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Web Stalker – My Bloody Valentine‘s High Def 3D May Set New Standard for Old Gimmick

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In the 1950s, Vincent Price mucked about with 3D technology in the original House of Wax , while shameless showmen such as producer William Castle left no stone unturned or gimmick untried in an attempt to make the theater experience something unique. Give people a group experience unlike anything else, an experience they can only get at the theater, and they’ll keep coming back. Or so the thinking went, anyway. But eventually the gimmick wore thin — first in the ’50s, and then again in the ’80s when it was resurrected for a stretch in which screen icons such as Freddy , Jason and Jaws burst off screens. Once again the technology was branded a cheap trick employed to distract audiences from noticing they were watching mostly crappy movies. 

But 3D is back once again and we’re being told it’s all different this
time: The technology is better! The range of films employing it is
wider! It’s being used to enhance storytelling rather than replace it!
Of course the real reason Hollywood wants to make 3D
work so badly is that high def home theater now means movie producers must
evolve or die, but if all goes according to plan, 3D’s third go ’round will be the one
that sticks. A string of successful kids’ flicks have proven the new
Real D technology has appeal, so it seems inevitable that the
technology would return to it’s original stomping ground: Horror.
Inevitable? You bet. After all, as our very own Stacie Ponder declared back in March, 3D and horror are “the perfect combination.” And the movie that aims to prove that point is the upcoming My Bloody Valentine 3D.

My Bloody Valentine 3D — a remake of a 1981, produced in Canada slasher — isn’t the first horror movie to use the new Real D technology. That honor goes to Scar 3D, a film people generally seemed to despise on the festival circuit and which has failed to land any significant distribution. But My Bloody Valentine 3D is the first horror movie to use the technology with significant studio backing, so its performance will have an enormous impact on the future use of Real D and other new 3D technologies. If it fails, many will blame the failure on Real D and be reluctant to use it moving forward. And if it succeeds? Expect a slew of 3D horror movies within the next couple years. And if the advance buzz is any indication, you’d best be looking for the most stylish pair of 3D specs you can find — because you’re going to be wearing them a lot.

Buzz on this one was surprisingly positive from the word go; even the key players in the anti-remake brigade were excited. Heck, even the ubiquitous Scott Weinberg — seen everywhere at all times, generally talking very loudly about something (you know I love you, Scott) — came out on the plus side over at Fearnet commenting after a set visit about “how sincere these guys felt… I walked away from my five hours in Pittsburgh with the feeling
that MBV3D could actually be something slightly special.” Critics felt good about the filmmakers, while hardcore fans were pleased that the deal to make this version included a long overdue restoration of the original — including footage long believed lost. But the masses? They just want to see that pick-axe coming flying off the screen. The New York Times is also on board, declaring that the shift to 3D should “make fans of highbrow horror cheer.”

Whether MBV3D should be labelled “highbrow” is very much up for debate, but critics coming out of advance screenings certainly agree on the cheering part. CHUD’s Devin Faraci saw the movie early and declared it not only a “bloody blast of fun that surprisingly harkens back to a very different era of horror movies” but also “the best 3D horror film ever made.” Rodney Perkins at Twitch [full disclosure: I own and edit Twitch] also caught the movie early and while not as ecstatic as Faraci, Perkins steps up to say that “the 3-D in this otherwise middle of the road film is so well-done and applied in such an over the top fashion as to singularly elevate the film into a solid piece of event entertainment.” In other words: 3D makes movies — particularly horror movies, and this one in particular — fun.

That last bit is a thread picked up constantly on the message boards. At Rotten Tomatoes: “This movie looks just too cheesy but [too] awesome to pass up. Being in 3-D makes all the difference”, Erikofthedead. At Slashfilm: “This is definitely the best idea ever created to make good use of the newer refined 3d technology”, emery’s the bes [sic]. At Bloody Disgusting: “This looks f–king amazing … this is one of the BEST trailers (to what looks like an amazing movie!) I’ve seen in forever.”, djblack1313. At Twitch: “Loving it. Love the marketing and the gimmick. The days of William Castle return!” indiemaker0583.

There are naysayers of course — my personal favorite is damiyann2 at Empire who proudly declares “I’m more excited about watching Gumby reruns on YouTube. This stinks!!!” — but they are few and far between, particularly if you eliminate the knee-jerk, anti-remake comments. The buzz is so positive, in fact, that I’d hazard to say that My Bloody Valentine 3D stands with the remade Friday the 13th as the most buzzed about horror films of 2009. And the 3D technology is a HUGE part of that.

With MBV3D already generating enough word of mouth that it’s virtually guaranteed to be profitable, the fourth installment of the Final Destination series — Final Destination: Death Trip 3D — already claiming a space for Real D in the horror world, and James Cameron’s Avatar poised to do the same in science fiction land, the future of genre movies seems clear: 3D is back and it’s here to stay.

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