(from October 2019)
For today’s blog, I’m delighted to be joined by my friend, the illustrious Ronald V. Moore, maker of the film Future Kill and a poster dealer, collector, and film historian (he’s the Indiana Jones of the poster world)! So if you see the letters “RVM” and a quote or two in italics, that’s Ron speaking. Ron is the kind of guy who’ll find movie posters in the walls of houses around the globe being used for cheap insulation … but that’s a whole other story, and one that happens to be in my book Too Much Horror Business … but I digress, so let me get straight into it with a little film titled Brightburn.
I think it’s a film with a really great concept. For you people out there who don’t know what the plot is, Brightburn is about a kid found in a meteorite that hits Earth. Sound familiar??!! And the family who raises him finds that when he turns twelve or thirteen and his hormones kick in, there’s the expected adolescence, but something else is coming with it. And the kid isn’t standing for any of it, because he’s also discovering he’s different from everyone else. Turns out he has superpowers that are akin to other superheroes we know, but he basically takes them in the opposite direction! A very misguided, vindictive sort of direction, which is great – because not only does it turn the whole superhero mythos on its head, it also turns the movie and comic superhero genre on its head, leading to a horror movie. Which brings me to another thought…
Are superhero movies actually horror movies in disguise? Maybe all those Marvel and DC movies are actually really lightweight horror movies with very clearly defined roles, similar in both genres, but here with a lot more added cake and ice cream. There’s always the belief that superpowers will be used by superheroes for the “right” cause, which just goes to show you how much we like to morph superheroes into our own psychological behavior and whatnot. But if there was a superhero on this planet, they’d probably have a totally different psychology and morphology, a totally different mental state than ours.
So that’s basically what this movie shows – that ugly, dark side of what’s probably attached to every superhero in the superhero universe but we conveniently look the other way. I mean, no one ever talks about the millions of people who have died in the wake of superheroes battling villains and creatures and whatnot, you know? Think about it … I used to read those comic books where they’d pick up trucks and hurl them at each other in the middle of downtown Manhattan. In some of those issues of The Fantastic Four there was wanton destruction everywhere!
RVM: It was actually the entire plot line of one of the Avengers movies, where you had the two different factions of Avengers going off against each other over the fact that their superpowers needed to be controlled by somebody that had more common sense.
Right, and that was great, because that was addressing something that was never addressed until that movie. It was absolutely not in the comics, at least that I was aware of. But of course, the vast majority of superhero movies play to us and our expectations. It’s a world where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. And the good guys are born good and are always good and the bad guys maybe are born good but turn bad. Maybe there’s some retribution there, but the good guys are always, always good, unless there’s an alien influence or something like that.
RVM: I thought Frank Miller when he started with The Dark Knight series, really started that whole dark side. Is he really good or is he bad, or is there somewhere in between?
And that’s what made The Dark Knight great. I think all of those Batman movies that started to come out around ten to fifteen years ago with a darker sort of outlook were definitely influenced by the Dark Knight. The first few Batman movies that came out in the mid-‘80s / early ‘90s, those were more traditionally Batman. It was the Michael Keaton type Batman versus the Christian Bale Batman, who’s just darker, moodier, and a bit more human to me, really.
But getting back to Brightburn, and without spoiling the plot, I think it kind of gives you the same sort of feeling The Omen did where yes, it’s a child but it’s an unstoppable force. So check-it-OUT!
Speaking of more unique takes on classic genres, I really like Jordan Peele’s whole approach to Film and horror. He really knows the genre well. I can tell he’s done his time watching a lot of horror, and there’s a lot of references in his films I love to death. He really knows how to build tension and he’s really good at generating feelings of impending fear and doom. With certain key scenes you know there’s something’s coming that’s gonna reveal more information about what the heck is going on. It’s playful in a good way, as he leads you into really blank areas where you don’t know what exactly is going on.
With both Get Out and Us, they’re horror movies but there’s also elements of mystery in them, and I love that. Maybe that comes from being exposed to too much Rod Serling or something, I don’t know (and of course, what famous, amazing, crazy ‘50s mind-bending TV classic has Jordan Peele done brand new episodes of? Yes! Correct!).
But yeah, I loved the subplots in Us, and because of the way he loves to weave a few different ones into the same movie, I really look forward to seeing more of his stuff. Some movies work with one plot, but I think Jordan Peele movies are all about the sub-plots, and he’s quickly proving himself very masterful with them.
So there’s that. Thank you Mister Ron Moore!
And the rest of you? Well … thank you too!!
Until next time,