Montageman: A dude who writes

September 7, 2006

We Stand as One and Folksonomy

Filed under: Academic, folksonomy, schlock — montageman @ 3:52 am

I came across this wonderful music video today:

Oddly enough, it was tagged as “schlock” on del.icio.us

I’ve recently taken an interest in schlock as a cultural phenomenon. More specifically, my decision to use Uwe Boll’s films as the focal point of my masters essay necessitates a genre beyond horror. Boll’s films are not good by conventional standards, in fact, they are poor – poorly reviewed, each of his last 3 films are in iMDB’s Bottom 100 list, and poorly made. Why then is there a need to examine his work?

The last 3 films were all based on videogames, not based the same way Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was, rather Boll has attempt to form a contextual basis for the games. For example, his treatment of House of the Dead is that of a prequel. The final shot has the hero & his damsel flying back into the city under ominous circumstances. This is where the game picks up.

Boll relies on horror/B-movie genre conventions and (unintentionally) becomes schlocky. Much in the same way We Stand as One is schlocky. There is a level of seriousness and an inability to be self-referential inherent in both of these examples. Schlock, then, becomes a tag that refers to subject matter of what is being watched. Maybe by referring to Boll’s films as schlock, it is giving too much credit to Boll and not enough to previous schlock films. However, the playfulness that is present in schlock films (i.e. Evil Dead 1 and 2) does lend itself well to videogames but the opposite is not necessarily true.

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September 5, 2006

House of the Dead (2003)

Filed under: Film, schlock, Uweboll, videogames — montageman @ 4:00 am

When a gamer steps up to an arcade game and grabs the joystick or the light phazer, a feeling of empowerment, of agency, of control washes over him. Viewing a film, however, requires passivity – a surrendering of agnecy in lieu of narrative progression without participation. The gamer’s ability to work within a game world is essential to the experience of gaming – obviously, a game would not be a game without some semblence of playfulness. It is precisely this element of playfulness that Uwe Boll drains from House of the Dead (2003).

Part of what makes other videogame movies more effective is their insistence on not showing the gameplay in the context of the film. Boll’s insistence on using cut scenes from each of the three House of the Dead games works less as a homage and more as a mode of castration. What Boll fails to realize is that he is dealing with a new kind of viewer – a viewer whose agency shouldn’t be taken away and then used to taunt him, rather, the genre of game films should make no qualms about the removal of agency.

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