Found Footage Horror - Addendum
By some freak coincidence, not one week after I wrote about found footage films, the Guardian Guide opens with a similar denouement.
Yeah, that's right. I read the Guardian. Can you tell? You can, can't you? I'm going to stop soon, though. Two reasons. First of all, if you read it online (which often I do), then the temptation to scroll below the line is far, far too great. And you really do get the worst people in the world down there. Scroll below the line on the Daily Mail's website and the worst you can get is that people will agree with the article. But below the line on the Guardian's site you get people vehemently taking issue with such stories and comment pieces that should be sparking rage and uprising in an upwards direction: “People are starving to death in Britain!!!”/”Oh Boo-fucking-hoo, I see they can afford their Sky subscriptions”, that sort of thing. And when they can't find anything to attack in the substance of the article they'll attack the writer. When they've no material for an ad-hoc attack, they'll go for the “typical champagne-socialist hyperbole” line. They're the worst people in the world and they prove that the country and, quite certainly humanity itself, is doomed. Because when we're presented with the sort of material that should make us question our government's motives, we instead choose to attack the writer's grammar. If it's unhealthy to lose faith in humanity, then reading the Guardian is very bad for your health.
The second reason why soon I intend to stop reading the Guardian (let's say, after Christmas) is because they appear to have declared war on rock music. I've no idea why they've done it, but they have. Every time they write a feature on a new or existing guitar band (which they seem to do every single week), they always seem to kick-off their piece with a caveat concerning how remarkable it is that a guitar band even exists in this day and age, when rock music is dead. Their review of the Leeds Festival openly stated how strange it was that guitar bands could still fill lineups. With shocking lack of self-awareness they described it as being like an alternative universe – as if they haven't yet grasped that there's a whole world out there.
Actually, the Leeds Festival review (which might even have been a Reading Festival review) was particularly irritating in that it described Graham Coxon as being “now officially better than Blur”. Officially? I must have missed that press release.
Then there's the flip-side. Every time they cover electronic music (coverage which has more than a whiff of “right-on” Nozin' Aroun' about it), their copy will, without fail, contain an approving reference to how guitar music's been abandoned in favour of this glorious new noise. Simon Reynolds (tedium itself) had a big piece about the rise of EDM in America. Rather than scoffing that America's just “discovered” music that's existed for two decades (and removed every trace of a black face in the process – USA! USA!), sanctimonious Simon instead lamented the continued existence of “irrelevant” rock bands.
Simon, Simon, Simon! Something that means so much to so many millions of people all over the world can't be “irrelevant”. It just can't! It just can't.
I realise that I referenced a lot of articles there without linking to a single one of them. You have to understand that, in this case, sourcing a link would create the temptation to tread through that sludge again. Why would I do that to myself?
Yes, so through sucking all the joy from that which means so much to me; and through making me feel ashamed to be part of this species – I suppose the Guardian's very bad for my health. I might give it up in the New Year.
But I read it the other day, and it opened with quite a fascinating look at found footage films.
It reminded me of that thing I wrote last week! And it made me realise a few things that, previously, I'd overlooked:
1. The genre wasn't invented by The Blair Witch Project. That honour belongs to 1980's Cannibal Holocaust.
2. The genre gave us 1994's Man Bites Dog – one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen that also manages, somehow, to provide a few laughs. So there's that.
3. (REC) also uses this device, and (REC) is bloody horrible in the best way possible! So there's that, too.
4. Paranormal Activity is a thing and is something of a phenomenon in the horror genre. I've not seen it myself, so I can't comment much. But it takes the defining trope from this sub-sub genre (the “found footage” part of it) and tweaks it a little to make it interesting once more. The camera's static, for a start. That must count for something. Whether it can count for something in three sequels and counting is another matter.
5. Some films that aren't horror films are using the same device. Based on watching the trailer alone, I had no desire at all to see End of Watch. Now that I know that we're supposed to accept that the whole thing was captured on film by a bystander determined to show “how this thing went down”, well. I think I'll just pretend the film doesn't exist. Just like I do with The Human Centipede. What Human Centipede?