Join 3,372 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Vatican did not endorse this post
January 7, 2012 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Last night, I attended a screening of 'The Devil Inside.' A screening that involved a DJ. It was a mostly miserable experience. That is, until the audience, whose members had received free tickets, started openly booing the movie after it ended. That part was fascinating - An Obsessive Chat About Last Night's 'The Devil Inside' Screening Between Mike Ryan and IFC's Matt Singer
posted by Artw (64 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Haven't read the article yet, but I already have that INXS song stuck in my head.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:57 PM on January 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm sure the song is better than the movie.
posted by Catblack at 6:58 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


It also got a rare F from the AV Club.

Given the reaction, it's pretty ballsy of them to liberally intercut audience footage into their commercials.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:58 PM on January 7, 2012


I read that whole thing just to understand what an "obsessive chat" is. I still don't get it.
posted by HuronBob at 7:03 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


should that tag be CarCrash or TrainWreck? Inquiring minds want to know (before we click the link)
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:06 PM on January 7, 2012


I read that whole thing in the voice of Mr.Moviefone.
posted by birdherder at 7:08 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


should that tag be CarCrash or TrainWreck? Inquiring minds want to know (before we click the link)

Yes.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 7:09 PM on January 7, 2012


SPOILER: Apparently instead of an ending the movie just links to a website - thats quite ballsy too.
posted by Artw at 7:09 PM on January 7, 2012


What's great about this is that the film is universally reviled by critics and audiences alike and is fantastically exceeding all box office expectations.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:10 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


For a minute I thought they were talking about I Saw the Devil, and my world collapsed a little bit. Everything's ok, now, though. Available on Netflix streaming.
posted by Huck500 at 7:12 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


They have learned the lessons of Bay and Bruckheimer well.
posted by Artw at 7:12 PM on January 7, 2012


the ironic money is just as soft and tender as the regular kind
posted by LogicalDash at 7:12 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The Devil Inside" wildly overperformed on Friday, taking $16.9 million and knocking "MIssion: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" out of the top spot at the box office.

Considering the movie had a budget of less than $1 million, the number is stunning. Paramount had expected "Devil" would gross $8 million for the entire weekend. Outside box-office watchers put that figure at $12 million to $14 million. And BoxOffice.com predicted $23 million.

The scary movie is on track to exceed even that. With a $16.9 million opening Friday, "The Devil Inside" could close the weekend with nearly $40 million.

posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:14 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, now we know Satan is real.
posted by Artw at 7:19 PM on January 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


I have to say for the record that, as a pretty serious horror dude, I can see how people were duped and sympathize because that commercial is fucking scary. Apparently they are surrounded by total garbage, but the thirty seconds of the film they show in the ads are gold.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:22 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


YGBM
posted by Shit Parade at 7:25 PM on January 7, 2012


No moviefone, you may not use my current location.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:25 PM on January 7, 2012 [22 favorites]


Scary movies have a much better shot at being moneymakers. You can make a decent one for cheap. They never need a star, because the genre itself is the star. And people buy tickets for them in the hope that they'll know exactly what they'll get - a few suspenseful "boo" scares.

What makes me really sad is that crap like The Devil Inside becomes a huge hit, whereas more clever movies like Slither tank at the box office.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:29 PM on January 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Was terrible. As Artw says, no ending. Copious booing.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:30 PM on January 7, 2012


Scary movies have a much better shot at being moneymakers. You can make a decent one for cheap.

Not really... do you have any idea how many indy B horror movies are made every year that don't make millions of dollars? Hint: many.
posted by mek at 8:12 PM on January 7, 2012


Related: A Running Diary of 'The Devil Inside' Screening: One of the Most Miserable Nights of My Life, by Mike Ryan. It is hilarious.
7:20 p.m. DJ Juanyto interrupts 'Up All Night' by Drake (featuring Nicki Minaj) to shout, "Let's hear it for Eli Manning!"

7:21 p.m. I'm halfway through my resignation letter.

7:30 p.m. Five men dressed as priests address the audience. Their leader says, "You chose to come here on your own free will." At least for me, this is not true.

7:30 p.m. He continues: "I do not endorse you seeing this movie." Something tells me I'll be saying the same thing in two hours.

7:34 p.m. DJ Juanyto states, "I'm going to shut up now, the movie is about to start." DJ Juanyto just received his biggest round of applause for the evening.

...

8:35 p.m. I wish I were watching 'Star Wars.'

