Saturday, October 12, 2013


Every horrorhound's favorite month is upon us, and to celebrate, I'll be dishing out a personal pick from the genre for every day in October. Some will be obvious and rather unoriginal (sorry that I like movies other people like), while some will be a little more oddball and off-the-wall. Some may even challenge your idea of what constitutes a "horror" movie. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the month with some good movies, even if they aren't ones I recommend!

Today's Pick: Hollow Man (2000)

When the seventies hit, there was a great industry-wide shift happening in the movie business: take B-movie premises and treat them like A-list prestige pictures. It's exactly what happened at Universal during the thirties, and that gave us the first big wave of monster classics. This led to a whole bevy of cinematic treasures, including The Exorcist, Jaws, and Alien. The downside to this was that excellent B-movies began to look shoddy by comparison. That's why I can't help but love Hollow Man. It's not only an inventive "remake" of Universal's own The Invisible Man, it's also a film that's totally aware of its B-movie pedigree and doesn't even try to class itself up. Instead, it just attempts to be the best B-movie it can be, and it works like gangbusters.

Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) is the egotistical leader of a research team trying to crack an invisibility serum for the military. Once they do, he volunteers for human trials and succeeds, but they don't know how to reverse the process. After being invisible for longer than expected , Sebastian begins to go crazy and eventually, his darkest impulses take over. And when he finds out that his teammates are planning to shut the project down, Sebastian decides to get rid of them, one by one.

Director Paul Verhoeven kind of had the odds stacked against him when he was making this movie. His previous attempts at science fiction (RoboCop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers) were all stellar, but they were also big movies in terms of scope. Hollow Man is a very small film, with very simple ideas and characters. This isn't a bad thing (in fact, it all works in the movie's favor), but I think most people expected something grander from this outing. The fact that it was a shameless B-movie with a larger than normal budget kind of threw expectations off. That's a shame, because all the actors involved seem to be aware of the material's level of trashiness and play things accordingly. Kevin Bacon is a great villain, but he's also our protagonist which can throw people for a loop as well. If it wasn't for the shift in character focus at the end of the film, I think the movie would have been more well-received.

Almost fifteen years later, the effects in the film mostly hold up. All the stuff with Caine either completely invisible or wearing his perfectly creepy mask are still great, it's only the stuff with him getting wet or being partially visible that look a bit dated. Still, the effects don't take away from the mean-spirited fun the picture is full of. It's also kind of goofy to see Josh Brolin in movies like this and Mimic, before he became some highly revered dramatic actor. Even though the film is littered with familiar faces, no one is phoning it in and the  movie can actually coast on Bacon's performance alone. He really is that good. I love it whenever he plays a bad guy, because he's just so damn good at it.

I saw Hollow Man for the first time at a drive-in theater (remember those?), and that was the absolute optimum way to experience it. It's an old drive-in kind of movie, but with lots of money behind it. It revels in its sleaziness (this film is chock-full of rape) and doesn't apologize for it at all. It's not a phenomenal film, but it's a damn watchable one. I don't ask for much more than that.

Sunday the 13th just doesn't have the same ring to it as Friday the 13th, does it? Maybe we can change that outlook tomorrow!

previous entries

No comments:

Post a Comment