Friday Night Fights [Round 33]

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another Choku zuki edition of Friday Night Fights! This week’s bout is the battle of the lurker at the threshold, with the souls of children and leftover Chinese takeout on the line. Without further preamble, let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Fighting out of the red corner, from St. Petersburg, Russia, it’s “ShotgunSheo. and his “Monster”.

Monster

And fighting out of the blue corner, from beyond the reach of human range, it’s “cantankerous” Cab ~ and his “What Crawls at Night“.

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As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding the outcome of this pugilistic endeavor and determine who will receive a week’s worth of bragging rights.  Simply leave a comment below and vote for the model that best suits your individual taste. I will tally up the votes next Friday and declare a winner.

Last time, on Friday Night Fights….

It was the battle of the tiny brutes, with a lucrative sponsorship from Cemex Inc. and the critical blessings of Le Corbusier on the line.  In the end, “MadmanMagnus and his “Government Building” scored a decisive 9-4 victory over “relentlessAre J Heiseldal and his “Høyblokka 2  Magnus scores his first victory (1-0) while Are runs his record to (0-1).

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25 thoughts on “Friday Night Fights [Round 33]

  1. “cantankerous” Cab ~ Are J Heiseldal? 😀

    Another extremely close match, which way to go? Sheo, where we can see the nasty and that awesome door detailing? Or Cab with the fantastic atmosphere? I’ll take the nitpick route and go with Sheo, where I can’t find anything to complain about, while in Cab’s shot I can see the outline a rectangular shape where the monster is and that bent lamp is a bit distracting. Nevertheless both are winners in my book.

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  2. First, excellent bout here. I can’t think of too many others where the subject matter of the two entries was as consistent.

    Both builds are well-done and have some nice detailing on the door panels, but my vote has to go to Sheo, primarily because the lighting is so dim in the picture of Are’s build that it is hard to tell what those things on the door and door frame are supposed to be. Without putting the build in context, they could just as easily be mold stains as monster’s claws.

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  3. Sheo. I honestly planned to go against him, as the proportions of the hand to the monster face seems off to me (perhaps only one eye should be peeking out vs. most of the head?) Also the head seems more like a viking helmet that a monster face…
    … but Cab-Are still had to earn it, and in the end I just wasn’t buying what he was selling. Ditto to the points Bricks Noir made above. If it was one long, spindly arm with a clawed hand reaching out through the door, that could have been enough. With that, you could get by with the under-exposed photo too…

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  4. Christopher nailed it before I could: Sparingly. Shadow and tone trump seeing the visage every time. Unless you’re John Carpenter and give us The Thing. Sheo’s is great, but not sinister. Cab all the way.

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    1. I am in 100% agreement about the “show the monster sparingly” principle. Movies like Alien and Predator certainly got that right. The problem here is that there is not much context. Without the context, the black things on the door might as will be mud stains that some snot-nosed kid left behind as he was running inside to use the bathroom. Perhaps if I were able to see two joints of each finger, rather than just one (and maybe if the lighting were better, I could), then I would be convinced that something sinister is behind the door.

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      1. Your issue with the hands and lighting is a perfect example of what me and rowntRee are talking about. Is that a hand coming out of your closet? Or is it just a strange shadow? It’s exactly the kind of thing that would make a frightened kid’s mind run.

        Also if I may bring up some issues with Sheo’s, I think it looks way too clean (an issue I have with a lot of his stuff) and I’m not a huge fan of his use of color either. It looks more like a kid in a goofy Halloween mask than a genuine monster.

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      2. Understandable. I think a mud stain however could tell an even scarier narrative knowing full well about those snot-nosed, bipedal cesspool, hairless monkeys called children. XD

        To be honest, I always felt that Alien and Predator showed way too much. When you see details of something like a monster, it reduces it to identifiable parts. I’d say to look back farther in movies to the original Cat People from ’42 with Simone Simon. Every monster movie at the time (and now) show the monster; Frank, Drac, Wolfie, even the Invisible Man were well lit displays of make-up, costuming, and special effects more than anything scary. With Cat People, you never see costume or make-up or anything showing a transformation. All you get is shadow, and it leaves our imagination completely open without any satisfying closure. 100% more scarier than fulfilling a viewed and interpreted contextual “reality”.

        Seeing a hint of what’s behind the door in Cab’s piece and the roll of the shadow over the hand on the jamb tell’s me that there’s more and it’s likely not friendly. With Sheo’s, although very good, I don’t find it remotely scary. It’s too playful and would have been more successful as a horror piece with just the hand opening the door and a lot less light. Sheo’s is a Lego build that happens to be of a monster, Cab’s is a monster that happens to be built out of Lego.

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      3. Cat People never worked for me as a horror movie, didn’t find anything scary about it at all. Feels more like one of those classic tales of mystery and supernatural, atmospheric and intriguing but never scary.

        To me it’s a matter of how well it’s handled; both can be very effective if handled well, as both can suck. Many times the “not showing” side takes the lovcraftian mindfuck route of insanity and handles that in terrible fashion (willing to bet 80% of b directors with open ending didn’t really though it out, just leave it open for the sake of it), or simply waits for an idiotic finale jumpscare.

        Both predator and alien handled it perfectly for my taste and it would have been a travesty not to show the nasties. In fact they’re so perfectly handled that despite the fact that the monsters are pop culture icons and so bloody familiar, they still manage to retain a bit of the creep factor. The recipe is to find a a damn cool monster, but make sure it’s creepy enough to transcend that quality and doesn’t end up becoming an anti-hero.