8:36 p.m. Apparently a person can catch a demon from a possessed person. Like catching a cold, or syphilis.

8:45 p.m. Demon-possessed priest with a gun alert!

8:55 p.m. OK, now that's an abrupt ending.

8:55 p.m. The audience is booing. They are booing very loudly. I must note: the audience just saw this movie for free.


posted by zarq at 8:15 PM on January 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


They have learned the lessons of Bay and Bruckheimer well.

Gratuitous slow-mo explosions?
posted by zarq at 8:18 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


And there was a time in this country...People wrote books and movies, movies that had stories so you cared whose ass it was and why it was farting, and I believe that time can come again!
posted by birdherder at 8:43 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


So THIS is "The Devil Insibe"? (Note: note a typo; the 'd' in "Inside" in movie ads is reversed.)

Here in Brunswick, GA, oddly, there are a handful of electronic billboards. These are like regular billboards, except they're actually giant video monitors, and every fifteen seconds they change their ad, presumably on the grounds that those intersections don't have enough accidents.

The kinds of ads that get shown on these boards are usually local restaurants, local real estate deals, local tax preparation, local local local. Imagine how surprised I was to see that red poster with the angry-looking nun on it. "Is this a movie," I was thinking, "or is some church holding a revival and wants to give it the air of glamour?" I think I'd respect it better if it had been the latter.
posted by JHarris at 8:51 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read that whole thing just to understand what an "obsessive chat" is. I still don't get it.

It's just like a regular chat except it's between people who are, or think they ought to be, important.
posted by scalefree at 8:58 PM on January 7, 2012


I have to say for the record that, as a pretty serious horror dude, I can see how people were duped and sympathize because that commercial is fucking scary.

I thought it looked hilariously bad from the trailer. Being a very lapsed Catholic, exorcism movies don't work for me on any level. The whole idea behind it is silly. The only reason the original The Exorcist works for me is that for at least part of the movie, it seems to be about more than exorcism, but once it gets to the 'spitting pea soup' part of it, it goes off the rails.

If you're going to scare me, you have to do it with something other than demons and bible quotes.
posted by empath at 9:11 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really need to know if the Vatican endorses something before I buy it. It should be on nutrition labels, just under the ingredient list
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


See, a Vatican Warning could be a sign of quality, though. Like a Good Housekeeping Seal, only in reverse.

Non-Endorsement = Worth Watching.

"In Christ's Name, We Forbid It" = Must See TV

'YOUR IMMORTAL SOUL WILL BE BANISHED TO HELL" = Perfect Christmas Gifts for Grandma.
posted by zarq at 10:52 PM on January 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't know where she got it from, but a co-worker of mine used to call that phenomenon the "opposite barometer". I heard of it because a friend of mine was, for example, really into Yanni and wanted to go see Johnny Mnemonic instead of Braveheart.
posted by LionIndex at 11:04 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hadn't heard anything about this movie except one little ad on Pandora the other day billing it as "the film the Vatican doesn't want you to see" or something very close to that. And it struck me that, I dunno, that probably worked out pretty well for The Exorcist's marketing back in the day, but it feels like we're not really in a Ooh The Church Is Spooky cultural place so much these days. It's more a tagline for an expose about child sexual abuse than a horror flick at this point.

"Because they were desperate to sell their shitty movie" goes along way toward explaining the reasoning behind the choice, though.
posted by cortex at 11:25 PM on January 7, 2012


> "the film the Vatican doesn't want you to see" or something very close to that. And it struck me that, I dunno, that probably worked out pretty well for The Exorcist's marketing back in the day

As an aside, the Catholic Church supported the making of The Exorcist—at least according to Friedkin and Blatty—and, in fact, the character of Father Dyer was even played by real life Jesuit priest William O'Malley. In Friedkin's words, "The leaders of the Catholic Church endorsed The Exorcist; virtually promoted it as much as they could. The Cardinals of New York and Los Angeles and Chicago and the other big cities, all over the world, they endorsed it because it represents a literal depiction of the Roman ritual of exorcism which still exists in the Catholic faith. It's still there. The power of faith to drive out demons. And this film showed that and they embraced it."

As for The Devil Inside, I'm disappointed to hear that it sucks, because I fricking love an exorcism movie. I dunno why, but as an atheist I'm a complete sucker for Catholic Horror.
posted by hot soup girl at 12:52 AM on January 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was exorcized when I was two (had a nasty case of foot-mouth-demon disease), and I found the movie to be pretty accurate.
posted by LordSludge at 1:39 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re the DJ, back in the day I used to go to a local arts cinema and they would play themes from related films before the movie. It seemed to work pretty well. Then again it wasn't to hype up the audience but to fill the dead air while people wandered in because they did not have too many ads / trailers to show.

