seemed like we were watching 101 ways to kill someone you don't like. And I mean 101 and 1 ways...and you don't have to not like these character either. Remember Johnny Depp's first movie role - a kid getting sucked into his bed in the first Nightmare on Elm Street?
And so I abandoned the horror genre altogether. So did my mom

Anyway I hope she sees The Orphanage, a wonderful horror suspense movie from Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), starring the gorgeous Belen Rueda. In fact, that's what I'm going to get her for Mother's Day. It's that good. Brings back those good old fashioned horror movies back.

I actually saw this movie on Netflix while Leo was watching the DVD "30 Days of Night" which came out last year. When our movies were done, he was very disappointed while I was just...well, the exact opposite. My faith in old-fashined horror/suspense movie making (thanks, del Toro!) has been restored full force!

I can't tell you much about the movie, except that it's subtitled (nothing wrong with that! I love the original versions, and hate it when Hollywood decides thay can remake it so that Americans can see it without subtitles - have we become illiterate, or what?) and it is set in an old house that used to be an orphanage where the lead character grew up with five other orphans. She returns there with her husband and adopted son to restore it and open it to special children in need.

Of course, things start to happen - needless to say, I loved every minute of it.

I've been a fan of Guillermo del Toro's work for some time now. He has the imagination that I remember having as a child - when I'd create imaginary creatures, and friends, and story characters. I used to draw them out, too.

While I have stopped sketching out my 'companions', del Toro continues to do so, and thank the gods everywhere that he does. As long as he continues to produce beautiful horror/suspense movies, you sure has heck won't catch me watching Saw or Hostel anytime soon.

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