OK so it seems to be awhile since I have posted about films and this was always supposed to be a partially horror based blog. So here I am in the first of a new series of posts, a series in which I am going to try to convince you how amazing a film is that many people dont like.
So right now I am here to convince you that a film lots of people hate is in fact a piece of Cinematic gold. I am here to tell you that Hollow man is a an amazing science fiction horror film which everyone simple has to not only see but has to at least try to appreciate.The film came out in the year 2000 and the first thing about it that most people paid any attention to was the high level of special effects in the story. When I saw the first trailer for it I instantly saw it as a modernization of the 1933 film The Invisible Man and this was enough, this one thing sold it to me and made me know that I had to see it.
Ok well whether you know him for his part in footloose or for the more recent 4G what’s in the shed Kev adverts, I am sure most of you will have some kind of idea of who Kevin Bacon is. Kevin Bacon is the Claude Rains of the piece, the scientist who goes from pushing the frontiers of science to performing criminally insane acts throughout the film. There is a kind of movement which considers everything older to be better and I am sure that some of these people will consider what I am building myself up to say as some kind of blasphemy but I think Kevin Bacon does a better job than Claude Rains. Don’t get me wrong I love the film The Invisible Man it is an all-time movie classic and one of my favourite universal horror movies, I own it on blue ray and watch it frequently, I think Claude Rains performance is great, he is convincingly insane, super intelligent, sure of his own abilities a wonderful mad scientist in every way but I just think Bacon out does him. Kevin Bacons character comes across as cocky, eccentric, driven with a sort of twisted sense of humour and as the serum that is injected in to his body takes a hold of him he doesn't instantly become evil like a comic book character it is far more subtle than that, all of his previous personality traits seem to grow to become extremes, he becomes even more sure of himself, more driven, more twisted. He is dangerous because he seems to believe that he is special that he has the right to use his powers how he sees fit. It makes you stop and think about yourself though about the make-up of your own personality, how you feel about yourself, the needs you have, the wants you have and what would happen if something was to turn some of these up just a notch, if something was to disturb the chemistry of your brain just enough would you become a monster as well?
I do think the special effects are amazing and I can see why people focused so much on them, but I don’t think they out do Kevin Bacon, they merely help to make his performance even more incredible. If Kevin Bacon was just acting Mad and then we were told he was invisible it would take a lot of suspension of disbelief to go along with it, not saying I couldn’t have done it after all I watch enough B movies take accept tinfoil wrapped cardboard boxes as a space ship or a terrible glove puppet as a creature from the beyond. I think the effects the fact that we actually see him slowly turn invisible layer by layer in all its stomach churning glory certainly adds to the film and makes it an easier watch for those who find it harder to get invested in a story.
Yes I am aware that not everyone likes this film in fact a lot of people have slated it but I think it is largely misunderstood. A lot of people try to take it as if it is a Science Fiction film some kind of attempt at doing something like Blade Runner or the Matrix but this is not how I look at it at all. It is a modern attempt at a universal horror movie with a nice side of Halloween/Friday the 13th. I think when you look at this film as a horror movie where the villain is not a dumb zombie type slasher villain; he is a scientific genius who has both the fact that he can out think you and the fact that you can’t see him on his side. When you look at it like this it’s like you have a horror movie with a difference, it’s like having a Dr. Hannibal Lecter type (minus the human consumption) who also has a super power which makes him even more terrifying.
Once you realise the film is basically a horror film you start to think about the way a lot of people view horror in general. Horror films seldom win major awards. They tend to be seen as sick, morally corrupt pieces of filth which will ruin the youth of the world and society in general but would you think of the classic horror novels such as Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein or Bram Stokers Dracula in this way, are they not both classics worthy of the same praise as the works of Dickens or Jane Eyre? So why are people allowed to treat horror films such as Reanimator as if they are rubbish while gushing with emotion about how wonderful Mrs Brown is? It is about time that people realised books and films have a lot in common. Just as we all have types of books we like and don’t like the same is true of films. Just because I don’t like a particular type of book or music or a certain genre of movie this does not mean that they are not valid and does not give me the right to deny them the respect they deserve.
I think if you give Hollow Man another watch taking on board everything I have said, watching it as a horror movie then you might find that you gain a new acceptance of what it has to offer. I also personally think it shows that Kevin Bacon is an underused and under-appreciated actor. He will go down as being the young man who was Ren McCormic in Footloose and yes he did well in that film, I loved his performance as a young man fighting for what he believed in. I loved how he delivered all of the lines where his character used passages from the bible to intellectually take on those of faith in the town who tried to enforce there own beliefs on others, how he put across both passion and the sense that he was struggling with his words, struggling with standing up to those who viewed themselves as his superiors both in intellect and in righteousness. Yet to boil down Kevin Bacon to this one role is to do him a disservice, I stand and ask you to look at Hollow Man again, to look at Stir of Echoes and to look at the TV series the Following and see what he has to offer. Most of all though look at Hollow Man try and see all that it has to offer after all that is what I wrote this post for.