Episode 174: Werewolf Movies

5 Oct


In this episode, Tyler is joined by author Andrew Klavan to discuss werewolf movies.

00:00:44- Intro, Andrew Klavan, The Great Good Thing
00:09:10- Andrew’s career, the Christian attitude towards art

00:24:20- Werewolf Cop
00:28:30- Werewolf movies
01:08:10- Episode wrap-up

3 Responses to “Episode 174: Werewolf Movies”

  1. Disappointed Leftie October 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Preamble: I know I am an atheist, secular left-wing bleeding heart bla bla bla and this is a Christian conservative show, and it’s not my place to suggest to the person who actually puts the effort in what the content should be. That being said, I felt disappointed by this episode in ways that I had not felt previously. I generally regard the show as from a point of a view I don’t necessarily identify with, but enjoy hearing for pluralistic reasons, and this episode left me feeling insulted.

    1. “leftists are good at culture, not at facts, they don’t understand politics and that’s why they shut speakers down…” – I do recognize that “no-platforming” is a ridiculous thing a lot of young people believe in nowadays, but I take exception to that being expressed as a general characteristic of “leftists.” I would not have listened to 100+ episodes of this podcast if I just wanted to shut down anything that doesn’t match my echo chamber.

    2. “feminism doesn’t want to embrace the masculine virtues of a 300 type movie, they only want men as passive and meek, etc.” – I regard this as just propaganda. Feminism, just as a concept is so broad and contains so many strains it’s ridiculous to ascribe a single moral outlook like this to a whole group of philosophies. There are, in fact, feminists who embrace the virtues presented by a movie like 300 and reject that they are gendered masculine values, the type of feminists who want equal draft conscription for women and front line combat roles, etc. I know you tend to believe in more masculine essentialist points of view, and I’m not saying you have to believe what people like me do, but I’m not used to the politics of the show painting with such a broad brush.

    3. “The Marquis de Sade is the only honest atheist, etc.” spiel – As an atheist I found this pretty insulting. You have to recognize, looking at the real world, that most atheists are not like de Sade or Ayn Rand pursuing their own selfish self-interest above all else and throwing morality to the wind, right? (In the sense of exploiting people, stealing, killing, I mean, not the more spiritual tenets of morality.)

    4. The discussion of free will, or the idea that Sam Harris’ views represent any sort of popular intellectual view, and equating that to Stephen Pinker – Harris is a demagogue and believes in the extreme version of things because that’s the sort of person he is. Pinker, and other major cognitive scientists do not believe in mechanistic determinism, they believe in a philosophical position called “compatibilism” which I think this show did a disservice in equating with Harris’ view of the world. It’s a very difficult topic to get your head around, and subtle in many places where the “new atheists” like Harris and Daniel Dennett are not subtle. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy link: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/ – Again, I am not saying you have to believe this, and are free to think it’s ridiculous academic blather, but it does mean there are people in the world who believe a thing that is neither truly libertarian free will like you believe in, or “we are all machines” type determinism

    5. The idea that all vampires become Twilight as secular society only thinks of vampires as sexy and cool – I’m going to try to word this carefully, because I don’t want to belittle any religion. You know how types of horror have “rules” like vampires, werewolves, slashers as deconstructed in “Scream” and so on? Even as a totally secular person, it is not beyond me to understand the types of Christian “rules” that are necessary for understanding those types of stories. I might not appreciate them as a believer would, but I can appreciate what is said and how the “universe works” when I read Dante, John Milton, Tolkien, CS Lewis. I can also understand the religious presumptions of stories from other religions, like what you have to keep in mind when hearing a story based on Buddhist values. I found the implication that I could only regard real monsters worthy of damnation like Jacob or Edward because I don’t believe in those values a weird thing to say. It’s not possible to grow up in Western society and being interested in narrative arts without knowing a ton of Bible references, Christian or Jewish or atheist.

