Art & Design
My husband and me started this informal, fun study in 2013 during our annual October horror movie marathon (we watch at least one scary movie every day, most of the time it is more like 3-4 a day, culminating in Halloween Fright Night), because we just simply wanted to know: Does the virgin really always survive? Do, on the other hand, the assholes, vixens and stoner always die? Does the Black guy really always go first?
So we started to put numbers to the movies as best as we could evaluate, based on only North American movies (we eliminated a few movies from our list later because on that criteria, to try to be as consistent as possible. But we might still have a couple of mistakes in the line-up, so if you see a mistake we don't mind at all if you point it out - it is an informal study, done with limited resources). We also still add to the numbers to increase the data pool and make the study as comprehensive as we can. So likely there will be an update every November, after yet another horror movie marathon. All the data, the info graphic and layout of the graphic is my own work.
The plot: After an unexplained 'celestial event' an ant colony starts to show signs of newly acquired intelligence, building strange geometric structures, aggressively shaping their surroundings and eliminating perceived threats. Two scientists set up camp in a bio dome close to the structures to examine the new strain of ants by studying the colony's audio communication and direct interaction. Soon they find out how much of a threat a species this goal-orientated and self-sacrificing can be when coupled with superior intelligence and overarching long-term goals.
Apparently, the movie was not very successful when it first came to theaters, but all movie reviews from more recent watchers are rating it fairly high. ( See Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb ). Side note: According to Wikipedia the wildlife photographer Ken Middleham who shot the insect sequences for Phase IV also shot the insect sequences for the documentary The Hellstrom Chronicle.
Well, we are 30 days into our Halloween Movie Marathon and 75 something films down the list in our horror movie statistic mortality study - and we still haven't even barely scratched the immense volume that is available from decades of Horror Masters. But in the meantime, Ray & me decided to mark this occasion and declare our picks for our own special "Odd Categories" Awards. No doubt, there are many movies we failed to mention and probably there are many opinions on the subject - but since this is just a side-product of an evolving fun study, categories might always be added and the choices probably will supplemented over time as well. Enjoy! CJ
The "Most Gory and Kick-ass Girl-on-Girl Fight" award goes to "Cabin Fever 3 - Patient zero" (2014), the third installment of the 2002 classic. This category is usually woefully underrepresented, and rarely ever even comes remotely close to approaching the high standard set by the fights in movies like "Kill Bill" Vol. 1 & 2. But this gem of flying flesh chunks, exposed bones and gushing geysers of blood almost makes one forget the B movie quality of the overall movie. Well, almost.
"Scariest Clowns" This is a difficult category to decide, considering that even scores of well-meaning professional clowns have left a large percentage of us with lingering latent Coulrophobia. Since this is such a fascinating phenomena, we decided to divide the prize into two sub-categories.
In animation: 'Violator' is a demon who takes the form of a foul-mouthed, evil Clown as his casual day-time disguise in "Todd McFarlane's SPAWN" animated TV series (1997-1999). The series was later collected and published as a full length feature movie trilogy. But when it comes to sheer, terrifying nightmare, Pennywise
"Uncanniest Visual Resemblances between Characters". Strictly speaking, "The Crow" (1994) is not a horror movie, but more of a gothic love story - and "The Dark Knight" is a very dark Action Movie. But the tragic background of real life events at or around production or release of respective movies justifies including this category in our opinion. What if The Crow had been unable to fulfill his destined mission to avenge his love? Would he have become the cynical, nihilistic, mad villain, punishing society for injustices done to him?
Now that we are three weeks into our little non-scientific Demographic/ Mortality statistics study and roughly 55 movies down our list there are some very obvious (and predictable) early general results: As we might have guessed, the inclusion of ethnic minorities can be traced roughly with racial emancipation, immigration trends and human rights developments in America over the the decades. African American characters appear in early film history, but seem mainly to echo racial stereotypes at that time - horror movies from the 50s and 60s are usually cast with overwhelmingly white cast (with only few notable exceptions). Eventually, 70s films usher in some attempts of diversion by including African American and some Hispanic cast members. On a side note, judging from the sliver of movies we have sampled so far the old myth of the "Black guy always getting eliminated first" don't necessarily seem to hold much water - but we are still far too early in our little study to make a definite call on that. Other ethnic groups are still rather under-represented, although that has changed slightly since the 90s.
As expected, the casting of character stereotypes are much harder to pin down since their definitions are highly subjective to begin with; they have sparked some philosophical debate between us about what exactly constitutes the definition of the "asshole/bitch" or the "nerd/geek" archetype. Or what, precisely, makes one a "hero"? Questions, questions, questions! To clarify, we try to keep track of the main characters, as well as all extras who have at least a spoken line or a "significant action" part. It gets more difficult with movies which use plenty of extras, especially disease/outbreak, creature feature or zombie type movies which typically have a high headcount of victims and/or include plots with military involvement. In contrast, ghost stories and hauntings tend to have a more downsized, focused circle of characters with a much lower mortality rate.
So far, so good. As I pointed out before, this is just a little fun project my husband and me are pursuing in our free time, so a certain margin of error is to be expected. But I will keep doing progress updates as we gather more information. CJ
Art in Hawaii
Living in Hawaii is an inspiring experience, both artistically and spiritually.