1 December 2010

Freeze In Hell, Batman- Why The Snow Leaves Me Cold

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we've no place to go- fuck off, snow! Today is the day where snow becomes acceptable for 25 days, and just those 25 days, each year. If you've been following the Annual Snowpocalypse news coverage in the UK, you'll notice that the cold snap started in the dying days of November.

This, to me, constitutes Not Christmas Snow. It's not in December, so it's not acceptable. Moreover, it gets me thinking about snow scenes in films that aren't set at Christmas. Particularly this last Sunday, where I had to stay in and work all day, struggling to motivate myself to write as everybody else in the house drove me nuts. It's as close to being Jack Torrance as I ever want to get. Here are a few reasons why Not Christmas Snow leaves me cold...

THE SHINING
Why? Author Jack Torrance uproots his family to take a caretaking job in the Overlook Hotel for the winter. There, they spend many happy hours and no one goes crazy. Nah, sorry, that's an awful lie. Someone's about to have a mental breakdown...
Let It Snow? Snow almost gets little Danny Torrance killed, showing up his footprints as he runs into the labyrinthine hedge maze in the hotel grounds. It also makes the whole film look very stark and clinical, even if it does lead to one of cinema's more lauded freeze-frame endings...

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Why? There Luke goes on the snowy planet Hoth, minding his own sweet business, when he gets knocked the fuck out by a Wampa. Then once he escapes, he's shoved inside an alien snow camel's inside by Han Solo, whose sleeping bags were never pleasant. And then giant robot camels kill several of his friends. Argh!
Let It Snow? Fuck no! See what happens when there's snow? You get kidnapped (and possibly raped) by abominable snowmen! Camel variants bring about all kinds of misdemeanours! And then Darth Vader turns up! Why are you all out sledging?!

On a more serious note, Irvin Kershner, this film's director, died on Monday aged 87. R.I.P.

SUPERMAN II

Why? Cementing 1980 as the year of Evil Snow at the cinema, Supes takes Lois Lane to his home away from home in the Fortress of Solitude for a romantic getaway. There he decides to be all about the ladies from then on, and gives up his powers. Little does he realise that the awesomeness of General Zod is tearing up the planet in his absence.
Let It Snow? It looks nice and all, but it can't be great for the depowered Kal-El, now merely Clark Kent, as he trudges along trying to hitch a ride back to the Fortress he just abandoned in order to get his powers back. Actually, where is that bloody Fortress? Lex Luthor says it's in the Arctic, but Clark can somehow hitchhike back. It has to be in Alaska or Canada, right? I like to think it's the latter, because it makes sense that Superman would get away from upholding the American way and all that shite by relaxing in Canada. Only reason why he would go where there's snow.

THE THING
Why? Antarctica is pretty remote, and John Carpenter's film is the main reason I'm never going out there. Well, one of the main reasons, but there's still plenty to be frightened of in a featureless landscape like the very very very deep South. Namely, a shapeshifting alien that can't even be distinguished for its resemblance to a camel.
Let It Snow? The snow is arguably the least of MacReady and company's problems in this film, but it can't help, can it? The ice preserved the alien til the Norwegians excavated it though, and in ten months' time, we can watch those guys make the mistake of poking around in the snow with the prequel that tells their story.

BATMAN & ROBIN
Why? Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze is one of the principal villains in what many accept to be the worst Batman film ever made. There are those who argue that Batman Forever is worse, but these are exactly the kind of fucking jolly people you'll see out making snowmen, having snowball fights, eating snow and making sweet love to snow. Dickheads.
Let It Snow? It all depends on Arnold. He seems to make far fewer puns about temperature once he has Gotham City enshrined in frost and rubber icicles, so maybe if we let it carry on, he'll stop making my head hurt with lines like "Freeze in hell, Batman!"

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Why? Oskar and Eli's friendship blooms from the frosty Sweden suburbia, a relationship that becomes more apparently hideous as the film goes on. The recent remake also looked like the most fucked-up Christmas card ever.
Let It Snow? Yeah, in this case. I think Let The Right One In is incredible, and the snow is a big part of that- there's nothing that makes blood look more striking by contrast. The only real argument I'd make against it is that Lina Leandersson and Chloe Moretz would both be more likely to keep their bare feet warm. Both seemed reasonably happy to suffer for their art though, so frostbite all around!

And this brief list is to say nothing of Fargo, which has the real-life tragedy of Takako Konishi to make it extra unappealing. Or Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray relived the same freezing cold day over and over until he was a better man. Or Frozen, which I was supposed to have seen by now to review for today. Or Alien vs. Predator, which was shite.

Heed the lesson cinema offers us, kids! Don't go playing in the snow!

I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, watch out for camel variants!

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