Tag Archives: Alfred Hitchcock

The “Good” Cheese

Wow! It’s Wednesday and the Beerbarrel has a new post up! How in the world did that happen??!?!?!?  Anyways… It deals with a question we’ve been pondering here at The Beerbarrel for a while… so enjoy!

There’s a book out called “Who Moved My Cheese“, this post has absolutely nothing to do with that book, or that cheese. We’re talking about the Good Cheese today folks, we’re talking television and pop culture stuff. Specifically the “cheesy” stuff that you remember in a fond way. The GOOD CHEESE . The stuff that doesn’t seem to get made anymore.

So what constitutes good cheese? Well, first off, it has to be cheesy (Ok, I’d say that’s a given). Obviously not real. Of course, this instantly rules out *any* reality television show. Sorry, those just come across as far too “scripted” or “staged” to be *real*. Want real? Watch the news. Go outside. Stay at work.

Good cheese can really be just about anything. Music, Television, Movies, you get the picture.

Want examples? Ok, let’s start with TV. Lots of good cheese there. Sadly though, most of it qualifies as aged cheese. For example, the 1980’s were a golden age for cheese in general. Lots of good cheese to be found there.

The Archtype of 80’s TV Good Cheese?

A movie from a bit further back?

How about some all time cheese?

Ok, I think we’ve established “Good Cheese”. So…what the heck happened?

The stuff today doesn’t even come close. Now, I realize and understand that nostalgia often plays a role. Let’s not forget that although it’s viewed almost comically today, Jaws was viewed as almost “Hitchcock” like in terms of horror films when it came out. Of course, these days it’s more about the one-liners like “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”.

But a lot of the TV shows? You knew they weren’t real.

Knight Rider? A sentient, talking Trans Am? C’mon. That’s cheese.

The A-Team! Right. 100,000 rounds fired from assault weapons and not a single person wounded. Same with the Storm Troopers in Star Wars.

What about CHiPs? Yeah, because there are always random 45  airborne car pileups in the middle of the day. Fun to watch, yes. Real? No. I was in a 6 car accident on an interstate last year. Not one of us went airborne. Very disappointing.

So, how did we get from all of that to the reality tv we have today? The writer’s strike? A change in what viewers wanted? Possibly. What with all the channels available now,  you had to find a way to grab attention. Maybe we’re finding out what’s at the bottom of the slippery slope. “Who can be the most outrageous” seems to win the ratings these days be it television, movies, or music/radio. Economics? Probably. Cheaper to produce and slap onto the air if you don’t need scripts and actual actors? (Ironic that they don’t have actual scripts, considering how scripted they seem!) Or was it something different altogether? Who knows, we sure don’t.

Let us know what you think, and what are some of your favorite bits of “Good Cheese”.

Later folks!

What ever happened to horror movies?

Howdy Folks!

A quick ‘sorta’ Halloween themed post for you here on a Wednesday. It’s almost the end of October, and that means Halloween. It also means some other things but that’s a subject for another post.

With Halloween coming up on Saturday, I’m noticing a lot of supposedly “scary” movies are making their way onto TV. Now, it’s no real secret that to Hollywood horror = gore a while back. These days,  it seems that a scary movie is all about someone’s leg being chopped off (and it being shown as it happens). See any of the 6,823 Saw movies as an example. Or you get some other overly graphic plot line  – I forget the trailer, but there was one showing a bug crawling down someone’s throat in their sleep.

Now, I get it. Those things are enough to make a lot of people wince or go squeamish. Heck, just mentioning spiders to some people is enough to get them going. And there’s my point. What in the world ever happened to classic horror? The stuff that messed with your head?

Let’s take an example… It was, at the time, one of the scariest movies going. These days it’s viewed almost as a comedy by some for a bunch of notable lines, but when it came out… it had people thinking it wasn’t safe to go into the water. That’s right. I’m talking about Jaws. Not the whole film, but consider the first scene.

  • You have the victim off on her own swimming
  • The eerie music starts, then continues to build. You just *know* something bad is going to hapen
  • You never, ever even see the shark coming. You don’t see the shark. At all.

Now, ignoring the fact that the opening scene most closely resembles a real life shark attack (Which is scary in and of itself) the fact that you never see the shark does not diminish the attack. In fact, it helps it. We all knew it was there, but the timing is what sets it up. You can’t really anticipate what’s going to happen because you can’t see the shark!

Want another example? How about Psycho? (The original – that remake NEVER happened!) The infamous shower scene. You see the knife. You see the victim. You see the blood go down the drain. You never see the actual stabbing. And yet it is one of the best known scenes in film.

“But Beer!  Jaws had gore! And you just talked about blood going down a shower drain!”

Yep, I did. I’m not completely opposed to it. Heck, I *expect* there to be blood if someone gets shot. What I don’t want – what I don’t find “scary” is the super slow motion, high definition impact of the back of someone’s head exploding. Gory, yes. Scary, no.

Here’s what I think happens. People watch all those old movies, then think “That isn’t so scary”. No, not after you’ve seen it 500 times. Like I mentioned earlier, Jaws is now viewed almost as a comedy. Why? Well, like I said, some classic lines for starters (“Hooper drives the boat”) but also because people have seen it so many times. You KNOW what’s going to happen now. You know when it’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen. The suspense is gone.

The key to horror is the suspense, not the gore. It’s the “make them jump” factor, not how gross you can make it.

So this Halloween if you want to watch a scary movie,  instead of watching Friday the 13th part 897 for the 500th time do yourself a favor. Check out where you get your movies from (Blockbuster, Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, wherever) and look for something you haven’t seen before. Look for something old.

Alfred Hitchcock is an excellent starting point.
On The Set Of Psycho

Black and white is a good sign. And if you can, look for something with the man who had one of, if not *THE* best evil laughs of all time. The late, great, Vincent Price.  Just don’t blame me if you have to sleep with the lights on after watching.

Happy Halloween!