Isn't it funny how different cultures make different monster movies?

Discussion in 'Misc. Films' started by Silvermoth, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Silvermoth Krakoan native

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    For example, Japan favours great big monsters who destroy society whereas the British make fantastic films about zombies.

    My theory is that Japan is very community based and the individual is not as important as the community in their society so their monster movies tend to be "Japan versus monsters" rather than "square jawed blonde hero versus monsters".

    The British on the other hand dislike disorder and the idea of large groups of people being reduced to a violent rabble plays on the national psyche. There may even be a class basis for why zombies are so prominent

    The Americans on the other hand of course love big action, good versus evil and FREEDOM so their movies tend to be one good guy saving the day for everyone from a monster of some sort.

    What are some examples you know of? Do you agree or disagree?
     
  2. DarkSovereignty Ooga Chakka

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    I wasn't aware there was an over abundance of british zombie movies, only the '28' movies come to mind. I hardly think you can relate two movies as the definitive interpretation of a genre by an entire culture.
     
  3. Pink Ranger The North Remembers

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    Lifeforce is basically a UK zombie movie.

    The giant monster bias of Japan also reflects two major sources of destruction that the country has faced in its history: the only country to be the target of atomic weapons, and its natural subsceptibility to natural disasters, like earthquakes and tsunamis.

    So the "single force of destruction" monster can be construed as a symbol of that.

    As for the UK zombie bias, who knows. Zombies are largely representative of society-ending anarchy, and we saw some evidence of that in the London riots, so maybe this has been brewing under the surface for quite some time.
     
  4. terry78 My name is Stefan, sweet thang

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    I think the quintessential American monster is the slasher monster, the implacable man like Jason and Michael Myers. Just the one guy taking out everybody one by one.
     
  5. Figs Registered

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    Actually it's really a space-vampires film.
     
  6. Baramos Registered

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    Yeah, the most famous zombie movies are the George Romero ones which have been ostensibly set in the U.S. (usually in Pennsylvania) and are about American consumer culture.
     
  7. ShredderX Registered

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    This ^
     
  8. ShredderX Registered

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    Really, the only Monster movies I remember that the British really massed produced were the Hammer Films that featured classic monsters.
     
  9. kvz5 HBIC

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    Not exactly monster movies but there are a lot of good Asian horror stories. Most seem to deal with ghosts or spirits.
     
  10. titansupes Registered

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    I find this quite poignant, in line with what someone mentioned with Zombies=London riots and Godzilla=Hiroshima. Slasher= Colorado theatre/Connecticut school... Maybe even Dorner, to a degree.
     
  11. corby ?

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    2:44 for relevance
    [YT]uAR1fp1tbds[/YT]
     
  12. Pink Ranger The North Remembers

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    The American slasher film is basically an allegory for the puritanical evangelical morality that is endemic to US culture, making godless immoral young people pay for their excesses, if you will.

    The victims are usually groups of young people who reflect the more transgressive elements of youth culture at the time (drinking, partying, pre-marital sex, etc.). The killer usually is some relic from the recent past. That's why the "worst" of the teenagers (the most sexually active girls, the sexually aggressive boys) are usually the first to die, and in the most gruesome ways, whereas the (usually a female "good girl") protaganist who survives until the end is usually the one who least reflects those transgressive values.
     
  13. chamber-music Infinity Ammo

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    Japanese monster movies are directly inspired by the atomic bombings in WW2 which had a huge effect on Japans national psyche. Godzilla is a monster created by nuclear detonations and is a metaphor for nuclear waepons in general.

    In alot of Japanese fiction, anime, manga you also find alot of talk about the futility of war and characters often take a pacifist stance which might be related to WW2 again.

    British people don't dislike disorder. There has been rebellion, conflict, riots and anarchy through out British history.

    The most famous British Zombie films are probably 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later, Shaun Of The Dead, Lifeforce, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Outpost, Cockneys Vs Zombies and Colin.

    Most of these films are directed by non-British directors and have nothing to do with British society.

    Movie like Village of the dammed and the current 'hoodie horror' genre of films such as Eden Lake, Wilderness, Heartless, Harry Brown, F, Cherry Tree Lane and Citadel or french film them taps into Britain's paedophobia (fear of children) in Conservatives 'broken britain'. You often hear tales of feral youths and kids murdering each other or adults in the British media which has fed into the genre.

    I wouldn't say the slasher genre isn't a purely American one. British slasher Peeping Tom and British director Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho were the forerunners of the slasher genre. The Italian Giallo gentre continued the slasher genre in the 60s and 70s.