Oh and a classic recent 'terrible terrible movie having a great trailer put together from the few interesting shots and cool lines in the film plus pull lines from friends' reviews' was Bellpepper. That film is shite.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:42 AM on January 8, 2012


This

Scary movies have a much better shot at being moneymakers. You can make a decent one for cheap.

is not refuted by this.

Not really... do you have any idea how many indy B horror movies are made every year that don't make millions of dollars? Hint: many.

The first statement did not claim that all low budget horror movies make millions, just that they have a better shot at making money. I was also supported by a number of arguments I've heard before and believe are commonly held views. If those views are, in fact, incorrect, I'd be much more interested in hearing why that's so than in this attempt at simple rebuttal.
posted by howfar at 5:03 AM on January 8, 2012


As for The Devil Inside, I'm disappointed to hear that it sucks, because I fricking love an exorcism movie. I dunno why, but as an atheist I'm a complete sucker for Catholic Horror.

After reading the His Dark Materials series, my working theory is that atheists write the best religious fiction of all. Maybe there weren't enough of them working on this movie.
posted by emjaybee at 6:32 AM on January 8, 2012


Oh and a classic recent 'terrible terrible movie having a great trailer put together from the few interesting shots and cool lines in the film plus pull lines from friends' reviews' was Bellpepper. That film is shite.

Sorry that should have been Bellflower... dyslexic brain playing tricks again. I'm sure if they had called it Bellpepper it would have been a lot better.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:01 AM on January 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought it looked hilariously bad from the trailer. Being a very lapsed Catholic, exorcism movies don't work for me on any level. The whole idea behind it is silly. The only reason the original The Exorcist works for me is that for at least part of the movie, it seems to be about more than exorcism, but once it gets to the 'spitting pea soup' part of it, it goes off the rails.

If you're going to scare me, you have to do it with something other than demons and bible quotes.


What disturbs me about the cinematic notion of possession is less about religion and more about insanity; the idea of a person being out of control of their actions really freaks me out, as does the idea of a person being somehow mentally damaged (and of course mental illness is, um, often "confused" for possession). I suppose that on some level when I see a woman trying to communicate with her possessed mother, who seems incapable of speech or really any meaningful communication but who can stare back at her child with the eyes of a trapped animal, what's really coming across to me is not a fear of the devil, but of Alzheimer's Syndrome. The person you love is there but not there.

Oh and a classic recent 'terrible terrible movie having a great trailer put together from the few interesting shots and cool lines in the film plus pull lines from friends' reviews' was Bellpepper. That film is shite.

Oh, it is not. It's a great ride until it stops and you're like, What the fuck was that? On a story level it's pretty weak sauce, but it's terrific on a pure cinema level.

The first statement did not claim that all low budget horror movies make millions, just that they have a better shot at making money. I was also supported by a number of arguments I've heard before and believe are commonly held views. If those views are, in fact, incorrect, I'd be much more interested in hearing why that's so than in this attempt at simple rebuttal.

It's not incorrect, but it's a little incomplete. The Devil Inside may well make back its budget forty times over this weekend, but it cost a lot more than a million dollars to make the movie a hit. I don't watch that much television, but I managed to see the commercial for The Devil Inside at least two dozen times from Christmas week to now. I'm not saying that every low-budget horror film would make forty million dollars in its first weekend if that kind of money were spent on promoting it (it wouldn't even be possible to thus promote every low-budget horror movie, anyway; there are too many of them), but certainly more would. So basically, yeah, a super-cheap genre movie can make a fortune (if people want to see it, of course) if you lavish enormous sums of money on making people aware that your film exists.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:16 AM on January 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wonder if the found footage format is just thoroughly played out now, and all its associated tricks and gimics just to familiar to work well - and lets face it, there's only about four of them so they get old fast - ooh, spooky noise, ooh, they've dropped the camera and run off. Hell, with Apollo 18 it now has its own "...in space", which is the end point of any horror franchise.

Then I remember [rec], which was great despite all that.
posted by Artw at 7:36 AM on January 8, 2012


BELLPEPPER is the hipster version of Rollerball, with inaudiable dialogue.
posted by Artw at 7:37 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, it is not. It's a great ride until it stops and you're like, What the fuck was that? On a story level it's pretty weak sauce, but it's terrific on a pure cinema level.

