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Horror: Munnster Movie

insanitariumIt’s not something that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, but now that I’ve thought about it, I can’t understand why it isn’t something that I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about before. Maybe it breaks down to something as simple as ‘sexy sells’, or maybe it goes to something deeper, something primal? Maybe the reason that we like to see hot girlies being chased about by monsters and psychos is because it sparks some kind of instinctive desire to protect them, therefore enhancing the impact that their inevitable, post-ankle-twistage, mutilation brings to the film?

Or, more likely, we just like to see them running in the first place.

Whatever the case, the best horror movies have always stuck with that necessary ingredient. And while the motivation behind hot-chick-horror-casting seems to be pretty consistent, much like movies themselves, the end results can be quite varied: For every noteworthy (or even simply respectable) performance by a Melissa George, or an Elisa Dushku, or a Neve Campbell, or an Ali Larter, or a few Sarah Michelle Gellars, there are a countless number of Paris Hiltons, and an infinite number of nameless, rapidly forgotten, generally poor performances by those women cast only for their physical appearance.

The question is what side of the list will Olivia Munn land? Although, I suspect for some the first question is “Who the hell is Olivia Munn?”.

Olivia Munn first came to my attention when she replaced Sarah Lane as co-host of G4TV’s pop-culture / gadget / movie / internet oriented, ATTACK OF THE SHOW [seen in Australia on Foxtel’s Fuel TV]. My initial impression was that she’s obviously gorgeous, but she was a little too awkward on camera and seemed far too rigid for ATOS, especially alongside the show’s extremely natural co-host, Kevin Pereira.

However she quickly found her feet and over the last couple of years the dynamic between her and Kevin has kept me amused to the point that AOTS is one of the few shows that I make an effort to watch on a daily basis… and it doesn’t hurt that she’s still gorgeous.

So, how does Olivia factor in to all that horror movie talk from earlier? Well, next month the horror-thriller INSANITARIUM will hit DVD shelves and, as you may have guessed, Olivia is in it!

The film, which stars Jesse Metcalfe, has all the ingredients for a shlock-horror-fest. Jack Romero’s (Metcalfe) sister is involuntarily committed to an institution and, after finding himself unable to gain access to visit her, Jack fakes his way into the asylum in an effort to break his sister out. However he soon discovers that one of the resident doctors is performing experiments on the patients, experiments which turn the patients into flesh-eating psychopaths! AWESOME! It’s at this point that Jack realises that mental institutions aren’t the easiest of places to escape from.

Fangoria’s Sean Decker recently reviewed Insanitarium and seemed to think that it deserved more than a direct to DVD release. He also speaks highly of writer / director Jeff Buhler’s efforts and, after poetically describing the practical gore effects of the film, notes: INSANITARIUM absolutely runs red. For me though, I’ll be checking it out to see what sort of performance Olivia (who also has a role in the upcoming Broken Lizard film, THE SLAMIN’ SALMON), delivers. [source] [source]

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    I must admit that nothing beats the horror/boobies combination.

    Even Alfred Hichcock – the God of thriller directors – recoginised that it was a winning combination with the now famous psycho shower scene. Even in black and white, nothing beats it for class.

    Having said that, horror or no horror; nothing beats boobies!!

  • Right you are there Macca. The thing is though that we live in a world where it’s a challenge to actually avoid titillation. I mean, a simple google image search on a seemingly innocuous subject inevitably results in a barrage of sexually provocative content… not that I’m complaining!

    My point is though that I’m really not that interested in sitting through a pathetic attempt at acting from an ‘actor’ (of any gender) who is there purely for their appearance.

  • Point taken.

    unfortunately, appearances, in the celluloid world, are just about everything.

    With marketing as hot as it is in the celluliod world, body appearance is everything, no matter who you are.

    Was that an Audi that Iron man was tossing around in the movie previews?… All he needs now is a set of norks and he’d be perfect!

  • Don’t get me wrong Macca. I completely understand the whole dollar factor and I’m not for a second suggesting that ugly people be given preference for a role (unless of course the script calls for an ugly person). In fact I’m all for the hotties! I’m just saying, that there are hotties out there who CAN act – so why the hell should we stand for some cardboard eye candy occupying the screen when we could instead have someone just as hot, but far more talented.

    I mean, if all I want is pretty meat, I can find that online anytime I like. But if I’m actually looking to be entertained… well, then JUST pretty don’t cut it.

    Same goes for that Audi. I mean, I know Marvel had a lot riding on Iron Man and needed to make a few deals to help things along. But had they used the Audi in a sequence which called for a Prime-mover then I’d have been pissed off. Sure Tony Stark drives an Audi and gets to throw a few around… but none of them are used in such a way that it detracts from the film… you know, the way a hot chick who can’t act does!

    BTW, none of this is directed at Olivia Munn, I have no idea if she can act or not – but here’s hoping.

  • I must admit that i had my ‘B-Grade’ movie hat on when referring to my gratuitous love of norks. I don’t care who’s shaking them as long as they are moving.

    Light hearted moment aside; Most young starlets who get their first go at the big time have their names listed in the credits as ‘topless girl #1’ or ‘naked screaming girl #3’. Jaimee Lee Curtis comes immediately to mind. Now here is an actress who deserves all credit for her acting ability. She has pulled off dramatic, comedy and action with great aplomb. I take my hat off to her. However, she first had to take off her top to get noticed.

    And here in lies the problem. The role calls for a well proportioned actress with a healthy set of lungs. I mean for screaming (Jaimee is known as ‘the Scream Queen’). Little or no acting is required. Just look innocently sexy, then stupid, then terrified, and then die horribly. No Shakespear required. Even if you can carry off a tear moving Ophelia. Just not needed.

    Having said that, for every girl (or guy… my wife reminds me gently of Brad Pitt’s 6-pack in ‘Thelma and Louise’) there are a stack of starving actors who fall by the way. That is not to say they aren’t tallented – just not recognised at that particular moment.

    So it doesn’t mean that Olivia Munn CAN’T act; just that the role might not require Shakespear.

  • I completely agree Macca. The thing is that while a role may not call for a Shakespearian performance, even a scream and a jiggle should be delivered in such a way that it fits the context of the film. Especially when it’s in a horror movie (b-grade or otherwise).

    If the characters in a horror film don’t come across as being genuinely scared or whatever implausible creature is after them, then me — sitting in my completely-plausible cinema seat, or on my entirely-grounded-in-reality couch — is going to have an extremely hard time going along on the ride that the movie is attempting to take me on.

    Oh, and tell Mrs Macca that her Brad Pitt argument is actually supporting my view! Abs and all, the guy performed the part of an asshole perfectly. Yeah, he was there as eye candy for the ladies. but he also played the part with a believable performance.

    Of course I agree with what you’re saying – It is how it is. But my point is that how it is isn’t how it should be. Even when a role REQUIRES someone have no acting ability, the right person for the role is someone who can act like they can’t!

  • Moral of the story is, if you are cast to be terrified, scream and then die a horrible death whilst shaking the ta-tas, make sure that you are professional, skilled and up to the task (no matter what the credits carrying your name may say) because you never know… you may just be the next Jaimee Lee Curtis.

  • Couldn’t have put it better myself Macca.

    Oh, and by the way, I was looking at some stats the other day and you’re closing fast on being the 3rd highest commenter on this site Macca! Unless Furious has a sudden bout of ‘being involved’ the title will be yours soon enough!

  • Wow! And all this without even really trying!

    In keeping with the theme of the current topic; is there a boobie prize?

  • The pictures of Olivia weren’t enough?

    can’t talk – off to see IJ4

  • Get a room you two.