Sunday, April 24, 2011

30 Day Horror Challenge Day 24 - Horror film in which you perfer the edited version over the director's cut

I tried folks. I really tried. I just couldn’t come up with a horror movie where I liked the edited version better than the directors cut. I’m a directors cut kinda guy. If there is one available, 95 times out of 100 that’s the version I own and the version I know. Who should have final cut is a debate for another time. Right now I’m just talking about my personal taste. I don’t really bother watching edited versions unless I happen to be watching it on TV. I was wracking my brain on this one. The Exorcist? No, the original is better than the “Version you never saw” in almost every way. All those foreign horror flicks that were edited for their release in the United States? Not by a long shot. I want every last drop of blood. I want all the inane dialogue. I want it all man! I saw a lot of people going with Army of Darkness. I will admit to having never seen the director’s cut version. I will state, for the record, I do like the S-Mart ending better. I also would say Alien, but Ridley Scott said on the commentary that the theatrical version was his director’s cut, and that he recut it only at the behest of the studio for a new DVD and prefers the original. That’s not even really a director’s cut.

What does drive me crazy though, are retroactive directors cuts. When a movie is loved by fans the way it is, don’t go back 20 or 30 years later and change it. Any work of art is a reflection of its times and the artist’s perspective at that point. Going back and “modernizing” a film, or altering it that far after the fact destroys the film as a time capsule of when it was made. Of course, public enemy number one for this particular offense is George Lucas. When he added a bunch of crappy CGI to the Star Wars trilogy, changed the music, and screwed around with the story, he obliterated a lot of its charm. So much ink has been spilled about that particular issue, however, that I’m not going to go into it here. Han Solo did shoot first though.

I’m going to pick a movie that isn’t horror, but is oven lumped in with horror into the “cult classics” catch-all moniker. After all, I did see it for the first time on Monstervision. I’m talking about The Warriors. I’m sure we all know the plot, so I’m not going to bother. I love this movie. It is a comic book style thrill ride, and that is evident in the movie. In the “Ultimate Director’s Cut” it becomes explicit, and destroys the flick. The wipe pans, the outlandish costumes, and the stylized violence already gave it a comic book like feel, but for some ungodly reason Walter Hill decided to go back and insert actual comic book art frames into the movie. The wipe pans that were part of the film’s style are replaced by awkward dissolving to a drawn panel. It also changes the whole feel of the movie. In a film like Creepshow, it’s supposed to have the feel of a comic come to life. While The Warriors does have many comic book-esque elements, in the original cut it is balanced by a certain grittiness. Its atmosphere walks a fine line between over the top and ultra realistic. The comic frames take that fine line that was so deftly executed and take a big steaming dump on it.

He even inserts these illustrated frames in places where it completely interrupts the flow of a scene. For example, when The Warriors come out of the subway laughing and celebrating only to freeze when confronted by the Furies. The abrupt stop, looks on the Warriors faces, and cutting back and forth between the two gangs builds the moment before the chase begins beautifully. In the director’s cut, the shot of Ajax looking pensive becomes a drawn panel, complete with an idiotic “Oh Shit” caption. Instead of just showing the Furies in all their glory, twirling their bats and silently waiting to pounce, we see them in a comic book frame with “THE BASEBALL FURIES!” in big letters. One of the best scenes in the flick is replaced by a series of bad drawings. Just dumb.

I think the thing that pissed me off the most, though, was the ending. In the original cut, while Joe Walsh’s song In the City plays, the Warriors walk down the beach into the sunset until they disappear over the horizon while the credits. It’s a beautiful symbolic image and is quite effective after all the violence. In the director’s cut, after about 10 seconds, the shot freezes and, you guessed it, turns into a damn comic. LAME!

I’m not even going to go into the pointless new optical zooms or the ridiculous new prologue. Those stupid comic book scenes are enough. Walter Hill, I will always respect you. After all, not only did you direct one of my favorite films of all time in The Warriors, but you directed Southern Comfort and my favorite Tales from the Crypt episode. So, with all due respect, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING? The original version gets two severed thumbs as high up as possible. The director’s cut gets one up and one down, because, after all, it is still The Warriors. Nathan says go to ebay, find a copy of the original DVD release, and check it out.


Cash Wampum said...

I usually swear by Director's Cuts. Especially with horror movies, its a must. DC almost always = more gore, which is always welcome here. If you watch the R-Rated Texas Chainsaw II and then catch the unrated version with all of Savini's effects in tact, it has a wonderful addition of well done gore. Another good example is Hellbound: Hellraiser II. I always thought that movie was fairly graphic as it was but then (thanks to Jumbo Video) I came across a red and blue sleeved cover for the movie, which caught my eye since it was always black and blue before and this "UNRATED" was in the corner. I'm like, Ok, lets give this a shot.

OMG!! What a difference. EVERY SEEN with blood in it was extended, every single one. It was a gorehound's dream come true. The razor blade maggot removal scene was about 60 seconds longer and more explicit. You actually get to see Chanard's head come apart in that beautiful semi-decapitation sequence. Amputated limbs falling on the floor. Doug Bradley chokes to his death for a full 10 seconds as the gaping slash across his throat just ebbs and ebbs crimson.....truly striking.

However, there is an additional scene in the movie that made it in the unrated version where Kirsty finds a room in hell that looks like her old house and then blood starts pouring all over the place only to have smoke and steam fly around and then the cenobites are there. I didn't feel this scene needed to be included. I totally bought the other version where she's walking around, soon you hear chains and then there they were. It is Hell, afterall.

The OTHER side of the coin concerns one of my favourites, the original Night of the Demons. I've loved that movie ever since I rented it back in '88 so when I found the unrated version in the late 90s, I was all gaga!!

The only extended gore scene I can think of was Stooge bleeding from the mouth a bit more and Jay's eyes squirt a bit when Linnea skull fucks him with her fingers. Other than that, too much dialogue was added or subtracted for little to no reason. It wasn't the film that I had fallen in love with so I've stayed with the original R rated version since then and every Halloween I HAVE to watch the original Halloween I and II and this movie. Its tradition at Cash's place. You're all invited!!

SonOfCelluloid said...

I'm the same way man. More gore is always better. The first version I rented of Night of the Demons was unrated, and I don't think I've ever seen the R rated version. I love the hell out of that flick too. Hellraiser 2 is another that's better unrated. I really want a proper unrated DVD release of Hellraiser 3 too.
Sadly, the copy I have of TCM 2 is rated. Bad horror geek, I wasn;t even aware that there was an unrated one out there. That just jumped very high on my "things to buy once I find a job" list.

Cash Wampum said...

I guarantee you, it will be like watching it all over again. Especially the two nutjobs in the Mercedez bit. This is Tom Savini effects you've been missing out on!!!

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