Well obviously you saw something I did not... as in the running diary linked but instead of Star Wars, about halfway I thought I'd rather be watching Mad Max... even Mad Max 3
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:59 AM on January 8, 2012


now has its own "...in space", which is the end point of any horror franchise

I want them to do the 'historical origin story' ... "My god, look at these sketches / hieroglyphics / cave paintings!"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:01 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


As an aside, the Catholic Church supported the making of The Exorcist—at least according to Friedkin and Blatty—and, in fact, the character of Father Dyer was even played by real life Jesuit priest William O'Malley.

Interesting! I wasn't around when the film originally came out, so my assumptions are showing there; maybe I'll read up a bit on the marketing and religious/political context of the film's release now. Thanks for the clarification.
posted by cortex at 8:09 AM on January 8, 2012


about halfway I thought I'd rather be watching Mad Max... even Mad Max 3

Oh, can't we just get beyond Thunderdome?
posted by gern at 8:17 AM on January 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Blair Witch in da Hood should, logically, be next after Blair Witch in Space.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on January 8, 2012


I'd watch Blair Witch In Da Hood in an instant... the only problem is they would get mugged for their cameras five mins in (not hoodist!)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:26 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh and is anyone still keeping up with Marble Hornets? I kinda lost interest when they started mucking around with the time frame and doing found footage within found footage and I lost all track of what the hell was supposed to going on
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:30 AM on January 8, 2012


Blair Witch in Da Hood gets about five minutes in with the first camera crew, who get mugged for their equipment. Some confused footage follows, as the camera and gets traded repeatedly, and then ends up in the hands of the protagonist, an aspiring young filmmaker...

And we have an Attack The Block/Blair Witch mashup.

I'm so glad I'm not in movies. I'd be so sleazy.
posted by MrVisible at 8:44 AM on January 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's not a bad setup for an early switcheroo, at least. Especially if those first five minutes come off as really hokily naive and hamhanded: like exactly the sort of inept satire of a found-footage movie you'd expect, broadcasting strong "this is not even going to be passably credible as a take on the genre" vibes before the mugging totally cuts through the atmosphere so far and resets the film.

One of the things I like about the found footage genre is the way we've seen people have to futz around with justifications for the footage. Blair Witch got a free cop for being first to market for the modern wave of films (or at least first wildly successfully to market, I'd be shocked if other people weren't playing with the idea as well but I'm not any sort of avid student of the history of the genre) but it feels like every first writing session for these must pretty much start with "where do they get the cameras?" I'd love to see someone do a proper writeup on all the different premises of these films.

I was watching Paranormal Activity 2 the other night, which was actually a totally decent sequel in that if you liked the original you'll probably like this and for similar reasons. And it was a totally okay found-footage domestic horror flick, nothing special but nothing really terribly wrong with it either. And it was fun watching it as much as anything as a study in how the folks making it were operating in the context of other found footage films and what sort of red herrings they were throwing around, which of Chekov's guns actually ever went off, etc.

One interesting thing about PA2 is that unlike the classic Blair Witch shakycam fest it's shot almost entirely in static security camera shots—the film opens with camcorders but an early domestic incident spurs the homeowning protagonists to install a big handful of wide-angle, mic-equipped cameras around the inside and outside of the house, and it's those static shots that handle most of the screen footage for the rest of the film though shakycam shows up in bits and pieces and then a bit more so at key climactic points.

And so what you get is less of the whip-pan bad-focus disorientation stuff of notional amateur filmographers in a panic and instead these looming, visually dull but dramatically tense long shots of rooms with people or dogs or maybe nothing in them. And instead of trying to keep up with the orientation of the camera, you're playing a kind of Highlights "Spot The Differences" puzzle where out of everything in each static shot you're trying to figure out where the tell is, where the weird thing is going to happen, if there's even going to be a weird thing in this shot because these sequences tend to start with a slow rotation through various security cams before settling on some actual meat.

