I confess, I haven’t been keeping up with the latest goings on within the horror community, and while I vaguely remember hearing about Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum teaming up to make The Woman, my thoughts on the matter when I initially heard this was “Oh, their making a sequel to a movie I haven’t seen yet. That’s cool I guess”. After that I promptly forgot all about The Woman until it popped up in a Ketchum interview I read recently dealing with both The Woman and the novel that started the series Offseason.
I read Offseason recently and absolutely loved it. It was fast paced, well written and incredibly graphic in its depictions of violence without ever feeling exploitative. After watching the trailer, I have to admit that I am interested in seeing The Woman and I intend to review it here on the blog as soon as I can.
Now, the second video is an interesting view, and I have to admit it’s a strange coincidence that I posted and article about censorship and horror a few days ago, and now there’s a video of a man who was deeply offended by a horror film and his reaction to it.
I’m not doing to take cheap shots at this gentleman, I don’t know who he is, but I respect that he was offended by The Woman and that he as a right to say what he thinks about it, whether I agree with him or not. That being said, his line about “This film should be confiscated and burned” is bit extreme. I’ve never been to the Sundance Film Festival, but from all accounts I’ve read, when a film is shown, there is promotional work done before the film is screened. I have no idea what the budget for this film was, but at a guess, I would say that they at least had posters and flyers put up around the festival to promote the film, and I’d be willing to bet money that both Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum’s names were on those flyers/posters.
Imagine for a moment you’ve gone to Sundance and you see a poster for the film The Woman, and you’ve never heard of Lucky McKee or Jack Ketchum, what would you do? The simplest answer is find an internet connection and look up who these guys are. A quick Google search on either name will bring up their Wikipedia pages and their IMDB pages, and voilà, you now have an idea of what type of writer Ketchum is and what films McKee has directed.
Of course, maybe this gentleman knew who McKee and Ketchum were and that’s why he went to the film, but that doesn’t really make much sense to me, because let’s be honest here, if you know Jack Ketchum, you know what to expect. Ketchum writes about the monsters that lurk within our society, the monsters that hide behind white picket fences and manicured lawns. You know, normal folks.
The trailer, despite being a “Green Band” trailer (Green Band trailers are the toned down way of advertising an R rated film. Think of them as the TV friendly trailer, where as Red Band trailers you can get a bit more extreme, as Red Bands are usually shown only before other R rated films) tells me just about everything I need to know before I go into this film. When I sit down to watch The Woman, I don’t expect a light, fun romp of a film, I fully expect to go through the emotional wringer. Take notice of the quotes in the trailer when you watch it. Controversy is going to help promote this film.
Controversy is great publicity, but controversy without substance behind it is pointless. Take the film, The Human Centipede. When Centipede was being promoted, it became a massive internet meme, almost to the level of Megashark vs. Giant Octopus. And to be fair, the idea at the heart of the film is an interesting one, “What happens when you surgically attach three human beings together, ass to mouth?” I’m fully aware that the idea is also completely demented and sick, but it’s an idea that could have made for an interesting horror film, however Human Centipede was a tedious waste of time.
What about a film like Inside or The Dead Girl, both had ideas that at face value could have lead to interesting films, “A woman stalks and terrorizes a pregnant woman, attempting to steal the child from her with a pair of scissors” turned into nothing more than a blood soaked waste of 83 minutes of my time. Dead Girl’s “What happens when three teenage nobodies find a naked zombie in an abandoned morgue?” was so offensive, so maddeningly vulgar, that I’m still a little amazed I didn’t turn it off half way through.
Am I wrong for hating those three films I just mentioned? I’ve heard and read positive reviews of Human Centipede, Inside and The Dead Girl, are those reviewers wrong for enjoy those films? Of course not, and I’m not suggesting that films that offend or disgust should be banned or destroyed, even when I don’t like movie in question. The Woman seems to have all the elements to be either a visceral work of art, or a reprehensible crime against cinema.
As I said in my earlier article, I don’t expect everyone to enjoy the same types of films and novels that I do, nor do I expect to enjoy the same films and novels that others enjoy. Is The Woman the type of movie I enjoy? I don’t know yet. It certainly has my interest piqued, and I have faith in both McKee and Ketchum to deliver a powerhouse film that isn’t solely focused on exploitative violence for the sake of it.
The best controversial films are the ones that have a statement to make, and aren’t simply shock for the sake of shock. I look forward to the release of The Woman and the challenge it may present when it comes time to review it.