Thursday, March 10, 2011

Director Eric England defends "cliched" Madison County trailer

I usually only post a trailer of an upcoming horror movie if I really like the flick or I think it's inventive, creative or unique. We can watch these trailers anywhere, so there really is no need to post it up on the jaded viewer.

But I did get a press release for an upcoming slasher film called Madison County and I checked out the trailer. So what's this about?

Madison County is about a group of college students that travel to a remote, mountain town called Madison County to interview the author of a tell-all book on the accounts of the grisly murders that happened in the town over two decades ago.

Upon their arrival, the author is no where to be found and the townspeople state that they've "not seen him in years." They also deny that Damien Ewell, the notorious murderer, ever existed and that the murders never happened. As the kids start to dig around to get their own answers, they come to find that the stories, and Damien, maybe more real than the townspeople are letting on.

Now check out the trailer.

Let's break this down like Donkey Kong.
  • Naked blonde girl running on a dirt road
  • Redneck Cannibal Town, USA
  • Dumb urban college students
  • Private Property? Fuck that!
  • Deserted house with wind chimes!
  • Slasher with pig mask and big fuckin ax
  • Local townie that warns dumb Ambercrombie and Fitch dumb white kids to leave
  • Quickly edited running around montage
  • Slasher swing and a miss
  • Hostages with no hope of surviving
  • A random oozing of blood
  • A name to our slasher that sounds really familiar
  • Face molestation
  • Title Card!
  • "Inspired by True Events" declaration
  • Last "scare" shot
Yeah I just listed many of the cliches and slasher formulas we've seen before.

So why am I talking about a cliched upcoming slasher flick? Because it's a cliched slasher flick. The director of Madison County Eric England recently wrote an interesting article defending his movie and trailer in his blog which you can find here.

He wrote: "I didn't pitch this film as "the most original slasher film ever made" when I tried to get it made. In fact, slasher films themselves have been done to death. But that's exactly why I wanted to make Madison County. I LOVE Slasher films. Love them. And I want to see them live on."

He goes on to say that he loved Adam Green's Hatchet and that most movies are retelling of the same stories over and over again. Well this got me thinking. Can I really bash Madison County's trailer because I think it has those overused slasher cliches when I wrote a review of Hatchet and Hatchet 2 praising the slasher cliches in Adam Green's films?

Ah ha you're saying right now. Would I be a hypocrite for doing such a thing? Am I contradicting myself for asking indie horror filmmakers to make creative and new films but praising films that follow the same old formula? For instance, I liked Laid to Rest for being a cliched sorta new slasher film and Slither for being an homage monster slug movie. If I like those Hollywood is going to keep remaking those flicks. I'm just contributing to the Hollywood machine aren't I?

Regular loyal jaded viewers know I support indie horror and will try to hold judgement on a movie before I see it. But when I watch a trailer that seems generic, I kinda start forming an opinion in my head. After seeing so many horror movies, especially slasher flicks you know what's coming. You know all the tricks, the stereotypical characters, the BOO! shots. The one thing that Hatchet had going for it was the kill scenes were pure blood drenched gore-tastic moments that made your jaw drop....literally.

So I make a call out to Mr. Eric England.

I want to know what's different about Madison County from the other slasher films we've all seen? Explain to me why I should see college kids get sliced and diced in Redneck Country, USA by a slasher in a pig's mask?

Every new slasher is a little different, has a unique backstory and can kill in new and inventive way. I'm hoping Damien has a little creativity in him. Hell he has some farm supplies he can arm himself with. Let me know what's going to separate Madison County apart from the rest. That's all I ask.

As for my fellow jaded viewers, my question is this. Are we all being hypocritical when we praise a slasher flick filled with the same old cliches but demand Hollywood stop making remakes?

What do you all think?

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  1. The way I see it is this - Hatchet and Slither presented themselves as homages BEFORE WE EVEN SAW A TRAILER.

    Once we saw the trailers they seemed present enough of something new, as well as self-awareness and maybe even genre parody/satire elements to keep us wanting to see it.

    This didn't do that. This doesn't scream homage, tribute etc.

    This just screams rip-off.

  2. It's the wind chimes. It's the first one to combine a pig mask AND wind chimes... :)
    Creativity and originality can be delivered in ways beyond physical effects, ways a trailer can't express without ruining surprises, in elements of the story- that's right, our trailer that DOESN'T give away the whole movie (like many do these days).

  3. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and respond to it. While Madison County is not breaking any new ground, it IS paying homage to many films before it. It IS taking things we've seen before and adding something different to them, or doing them better (or at least I think better) then we've been seeing lately. Cliched characters? Depends on how you look at them.

    Madison County is a movie for people that want story. If you want blood, guts, and sex.. go somewhere else. My movie is not a movie about killing. It's a story that happens to have people dying in it.

    I'm humbled, thankful and honored that Madison is even getting covered with the top horror movies of today. And the fact that it's even being mentioned in the same breath as some of the films it's being mentioned in is amazing and a victory in itself. It's damn near impossible to get a movie made today. It's even more impossible to try and do it with little to no money. We had less than $75k to make a movie that other filmmakers had $10 Million plus.

    I made Madison County for myself and people like me who want to see quality movies. I want to HELP horror. And anyone that wants to HELP horror with me, go out and support indie horror films like MADISON COUNTY!

  4. Hey Eric/Matt - Me and my fellow horror bloggers unconditionally support indie horror. We get the word out through our blogs, Facebook and Twitters. The Jaded Viewer has even taken a few movies out of obscurity and lit the fuse on getting certain indie horror films some buzz.

    When watching the trailer, You want to get a feel for the film. Sure we'll nitpick and use comparisons. It's an initial instinct for horror fans to find similarities in other horror flicks. My thoughts above are exactly my initial observations because I need a basis of comparison. I'll describe the film with flicks I know. It's kinda a habit by all horror fans.

    I know a film is more than the trailer and as long we see a slasher film try something different but stay true to the cliches I think it'll be a solid flick. There's a time for blood, guts and sex and if this is more of a gritty reality horror flick, the more power to you. We horror fans dig that as well.

    Part of my purpose of this post is the conflict of slasher flicks fandom. Horror fans love slasher flicks but sometimes when they see a generic slasher, we moan that it wasn't "original" or "different" or "cliched". How can we say we love slasher flks and than contradict ourselves?

    In any case, the only thing I can do is watch the movie and judge it by its own merit. I called you out and you responded and I respect that. Not many filmmakers would reply to comments, blog posts and criticism. I found your post interesting and had to show the horror community what one filmmaker cares about the fans.

    Kudos to you for keeping an open mind. Looking forward to seeing the flick.

  5. I appreciate that. I'm a horror fan, myself. Hell-- I just turned 23 years old so I was on the internet posting my opinions and comments just a few years ago. So the support of the horror community is always in the front of my mind. Their opinion matters as much as mine does in these films because I want to be making horror films for the rest of my life and the only way to do that is to make films that the people want to see.

    Madison County is only the beginning. Excited for you to see the film!

  6. I agree that this trailer looks incredibly cliche and lacks originality; however, you can't judge any slasher by its trailer. Non-supernatural slashers have always clung to convention. What separates one slasher from another is the creativity of the kills and the motivations / methods of the killers. Since both of these elements require surprise to be successful, you can't feature them in a trailer. Therefore, most trailers for slasher films end up looking pretty run-of-the-mill. Madison County might be a run-of-the-mill movie, but we won't know until we actually see the thing.

  7. These lying bastards - they couldn't even afford to pay their crew a decent wage...

  8. Are you working for him.and if not dont worry about it.js.....