Well, the Academy Awards were last night, and I’m sure all the trendy ironic folks will be making the usual comments about Hollywood self-congratulation, but I mostly enjoyed it. I like movies, and I think good filmmaking deserves to be honored.
I do have one nit to pick, however, with the movie montage they showed as part of their salute to horror movies. Less than halfway through it, I noticed that they were showing a lot of scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. And then I noticed that they kept coming back to Psycho and The Exorcist and the Elm Street series and I started wondering… Was the Academy’s horror montage put together by people who didn’t really know much about horror films?
I think so. I’m hardly a scholar of horror films, and I haven’t gone over the montage in slow motion, so maybe a missed a few, but it seems like the anonymous editors of this montage certainly left out a lot of the horror genre.
To start with, the only zombies I saw were from maybe a one-second clip of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. There’s a huge sub-genre of zombie films that they completely missed. They didn’t even include Dawn of the Dead, or Return of the Living Dead or Re-Animator, let alone modern takes like 28 Days Later or Shaun of the Dead.
It’s a little shocking. I mean, I can understand how they might leave out horror specialist films like Videodrome or C.H.U.D., but where were Scanners and Invasion of the Body Snatchers? How about The Thing? The Howling? The Dead Zone? Altered States? Any version of The Fly?
Where were Fright Night and Arachnophobia, and the Twilight Zone movie? What about Creepshow and Pumpkinhead and Near Dark? Where were Seven, and Final Destination, and The Lost Boys? Why didn’t we see any piece of the incredible Phantasm series?
It’s a truism that Hollywood has always slighted horror films, but last night they managed the amazing feat of slighting horror films in the middle of a montage honoring horror films…
And for fuck’s sake, how the hell do you leave out Evil Dead?
Dr X says
I had the same reaction to the horror montage. Many of the movies were not from the horror genre at all. I thought: this is insane. Who did this? Actually, I said it out loud to my wife, a filmmaker, who said things I won’t even repeat.
It was inexcusable for an organization that is all about filmmaking.
Mark, it helps to remember that a lot of those movies (Evil Dead, Videodrome, Night of the Living Dead) were made by non-union labor or in Canada. Bruce Campbell didn’t even have a SAG card when he made Evil Dead. But the academy is, for intents and purposes, a closed floor union shop.
Mark Draughn says
It makes sense that Academy membership would be required to receive an award (I assume), and I’m pretty sure that things like the tribute to the folks who died is limited to Academy members only (otherwise where do you stop?), but it didn’t occur to me that they would apply such a filter to the horror montage.
What are you talking about? The Evil Dead was in the mashup. There was a scene of Ash running through the Cabin, trying to escape the camera..=)
Yes, I’ll admit most of the clips were pretty trendy films. And you can’t get every horror movie ever made in there, unless the cuts were like 2 seconds.
Mark Draughn says
Really? Damn. I missed it. I didn’t spot him there at all.
You’re right, they’re always going to have to leave something out of the montage, but if they had room to show The Shining over and over again, then they had room to cut in a few more of the films I mentioned instead.
Dr X says
I’ve checked with the resident expert and this is what she reports:
Academy membership is not required to receive an Oscar. Non-members who are nominated become eligible for membership. Ordinarily, a member would invite a non-member to join.
Non-union films can also be nominated as long as they meet all of the eligibility requirements. The Academy sometimes requires retro-active union membership (really, pay the dues), but it’s not a rule.