Saturday, April 23, 2005

Movies, Censorship, New Comics

I watched the original Jeepers Creepers about a year ago on TV, and now I got to see the sequel on STAR Movies.  The two movies have an interesting concept — the Creeper is a creature that awakens once every 23 years, and it feeds on humans for 23 days before it goes to sleep again.  It can smell fear in its victims, and chooses what parts to eat and "absorb" into its own body.

In the first movie, the Creeper menaced a brother and sister.  The sequel is set a few days after the events in the first film, in fact, on Day 22 of the Creeper's feeding period (apparently, apart from setting the sequel 23 years in the future, which studios would not appreciate, this was the only route available to the filmmakers).  A bus transporting a high-school basketball team breaks down on a deserted highway, and the Creeper is hungry for their flesh.  Although the story and characters aren't really developed that much, the movie worked as it built suspense very well, and took full advantage of its setting (deserted road, near cornfields).  It is written and directed by Victor Salva.  Of course, this TV version (like most TV versions of horror movies) is censored for language and possibly some of the gore as well.

On a related note, STAR Movies recently showed Evil Dead II.  I would like to warn people who are planning to watch it on this channel, that it is a HEAVILY CUT version.  This, inspite of the fact that they have certified it as being suitable only for viewers of 18 and above.

A bit of history would make things clearer.  From the time STAR Movies started operations, they have had this practice of classifying films as G, PG, 12, 15 or 18 (closely based on the BBFC's system).  In early years (up to 1995 or so), these ratings had a purpose, and they fairly well suited the films they were attached to.  After 1995/1996, the channel started showing censored versions of movies, so the ratings had no relevance.  You never get to see anything rated '18' on this channel anymore.

Which is what annoyed me with their version of Evil Dead II.  When they showed that '18' rating before the film, I almost expected them to show an uncut version — but what I got was a version that was so badly cut, that it would be even tamer than something rated '15'!  The possessed Linda dance scene is totally missing, therefore, there is no headless-corpse-with-chainsaw scene in the cabin, the shot of Ash actually stabbing his possessed hand is cut, and it was somewhere here that I stopped watching the movie.

You would be better off if you watched the movie on some other channel, or rented a CD.  Again, if you are lucky, the CD that you rent might contain an uncut version of the film — if you aren't so lucky and if it is an Indian 'Diskovery Video' version, then that is slightly cut as well.

Now to change topic, I got to read the complete The Dark Knight Returns today.  I had read books 2 and 4 earlier, now I read the other two books.  The story broadly covers the return of the Batman, ten years after his 'retirement'.  As he's now 55 years old, he is no longer the fit crimefighting hero that he was earlier, and in fact he is portrayed as an obsessed, tormented, raging figure.  Frank Miller's story covers various themes, such as how the Batman is now viewed as a genuine menace to Gotham City's public in general, the role of the media, etc.  The books are pretty nightmarish in tone and I definitely think that they are suitable for mature readers only.  In India though, publishers Gotham Comics are selling this four-part series as just another Batman story.

Yesterday, I searched for Spider-Man India on Google, and found the following reviews for the four-part series — this one from, and this.  Apparently it came out long ago in the US, Marvel Comics is coming out with a collected edition also.  The funny thing is that I never saw it in shops here.  I tried getting the books in Manipal and in Hyderabad, to no avail.  You'd think that the books would be aggressively marketed in India, but I unfortunately never got to see the books.  Other titles published by Gotham Comics have advertisements asking you to order a Special Collector's Edition of Spider-Man India #1 for Rs. 195.  Considering that regular Gotham Comics titles are sold at Rs. 15 and Rs. 25, I think that's a pretty high price for just one issue.  Anyway, I hope I will get to read them sometime.


At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude can plz tell where got the Dark knight Returns novel from?


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