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Posted in Uncategorized on June 7, 2011 by www.themaverickjester.com

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Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

Posted in Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2010 by www.themaverickjester.com

Like I do on every Halloween, I rented a few horror movies and got ready for what I hoped was a good scare. One of the movies that I brought home was the new Nightmare on Elm Street. Because I was  fan of the original, I had high hopes for this movie.

 During the eighties, the movie industry bombarded audiences with slasher movies. Teens were presented with gore and violence in the guise of pretend serial killers who really hated the average teenager. And we loved it! If a movie was profitable enough the movie executives milked its ability to generate money by making sequel after sequel until they had completely destroyed the original concept.

After a few of these movies, everyone knew who was going to die and who would live. Smoking pot, having sex or even showing cleavage was the bugle call for an insane maniac to jump out of the woods wielding some sort of kitchen appliance that he would use to slaughter the unsuspecting teens. The spunky, intelligent female who kept her legs closed despite her doomed boyfriend’s pleadings was usually the survivor. Yet, despite the formulaic plot and kills those of us who grew up in the eighties loved these movies

 One of the best and most original was Nightmare on Elm Street. The idea that a killer could enter your dreams and use your own nightmares against you was frightening. We are all vulnerable when we sleep and to make matters worse, we can’t keep ourselves from falling asleep. Sure we can hop ourselves up on caffeine or other substances but eventually, your body is going to betray you and you will nod off. Unlike other horror movies in which the victims do incredibly stupid things, the kids in the original Nightmare on Elm Street weren’t stupid. They simply couldn’t stay awake.

There were many layers to the film that added to the fear for the audience. Unlike Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th, Freddy was obviously intelligent. The one liners, which to some might seem corny, actually made the killer, appear less zombie like in his kills then either Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. Not only that, Freddy Krueger obviously relishes both frightening his victims and the act of the kill. It is as if Freddy is an evil trickster god who is not only going to kill you but will find it humorous to do so. There is something frightening about a killer so evil that he finds your death funny.

 Because I am going to give away spoilers to the movie, I will rate this now. That way anyone who doesn’t want their viewing experience ruined can stop reading after this paragraph. Overall, I would give them movie a C. The makeup on the new Freddy is actually quite good and more realistic than the original. Also, if you are only looking for popcorn fare, this isn’t bad. I don’t think that it is scary but very few horror movies frighten me anymore. If I had seen this movie in the theater, I would have been disappointed, but as long as your expectations aren’t high, this isn’t a bad movie to rent. Just don’t expect it to be as fun as the original.

 SpoilersThe amount of talking that the new Freddy engaged in annoyed me. I found myself wishing that he would simply shut up and kill people. I think that the creators of this version forgot that this is a simple slasher movie and that audiences don’t want deep conversation with their killers. Despite all the talking, this Freddy has far less personality then the original Krueger. I don’t know if this is a result of a sorry script or if the actor was not the best fit for this particular role. Jackie Earle Haley is very talented so I can’t help but wonder if the writing was the real problem.

 The director Samuel Bayer gives us a back story for Freddy which, I felt detracted from the overall story itself. The creepy and disturbing undertones from the first movie  are surprisingly destroyed by the emphasis on Freddy as a child molester. Now we discover that our killer had an underground lair where he took his innocent victims but apparently, he let them go afterwards. Yes, although still a perverted, sick fiend, the living Freddy was not a serial killer. His immolation, not any innate evilness on his part, is supposedly what pushes Krueger into becoming a murderer that haunts our nightmares. There is something almost pathetic about the living Freddy. Sorry, I don’t want to pity Freddy Krueger, I want him to scare the hell out of me.

 It isn’t just the monster that fails to meet our expectation. The characters, his victims, are devoid of any personality. In order for a horror movie to be effective, we need to have some connection with the people who are going to die. Even if we hate these people, we need to have some emotional reaction to their possible demise. I felt nothing for any of the young people who Freddy was going to slaughter. At one point, I even chuckled at the thought of Kate Cassidy being mistaken for a teenager. Granted, Cassidy is very beautiful, but she does not look like your typical high school student. I expected her to stand up and teach the class.

 But it was the character of Nancy who most disappointed me.  I don’t think that it was the actress, Rooney Mara’s fault that her portrayal isn’t satisfactory. The writers took out all the strength and courage that made Nancy Thompson/Holbrook interesting. For fans of the original movie, part of the appeal was not simply Robert Englund’s  as Freddy, but the interaction of the killer with Nancy. In the 1984 version, Nancy was a girl from a dysfunctional family. Her parents were divorced and her mother was an alcoholic. It was Nancy who was the parent to her mom and later tried to save her friends. Ultimately she chose to pull Freddy in to her world, even though that meant that she was alone in trying to fight him. It was hard not to root for the first Nancy. The newer Nancy is just plain boring.

 Despite the fact that I have pointed out many flaws in this movie, it isn’t  a horrible film just not a great one. Rent it, just don’t expect much.

World Of War Craft

Posted in Video Games with tags , , , on October 25, 2010 by www.themaverickjester.com

I admit to being a World of Warcraft nerd. Eons ago-before the creation of dirt- I played dungeons and dragons with dice. My friends and I used to hang out, drink a few beers, eat a lot of nachos and beat the imaginary hell out of our enemies. Now I am much older and more health conscious. So, no more beer and nacho nights but my taste in role playing games has never disappeared.

  I play online, beating my foes in Azeroth while sitting in front of my computer drinking bottled water and eating bags of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Okay, maybe I am not that healthy. But the new Cataclysm Cinematic Intro does make the coming expansion look like it is going to be fun.

My Problem With The Christian Version Of Salvation

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2010 by www.themaverickjester.com

 I want to explore the fact that I am rapidly loosing my childhood faith. My growing disbelief has nothing to do with anger toward god or Christians in general. The reason that I concentrate more on Christianity is because that is the faith that I grew up in and is therefore the one which I have the most knowledge.

Years ago, my former pastor used an analogy for salvation that involved someone giving you a free present. If you accept the present, than it is yours, no strings attached but you have to ask for it. Of course, there are strings attached when a person accepts Christ as his or her savior and I decided to come up with a better analogy.
A man has two children, a large, muscular boy named Ted and a small girl named Lisa. One day, the girl runs up to her father and is terrified because Ted has been beating her up. The father tells Lisa, “If you ask, I will stop Ted from ever beating you up again, but first you must admit that you are a worthless human being that deserves to be beaten up. And if I ever think that your admission wasn’t sincere, I will let Ted at you again. Also, in thankfulness to my saving you, I want you to spend the rest of your life groveling before me and telling me how wonderful I am.” So, the girl asks her father for his salvation and spends the rest of her life trying to get other people to realize how brave and wonderful her dad is.

This is how I view the Christian concept of salvation. Granted, my analogy  needs work but I wanted something that would help me explain why I can no longer accept Christian theology as true.