The film is effective at times and not so much at other times and I feel like they set up some interesting visual opportunities that they never actually exploited (the baby's room is all mirrors on frame left and has a door to the bathroom in frame center with visible mirrors inside, effectively expanding the visual field of the room itself by reflecting stuff that is out of frame, but this gets nearly zero use in the film), but all in all it was interesting as an exercise that was very different in feel from the shakycam approach.
posted by cortex at 9:03 AM on January 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I liked the bits in Cloverfield where we saw what was on the tape earlier in the gaps between the footage, even though I'm pretty sure digital cameras don't actually work like that.
posted by dng at 9:20 AM on January 8, 2012


I like the bits in cloverfield where they really make you hate everyone, and then obligingly kill them all off in horrible ways.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on January 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


BTW, though the Blair Witch in Space premise may sound good Apollo 18 is in fact dull as hell. Probably Vatican approved too.
posted by Artw at 10:10 AM on January 8, 2012


Wow, looks like I have to block the entire moviefone site from my computer. Fuck you, autoplays.
posted by Theta States at 10:16 AM on January 8, 2012


> I like the bits in cloverfield where they really make you hate everyone, and then obligingly kill them all off in horrible ways.

Cloverfield basically starts out as an episode of Felicity—not the same characters, of course, but different characters in the same universe. One of my favourite thought experiments is to re-imagine the Cloverfield monster attacking a different fictional NYC: Sex and the City, or Seinfeld, or Annie Hall, or Diff'rent Strokes. For example: Alvie Singer and Annie are overlooking Brooklyn Bridge, making adorably neurotic chitchat about Annie's polymorphously perverse kneecaps, and then OOOOHHHHHH SHIT

That sort of thing.
posted by hot soup girl at 10:27 AM on January 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Devil's getting 7% at Rotten Tomatoes. Mmmmmm.
posted by doctornemo at 10:49 AM on January 8, 2012


I'd be shocked if other people weren't playing with the idea as well but I'm not any sort of avid student of the history of the genre

Me neither but I do know The Last Broadcast came out shortly before Blair Witch and is very similar (there's always been some controversy that the creators of Blair stole copied/stole ideas for the making and marketing of their film from Broadcast.) Broadcast, although it has a few interesting bits is much the inferior film, especially the ending.

Then you've got things like Man Bites Dog in the early 90s and Cannibal Holocaust in the 80s. I'm sure there more.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:27 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


hot soup girl - of course, given my theory that My Little Pony is basically the animated version of Sex and the City that would mean the Clovefeild monster attacking Equestrai - actually, it'd fit right in there.
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on January 8, 2012


I liked the bits in Cloverfield where we saw what was on the tape earlier in the gaps between the footage, even though I'm pretty sure digital cameras don't actually work like that.

Yeah, they figured out a pretty ingenious way putting in story "Flashbacks".
posted by cazoo at 5:25 PM on January 8, 2012


Personally, I'm holding out for a Blu-ray release of The Navidson Record.
posted by anthom at 6:35 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I cannot fathom why no one has made a House of Leaves movie, honestly.
posted by empath at 10:04 PM on January 8, 2012


I would very much like to see it done right but it has so much more potential to be done wrong than even a typical book adaptation. Like, Naked Lunch hard and maybe then some.

How do you film an unreliable narrator's written journal of reading through excerpts of a blind old man's written annotations of a fictional documentary film? It's not like there's even questionable documentary footage in the original story, just notes describing it. Film Johnny reading Zapato's notes out loud and emoting? Do flashbacks of Zapato writing his notes? Show re-enactments of the non-existent Navidson footage?

But, sure, have Peter Weller star and Cronenberg direct and I'll totally give it a watch.
posted by cortex at 10:10 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


House Of Leaves should be done by Charlie Kaufman, following the lines of Adaptation. Shot on shakeycam, an intern documents Kaufman's attempts to work on a screenplay for it, and records his rapid descent in to madness while researching the book's contents and scouting locations.
Philip Seymour-Hoffman stars as Charlie's well-meaning agent who also naively supplies Kaufman's meth habit.
something something Mugwumps everywhere.
posted by Theta States at 7:21 AM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, why was there a DJ there? What the hell.
posted by Theta States at 7:21 AM on January 9, 2012


The film of House of Leaves should actually just be a shot-for-shot enactment of The Navidson Record, but with a lot of DVD extras. If you must release it in theaters, you could just extend the documentary using video interviews, but not with anyone who appears in the book; maybe with Mark Z. Danielewski "in character" as one of the editors.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:26 AM on January 9, 2012


I think DJ Jaunyto's job was to get everybody super hyped for a super scary film by playing Monster Mash ahead of time.
posted by cortex at 7:26 AM on January 9, 2012


« Older US Army Pvt. Danny Chen, 1992–2011...  |  "The current economic climate ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments