Friday, 4 July 2008

The Mist lost in a fog of number crunchers

Tonight, hopefully, I will finally get to see Frank Darabont's The Mist. And one question lurks in the equally fog bound no-mans-land of my mind: why has it taken so long for this film to be released in the UK? It came out in the US last October and, while it didn't do too well at the box office, was still able to cultivate a cult following. A lot of people who love movies (geeks like me) rave about it and monster fans like me have been waiting with baited breath / protruding anticipatory eyes to see the damn thing. So why has it taken so long for it to be released, and with relatively little fanfare? The main reason I know it's out today is because Empire published their review of it online at the beginning of this week. I've seen no adverts, no trailers. Nought. Nada.

I'm not a big reader of Stephen King but when I couldn't get to see The Mist I did something I usually never do - I read the book. Great stuff. Full of proper monsters with no explicit explanation. And even though I know what happens now (and yes, I really do know how the film ends - such is what happens when this kind of mess occurs), I still can't wait to see the film.

I just strikes me as sad and defeatist when a movie with obvious genre appeal is released in such a way that suggests that those issuing it seem to have no faith in it. Do they think that they'd rather just release it quietly and hope it goes away, as though to prove a point to those who think it might do some business? It seems odd that a film like this wouldn't be marketed at least a little better. If so, there might be a chance that it would make that little bit more money, which surely is the point from a studio's point of view.

Another consequence of this strategy - if it can be called that - is that this process does the studios absolutely no good in their fight against piracy. If folks want to see it and are denied that by a studio, then of course the thing is going to turn up online. While it will anyway, as is par for the course these days, they are almost giving it away to a portion of people who would rather see it on the big screen as opposed to a wee, grainy screen. While it's not OK to do that, it's idiocy not to realise that this is what happens anyway. Release the thing properly and reduce the need or desire of some to watch it illegally. Hell, it's out on DVD in the US, and can be bought easily and legally online.

But I'm a sucker for the big screen and am looking forward to seeing monsters up there again. I don;t think we see enough monsters on the big screen these days. Yeah, we've had quite a few this year; Cloverfield, Hellboy 2 (which isn't out here yet), Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem (Burn my eyes! Dash them out!); but there's always room for more as far as I'm concerned.

So I end with a question: where are all the British monster movies?

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