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      4. Cat People is indeed that, and by today’s standards and our expectations is certainly not scary or what we would consider a horror flick. The scare is in what our imagination is left with, which is essentially nothing. Alien and Predator succeeded in tapping into things that were grotesque and subconsciously disturbing. But what makes the face-huggers scary? To an extent, it is their speed, ferocity, and creepiness, but the true fear is in their singular purpose to which you only know and do not need to see.

        I agree 100% that it needs to be handled right and more often than not it isn’t. The times that they fail and have to rely on a final jumpscare is when they haven’t thought through the build up, the tension, or any actual fear. Then it’s just insulting. Seeing the actual Alien and Predator works only because of everything crafted before it. The payoff is genuine because up until those moments, you don’t know what’s coming. The face-hugger is just a pulsing blob in an egg until it latches on to Cain, the chest-burster isn’t seen until after the convulsions, the full-grown alien is a rattle in the chains before you get only a slight glimpse of the double mouth as it munches on Brett, the air duct scene only works because of Dallas’ single light and legitimate, claustrophobic, totally believable fear. Same for Predator, up to the point where we see his ugly mug he is just a blurry mirage. The Thing succeeds in spades with this, all the tension is pure paranoia between the characters more than anything alien. But then you get to see it and it’s perfectly terrifying. But the scariest part is not knowing who is human and who isn’t.

        For me it boils down to the preference for suspense rather than surprise. The fact that the Alien and Predator became pop culture icons is because of the creepiness that was built into them by the craftsmanship of the films, not just the presentation of the monsters. We remember them because of the moments rather than the mechanics. And it better be a damn cool monster if anyone is going for a legitimate jumpscare because my imagination can outperform most of the shit thrown our way nowadays. It would definitely have been tragic to not show the monsters; however, I think it would have been somewhat scarier if they hadn’t shown so much. Not knowing has more impact than knowing IMO.

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      5. Yes, the observation on the facehugger is spot on; it’s both the thing that gives birth to the horror and the tool that builds the tension and suspense. And the way the movie unleashes everything at you in the final act (lights, noises, glimpses of the alien, etc) is handled perfectly; in other movies it usually feels forced, desperate even, when something like this happens. In fact, they showed just enough to make the movie timeless; any more and it would have show the outdated technology of the alien; as it is it actually works to enhance the experience, the somewhat jagged movements, slowness and sensation of the alien floating gives the scenes a surreal and alien (pun intended) feel that makes everything creepier.

        The only thing I want to (partially) contradict is the fact that the creepiness is what pushed them into pop culture; for predator everything following p2 focuses on the cool factor and everything that was creepy about is is gone. Dead and buried. Be it movies, comics, books or anything in between. Sometimes it worked – loved the Machiko comics and Predators was a decent bit of emotionless entertainment – the rest was pretty much garbage. But nothing has the impact of the original. Even Aliens is an action movie as far as I’m concerned – one of the absolute best, but nonetheless an action movie. Maybe it’s the media’s fault for misinterpreting what the people want, but many fans tend to focus on this as well, especially Aliens, which seems to be the fan favorite.

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      6. Spot on about Predator, post P2 = shit.

        Alien was brilliant because it answered the obvious question about “haunted houses”: Why don’t the occupants just leave? In space, no one can hear you scream; but more importantly, ya can’t just leave the damn house! The Boogeyman has to be dealt with. And what if it’s IN you?! Creep factor cranked up to eleven. I still think seeing the full body of the Alien floating from the grappling hook at the end kind of blew the mystery for me. It was necessary for the narrative, but it really is my only criticism of the movie. That and going back for the cat. Fuck it Jonesy, I’m outta here!

        Aliens was a war flick, the extended version of Aliens was a redemption quest that I am still baffled as to why THE Cameron deleted those twenty minutes. But even through that wondrous blood bath, we are only given quick, shadowed, back-lit images of the Xenomorphs until the queen. Another worthy payoff from a well crafted build up. And when they’re holed up in operations and Hudson’s proximity detector keeps pinging out the distance inside the room, it is THAT moment when they start glancing at the ceiling that is the scariest and not the aliens crawling in the flashlight beam. It is entirely the build up, the countdown, and then the release that makes the real scare. Otherwise it’s just a stand up fight or a Michael Bay movie.

        And to loop back to the FNF here, I see Sheo’s and think of some little kid yelling, “Boo!” With Cab’s, I hear that leafless branch that keeps scratching at the window in the October wind, the hinges screaming for a drop of oil, heavy quiet from the other side of the door; the build up, not the boo.

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      7. Yeah, there’s absolutely nothing scary about Sheo’s build, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a comic take on the category and as such I have nothing to complain about.

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  5. I really wanted to vote Sheo, but I think Cab’s atmosphere, even if unintentionally, worked in his favor. That looks like security camera footage in the dim light of the kitchen, very grainy and imperfect but just right for the mood. Of course, the monster behind the door is equally impressive… or is it? Comments changed my mind again. Cab gets my vote.

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  6. I vote cab.

    Not a remotely easy choice. I had to go with pure emotion on this one. Cabs was emotionaly stronger.

    That dim lighting…bad for many MOCs… But here? Perfect.

    Its depressing and creepy. It invokes negative emotions, and that is what this MOC is all about.

    And… I really like the lamp and door!

    Keith, again you chose an excellent pair.

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