Saturn's in Retrograde
2, Issue 10
February 1, 2000
beginning of the film, one of the characters, reading out of a
tattered astrology book, tells the others that Saturn is in retrograde
and must therefore be considered an evil influence on the workings
of the universe. It is a sign, like the watch hanging from a tree
driven through by a nail the viewer glimpses minutes before the
killing starts, a symbol of the unseen, unknowable forces that
constantly threaten to overwhelm us all. The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre, by situating a disturbingly tactile evil within
the mundane space of a summer day, made horror films dangerously
step came with the wave of Italian cannibal movies in the 1970s
that focused on realistically trying to portray atrocity, the
art of these films being one of camouflage. Perhaps
the best example of this obsession with objectively
presenting nightmare is Ruggero Deodatos Cannibal Holocaust
(1979), a work that wonderfully summed up the genres bizarre
self-awareness by centering the story around an academics
journey into the Amazon to find the remains of a Western film
crew that was devoured by cannibals. In many ways, Cannibal
Holocaust is the direct precursor to another far more recent
horror work that tries to completely hide its structure within
a blur of fuzzy, washed out chaos, The Blair Witch Project.
Myrick and Eduardo Sanchezs film (a piece that has taken
on a resonance that these two slightly foolish guys probably couldnt
have planned) is a ground breaking horror work because, as Michael
Atkinson writes, its a radical act, withholding information
and contriving to be without control over its own visual narrative.
What we are witnessing while watching Blair Witch is footage
from the front lines of the breakdown of the rational universe.
News is that now Blair Witch is going to get the video
game treatment from the gang at Terminal Reality, and although
the idea of a game based on the film leaves me feeling very wary,
after watching the brilliant cinematics for the companys
most recent game Nocturne I am sure that if anyone can
pull it off, Terminal Reality can.
am the bloody top of the food chain - Nocturne
of Nocturne is one of the finest video game pieces that
I have watched during my time at loonygames, ranking up there,
in my estimation, with Fallout
2 and Wipeout
III as an example of the heights of artistic achievement
that this fledgling medium can attain. Nocturne takes the
tradition of realist horror and sculpts it quite eloquently to
video game dimensions.
scene opens, two policemen search through a field of tall grass,
the cut of their uniforms indicating that we are watching newsreel
footage taken years ago, perhaps in the 1920s or 30s.
Suddenly a struggle breaks out, and the camera is shoved away...cut
to a womans body lying covered by spider web laced dirt
and patches of forest shadow. It seems that the strange earth
is giving up her hoarded dead as we see a frantically cataloged
series of blood impatterned bodies lying scattered across a curiously
empty landscape. And night is falling.