    Canadian 1974 slasher Black Christmas is considered the first proper slasher film as we know it today. Halloween and Friday the 13th just made the genre mainstream and created alot of cheap copies of because they were very successful.

    Pink Ranger is probably right about American slashers being about Americas puritanical side. The sexually active, heavy drinking and drug taking young men and women often die while the movies heroine or hero is usually the morally upright virgin.
     
    #13 chamber-music, Mar 9, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  14. terry78 My name is Stefan, sweet thang

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    Yeah, Hitchcock did start it in a sense, but it never really caught on like it did here. Over there it's used mostly as satire, not serious business.
     
  15. Victarion Iron Captain

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    I find some of Japan's horror films interesting, especially the ones made by Takashi Miike. Take Audtion; how does keeping someone captive and feeding them vomit reflect their culture?
     
  16. terry78 My name is Stefan, sweet thang

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    Some of it is just weird for the sake of being weird, no shame in saying that. Everything is not art.
     
  17. Silvermoth Krakoan native

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [YT]3uAJklDka_U[/YT]

    Just to name a few. Also I didn't say they were indicative of a whole culture only that it's interesting that the UK makes, in my opinion, the best zombie films.
     
  18. redhawk23 Wrestlin'

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    Kaiju films, following from Godzilla very much started as a reaction to the atomic bomb attacks.

    I'd say American culture favors zombie films and the zombie mythos in general far, far more than British culture does.

    I think it goes into some kind of fantasy of a renewed frontier culture. Basically we have interstates and cellphones everywhere now. The land is tamed but we still have this whole individualist archetype, especially for masculinity that lends itself quite well to apocalyptic scenarios. While war would certainly destroy society, I think there's somewhat of an underlying view that at least part of the government would survive a nuclear war, and the terms of nuclear war would definitely be set by governments. The zombie apocalypse though is somehow more inescapable, it breaks down the rules of nature and fully dismantles the society and safety nets we've built for ourselves.

    So much of zombie fiction mirrors the stories we have about pioneers, trying to protect their kin and travel across the land.

    I think in industrialized cultures in general zombies pose a certain kind of cultural nightmare due to a strong emphasis on the west and elsewhere upon personal identity. The zombie swarm is pretty much the ultimate collective, short of the Borg from Star Trek. Once your bitten your identity slips away and you become just another zombie. It is the ultimate loss of individuality.
     
  19. Thundarr Registered

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    The funny thing is, that actually was never actually the intent of the film makers. John Carpenter and others have stated on a number of occassion that the real reasons that the partiers are always the first to die is vulnerability. When are they going to be at their most vulnerable? When they're naked, when they're drunk, and when they're high. Drugs and alcohol mess with your perception, slow your reflexes, and otherwise makes you less capable of defending yourself against a psychopathic killer.
    And absolutely any time you're naked you're going to be left vulnerable. So anything like going skinny dipping, changing your clothes, taking a shower/bath, and especially having sex, not only because it requires you to be naked, but also because the act itself would distract you and keep you from recognizing that you're in danger.

    People who go see these films tend to interpret the fact that the partiers are always the first to die as being some sort of intentional moral that if you do these things in Jason's woods, or on Halloween night, or right before taking a nap on Elm Street, or whatever, that some Boogeyman is going to punish you for being naughty. There's nothing wrong with having that interpretation, as movies are a form of art, and you can interpret art anyway your heart desires. But saying that it is the fim makers' intention to make that the underlying message of the film is erroneous.
     
  20. Thundarr Registered

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    I'd also like to point out that not ALL of the survivors in horror films are virginal goody-two-shoes like Laurie was in John Carpenter's Halloween. In the original Black Christmas Jessica, the survivor, was pregnant. Also the first and last girls killed were far more the "good girl" types than Olivia Hussey was.

    In Sean Cunningham's Friday The 13th, they alude to Alice, the survivor, having a romantic/sexual relationship with Steve, the camp owner. She also smoked pot, drank beer, and played Strip Monopoly. Yet she survived.

    And in the sequel, Ginny had sex with Paul their first night at the camp, then went to town and got drunk with the other counselors the following day.

    In Part 6, Paula (the counselor at the camp who was the MOST like Laurie Strode) was the most brutally slain. While Megan, the not-so-innocent daughter of the sheriff, survived (granted, she wasn't shown smoking pot, drinking beer, or having sex, but she was a total flirt which for this film was close enough).
     
  21. terry78 My name is Stefan, sweet thang

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    I think it's become kind of a pop culture myth that the "bad kids" are the ones always getting it in these things. They've turned it around so that the victims are asses so you don't feel as bad about them getting it though.
     

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