Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thoughts on the film: Monsters

I spent five whole days with no Internet save one daily email check. That was weird, yet somehow freeing. I did not go through the amount of withdrawal I expected, probably because I was distracted by snow.

And Monsters. Stepdad got Monsters on Demand Sunday night.

Monsters is an independent film about a man and woman who must cross an infected zone on the Mexico/USA border filled with giant alien creatures in order to get home.

This film was listed as a horror movie, which it 100% is NOT. If anything it's a drama with suspense elements, which makes it a bit of a challenge. It doesn't fit any particular category. The closest thing I could think of was a low budget Close Encounters, but even that doesn't seem right.

I'd seen enough articles about this film that I wasn't really surprised when it wasn't scary, but Stepdad was disappointed. He liked the film, but it wasn't what he intended to watch. He thought he was going to see a horror film, when in fact it was...


...a quiet metaphor for the illegal immigration issue symbolized by peaceful, misunderstood invading aliens who are attacked by military forces.


It was a terrific film. Only the two leads were played by actors - everybody else was a local Mexican, allowed to ad lib the dialogue. And according to Boxoffice Mojo it cost $500,000 to make.

Let me repeat that. $500,000. With big giant beautiful aliens.

So I find this film fascinating. It's called Monsters, and Monsters is the perfect title from an artistic perspective, but if you consider the marketing it's a terrible title. Monsters implies a scary movie, and it's listed under Horror, but someone who loves a movie like Hostel would throw spitballs at the screen if they picked this up thinking those two films belonged anywhere near each other.

It's a film that could only be made outside the studio system because it does not fit neatly into a box. Good thing it was so cheap to make or it would have disappeared into oblivion. As it is, it had trouble in the states finding an audience, and that's a shame. Apparently it got a lot of love in Russia.


  1. Wow. I want to see that!

  2. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Just wondering, why out of 65,000 screenwriters registering with WGA, only a few (10 or less or even less) will direct their spec scripts.

    All these writers should walk their talk. They post on forums and act like hot shit, like they know all shit about filmmaking, but they don't want to direct their scripts and finance it by taking a line of credit or get a visa card. How come Tarantino and Spike Lee and Sopial Coppola and Robert Rodriquez did it? We could all learn from them.

    Sorry for this, just I'm tired of guys not walking their talk and all they do is post and post and post....and can't get off their ass!

    Sorry, I really did not want to say this. But this is screenwriting reality, live on forums.


  3. I directed a short film, and that was enough for me to know I'm not a director. I'm a writer, so I write. If I wanted to be a director, I'd direct.

    Tarantino and Spike Lee and Sophia Coppola are directors. Tarntino is the only one of those you think of as a writer first, and that's because he wrote for a while before he ever directed anything.

    If you want to direct, go for it. It's hard work, but if it's for you that's awesome. It's not for everyone. And I'd rather see a great screenplay in the hands of a great director than see a writer poorly direct something they wrote out of some sense of obligation.

    There are many routes into this industry, directing your own work is one of them. Writing one great calling card screenplay is another.

  4. Big giant beautiful aliens sounds like a whole lot of fun. We did movies on christmas eve, first Mushi-shi (not seen by anyone, kid friendly at outset, and quite an unusual experience) (stands on its own, but do see orig anime if only see one), and then, because can any holiday be complete without the jingang warriors, shaolin intruders (those shaw bros sure knew how to have a good time). Darling wants a personal brass section, me, I'd love a personal wall of warriors doing fancy acrobatics.

  5. Oooh it could be like The Indian in the Cupboard - tiny little warriors fighting all the time on a shelf.


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