Sunday, October 02, 2011
COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN BLOGPOST #2 - FOUND FOOTAGE
I have spent way too much of my idle time thinking about the subject of today's second Halloween related blog post - found footage films. This term may sound new to you, but if you are a horror film fan than I bet you have seen at least one of them before. Found Footage refers to movies that rely upon film or video supposedly recovered after some type of incident (usually a fatal one) has occurred. Typically we see the film unfold from behind the camera lens, and the shaky hand-held effect is usually associated with these types of movies.
Found Footage Films are often formulaic - and here is how it usually shakes out in a nutshell.
1 - The screen is black. In a font that looks like it is hot off the presses (I am not the font pro here folks - that is Shyboy Tim's expertise) we are told how the film or video tape was recovered. We also learn that the people we are about to see have never been heard from again.
2 - We are introduced to the characters and share a few light hearted moments with them. We bond with them. We get accustomed to looking through the camera lens. The intentions of the film makers are made clear as well, i.e. "We are making a documentary on such and such" or "This is weird, let's start recording it to see if we can find proof".
3 - Something weird or frightening starts to happen. Then it happens a lot. This takes up the majority of the film.
4 - This is where it all goes wrong, The End. All of the craziness that the characters endure often end in a series of difficult camera angles, running, confusion and then the tape runs out so to speak. This always leaves questions unanswered. It is the equivalent of how quite a few car movies ended in the 1970's - they just ran into something and blew up. I have yet to come across one of these movies that has nailed an ending. Blair Witch probably comes the closest. We see the final loops of film play out and the screen often goes black. Those same newspaper fonts explain to us that this is how it ended and literally no body was ever found.
Don't get me wrong here folks, I love these films. I can't stop watching them even if I know I will be disappointed at the end. It is like my inability to turn off MTV reality shows (like the Jersey Shore). You see, step #3 in the list above is often fantastic and frightening as hell. I enjoy the "real life" documentary feel of these films. I love starting off the journey naive and innocent along with the protagonists, only to find that things aren't what they seem. I know the ending is going to suck but I am willing to go along with the ride for now. Someday, somebody will figure out how to really end one of these movies, to not just rely on saying "Here is where the tape ended and the people where never heard from again". Until then, the success of films like Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project will keep Found Footage Films coming out of the woodwork.
Below I have accumulated a number of trailers for Found Footage Films. Towards the bottom are several I've not seen but hope to track down soon. Enjoy the scares!!
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