There’s a saying – if something seems like a bad idea, then it usually is. Unless it’s not.
recently I found myself trying to explain ‘The Hunger Games’ to a friend, who really didn’t get it at all.
‘Riiiight,’ she said, ‘So it’s like Big Brother with swords and stuff?’
Which, I suppose, is close enough for the general population to get it. But it got me thinking about how we explain things to other people, and how that can make those books (or movies, or whatever) sound better or worse than they are.
There is the old Hollywood trick of comparing something to something else, but with a twist. The classic example being the 1970’s horror movie ‘Night of the Lepus’ which was pitched as ‘Jaws, with rabbits.’
No, I’m not shitting you. You can watch the whole thing for free on Youtube, if you are so inclined, although I’d have a couple of beers first. For anyone not willing to face it, you can just check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIsI7CwjH3M
It got me thinking about how I would describe my new book, which ended up being ‘Adventures in Babysitting meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’
Give it a go for your own books and see what you come up with.
On the other side of that are the ideas that are so….so! That they just can’t be compared to anything else. Those are the ideas where you seriously wonder if EVERYONE involved was drunk for the whole duration. Bizarrely, those sort of ideas tend to come up in movies more often than books, and two specifically come to mind – The 1977 oddity that is ‘Death Bed’ – a bed that eats people, comes to mind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8Y0NmZwZZY
The bizarre thing is that, even though the idea is just….eh? It was remade in 2002 as ‘Deathbed’ (yeah, they really went out of their way with the creativity on that one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60ghN5qk7uo) but the weird thing is, the more you think about it, the more sense it makes. I mean, lots of people die in bed, right? So the idea that a bed can be haunted or possessed isn’t really that strange. Still, I’d have liked to have sat in on the production meeting for that one.
The other example that I just can’t get my head around is 2007’s ‘Teeth’ – which I’ve witnessed being discussed in an academic context, with the film being seen as a forecast of mankind’s extinction through their own actions, an anti-rape message and an exploration of traditional moral values in modern society.
While that may well be so, (and who am I to argue?) I just can’t past the fact that it’s a girl with teeth in her Va-J.J.
Anyway, the moral of today’s message is this – some ideas sound shit when you say them out loud, and some sound amazing. But neither is definitely the case.