    In conclusion, I hope I have gotten across politely that I am not opposed to Christian conservative content on this podcast, but that I do appreciate the usual intellectual honesty and appreciation for common humanity I have heard in the past, even when the host comments on some particularly annoying group of liberals (who do exist in a number of varieties.) I felt this particular episode ditched the usual approach in favor of simplified “gotcha” type talking points against some things I believe in, condensing groups with a number of different strains into the one that is most politically advantageous to attack. I’m sure you don’t like when people on the left lump all attacks against all kinds of conservatives together, even if they aren’t necessarily tied together, right? (i.e., attack social conservatives on gun nut points or libertarian points or neoconservative points, like there is only one sort of “Republican” or “conservative” that embodies everything at one time)

  2. Todd Coleman October 6, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    As a Christian filmmaker who had a horror short on HBO many decades ago, I’m very glad to have stumbled on this blog, which I enjoyed very much, including the thoughtful comment by Disappointed Lefty. Thank you.

  3. David October 7, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    1. I’m delighted that you have reevaluated Rope, which is under-appreciated just as a film, if sometimes honestly so. It seems to be dismissed mostly by those who were aware of the gimmick before seeing it. Those who don’t know seem to just enjoy Rope as a film, even if they catch on at some point. I think that if you *do* know how it was made, its use of the technique should be applauded, especially when compared with other films and the rare television episodes also shot to be this way, an ER and an X-Files episode coming to mind. With Rope, it would be hard to find a screencap that didn’t look like a properly set up shot for a normally made feature. The camera always ends up right where it should, and little composition feels odd as it transitions as well. It would also be hard to pull a clip which illustrated the flaws of the experiment by showing a full action which would otherwise be cut down. In both of the cited TV episodes there are long stretches of unsuspenseful walking, but Rope is taut (…sorry). Not a moment is wasted. The four hard cuts work for it too. The first takes us inside the apartment after the credits, as any normal film might do. The second, about 20 minutes in, is invisible, perpetuating the hiddenness of the technique for a little longer. The third is a breathtaking cut, from a conversation observed as a normal camera would, jumping to a medium on Stewart right after Phillip’s nervousness reveals itself to him. The chatter continues, but we’re only seeing him as he turns his head slightly to closely watch Phillip. Since the set is also used so well, we know exactly who he’s looking at off camera. It holds for 40 or so seconds, just on Stewart. It’s even more effective then it is obvious.

    It’s biggest distraction comes in the soft cuts, between camera reels in the middle of each projected reel – roughly 10 minutes into each set of 20 minutes – when Hitch blackens the frame with a passing jacket or something. These are unnatural in general, and he might have prepared us by having a few other people pass close by the lens in advance, so the telltale one would be less so. It also doesn’t help (or becomes funny after a few viewings) that the energy levels get a boost every 10 minutes, more noticeable during those darkened pass-bys. I find these issues forgivable. I also don’t mind the acting, as Siskel & Ebert do a bit. I think these characters are on stage, and it is them, not the actors, who are a little inappropriately false at times. They’re putting on airs for an odd mix at a suspect dinner party.

    2. Andrew mentioned the re-release of some Hitchcock films in the 80’s It was 1983, and Siskel & Ebert did an entire show about these five films. It’s on the siskelandebert.org site, where many of their programs are archived, but it’s more easily findable here: http://www.indiewire.com/2014/04/watch-vintage-siskel-ebert-special-dial-h-for-hitchcock-87353/ It’s a bit of a wonky viewing, as it looks like it came from a broadcasters’ source, including one full commercial break, and two blank spaces for local commercial insertions. If you look at it, you can skip ahead to:

    2:27 to get past the promos and the opening theme of the show
    11:22 to jump past the commercial break with the commercials present
    17:32 to skip past the first blank spot
    28:35 to bypass the second blank spot in the video.

    It’s nice to hear their excitement about these films finally coming out of the vault, especially given the attention which followed for Vertigo and Rear Window.

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