Monday, January 21, 2008


Where to begin? By hte time I finally saw this on the day it was released I had the definite feeling Cloverfield could NEVER live up to the expectations I had. If there was an award for the best marketing campaign, this should definitely get it. nd I'm not even talking about whatever the viral marketing campaign was, as I missed out on that completely. I don't watch tv or listen to the popular radio or really read much of the newspaper (preferring to get my news as an NPR junkie) so all I had to invest me in the film was the teaser before Transformers last July and the sudden proliferating billboards all over LA. Well, it was enough.

One thing that built suspense was my own approach, in that I refused to read anything that had to do with the flick. And then I planned to see it on opening day, something I normally would never do. IN this case though, I figured it may become damn well impossible to avoid the revelation of what it was that was that had torn the head of the statue of liberty off in the teaser. When you work at place with a lot of sci fi and horror movie buffs, avoiding something like that the next day is pretty hard if they've all already discovered the secret. It was hard enough avoiding it up until now, as many folks were scouring the net looking for clues to sate their anticipation. Myself however, I like to be surprised, really surprised, and I wanted to be sitting in that chair, baked, and have whatever it is scare the hell out of me the same way it would scare the hell out of the people on the streets of that fictional universe's Manhattan.


Okay, well, there were two big rumors that had me concerned. The first was that this was a Godzilla remake. I may have mentioned here once before, I had effectively sworn an oath in front of many people that if in the big reveal it was in fact Godzilla I was going to stand up, shout Fuck You at the screen and leave. Of course, that would have made me quite the asshole, but it would have been well warranted, at least in my mind. Godzilla was cool in nineteen fifty. That 'Atomic Age' bullshit is dead and gone, we've been living with the repercussions for half a fucking decade, and so the concept of a giant atomic-irradiated lizard wreaking revenge on mankind is about as poignant as remaking a flick were characters flush aligators down the toilet and they grow super large via hazardous waste chemicals and attack.

The 2nd rumor that had reached me was that this was possibly a Cthulhu movie. Now, at first that seemed like an awful idea. But about a week before it opened I started dreaming about this flick, as though I was in it. I started to imagine that the monster was Cthulhu, only being that it was supposedly shot all on home video as though recorded by a person caught in the midst of it there would never be a place for the filmaker to actually get a 3rd person perspective and so, we would never know it was the big C unless they had designed the monster so that those Lovecraft nerds out there (myself most definitely included) would recognize him. This idea I liked. Imagine, a film based so much out of a love for that mythos that it was enacted so true to life that it had the perspective of one of Lovecraft's protagonists - they're recording what is happening to them, unaware at the street level that this is the awakening of the elder gods, yada yada yada. My inner fan boy is starting to need a mental book-checking, but you get the point.

It was, however, not Cthulhu. although, there is a way the nerd quarter fo my brain sees that the filmmakers could have intentionally left it open for those in the know to argue that it was. But I'll get to that later.

The only inkling of a let down was that the monster did not live up to the abstract horrors my imagination had half conjured in rampant expectation. The day before seeing it my friend Amy stirred this to a boil when she said she had read one review that had described the monster as being 'a thing of 17 nightmares' or something to that effect. Now, of course, when expectation adn the abstract inner realms of imagination get working together like this, their offspring could NEVER be realized outside of that abstract realm of imagination, let alone on a DV camera via special effects. But man, I'll tell you this, sitting there in that theatre, pulled so deep into the chaos of having that handheld home movie camera put me street level with all those screaming, dying, looting people, when I saw that motherfucker for the first time it was something akin, I think, in film comparison, to that scene in M. Knight Shamalamdingdong's SIGNS with the first footage of the 'Buenos Aires birthday party'. It scared the LIVING FUCK out of me. It was glimpse, glimpse, terror, expectancy pushed through the roof of your mouth like venomous barbs and then full on HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!?

Now that, my friends, is a fucking monster movie. Mail your dime store giant lizard back to 1950 where someone might spill their pop at the sight of it. These days its gotta be the some-deep-sea-trench-just-vomited-this-abysmal-black-horror-into-the-lap-of-unsuspecting-mankind, and directly or indirectly, that IS H.P. Lovecraft.

Nerd addendum.

So, there is a scene, after we've seen the monster attacking, where the armed forces are attempting to evacuate what's left of the people of Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge and off the terrorized island when suddenly a giant tentacle-looking thing reels up out of the water and destroys the bridge. NOW, I know this is irrelevant to most folks lives, I know its nerdly obsessiveness the likes of which I make fun of others about, I know I should get a fucking life or find something worthwhile to do, but You know what? I will. I'm off work the next two days, just finished my third screenplay this year and am hard at work on my new one in another window, so writing this is my little tangent and I'll 'get a life' again when I damn well feel like it.

Anway, the point is, the monster we've seen thus far (and I do believe there may have been two even though here:

the designers discuss its creation as if it is just one) wasn't the only one. Seems to me since we were only seeing it from one camera perspectives, there were glimpses of more than one thing that were unable to be confirmed or followed up on. Now, the biggest example of this is that tentacle in the water. The monster is on land in Manhattan, and has no tentacle, so what the hell was in the water and attacked the bridge? The argument could be made that the monster we've seen was the spawn or herald of something much bigger, and what is a much bigger horror and usually travels with a herald? Beside Galactus? CTHULHU. So, my hopes are Mr. Abrhams will put all his effort into the last few seasons of LOST, make a killer star trek movie, even though I HATE star trek, fo rthe most part, and then make a companion piece, NOT A SEQUEL to Cloverfield that will give us more angles, if you will, of what exactly is happening that night in Manhattan, Cthulhu or not.

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