Thursday, 27 August 2009

Acceptable in the '80s (part 2)

I wrote a few months ago about Pete Hammond, one of the lead proponents of the Stock-Aitken-Waterman sound. He's been busy remixing songs for gay-friendly artists using his signature cowbells-and-handclaps style that perfectly recaptures the long-lost sound of the eighties. But this desire to revisit the era of the Rubiks Cube, microwave cookery and Roland Rat isn't limited to pop music - movies are also getting in on the act.

Perhaps the best example of this fun-filled flashbackery is the new movie The House of the Devil. Not only is this old-school horror set in the early 1980s, it's been filmed, lit, scored and edited to look as though it was made nearly thirty years ago. Creaky camera-work, scratchy typography, and a charity shop's worth of bad knitwear - they're all here. Even its poster looks more like a pricey piece of memorabilia from eBay, rather than a contemporary promotional piece.

Movie theatres are constantly clogged with horror movies trying to resurrect decades-old franchises with up-to-date reimaginings. But they usually miss the point that the original movies had a sense of their own time and space that gave them context and meaning. The recent Friday 13th remake is a case in point - trying to make a lumpen-faced psychopath in a hockey mask feel relevant and current. The producers were as doomed to failure as the film's hopeless characters who venture into the woodshed with just a torch and a cry of "I'll be right back."

The House of the Devil might turn out to be unwatchable crud, although early reports suggest it's something of a quirky gem. It's just a shame that, when Mad Men (deservedly) wins shedloads of awards for its astonishing attention to detail in recreating a key period in twentieth century popular culture, little films like this are destined to go unrecognised and unrewarded for similar dedication and vision.

See for yourself...

No comments:

Post a Comment