As I started to write this, it occurred to me that the film I’d spoken about previously, Cannibal Holocaust, is also a member of the found footage brigade. Ok, that’s my internal link sorted (marketing speak, my friends). Onwards…
The Poughkeepsie Tapes has something of a troubled history. Originally completed on 2007, then scheduled for a 2008 release by MGM. It was subsequently shelved, then released briefly on Video-on-Demand, shelved again, before finally finding a release on Blu Ray/DVD via Scream Factory. So it’s no wonder I haven’t seen the bloody thing?!
Nonetheless, this is one that knocked around the internet over the course of the last decade, if you knew where to look. I have to confess, I’ve always been a little wary of this one. I’m a casual fan of found footage, and I’ve seen most of the top-tier efforts – Rec., The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, er…..Project X* – but the common denominator here is that each of the above is ‘grounded’ in the supernatural. Apart from Project X which should just be ground, to dust.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes appears to be highly realistic in its set up and execution, if you’ll pardon the pun. Granted, I haven’t seen it and my experience is based on reviews and articles, but now its freely available I’m wondering why I haven’t made the effort to watch it, given that it seems hugely popular among those who have. The flip side is that there are also a large number of ardent horror fans who actively avoid that type of film.
Although I haven’t actively avoided watching it, I just haven’t got around to it. I suppose the truth is horror movies are supposed to scare their audience and although I’ve become desensitised to a certain degree, I do still find horror that exists entirely in the real world, with no segue into the realms of the fantastical, quite unsettling.
So, do I want to sit through The Poughkeepsie Tapes? Will I find it entertaining? And that’s the key here, movies are at their core, entertainment, and if I’m not entertained, just bloody terrified and disturbed have I wasted my time? Or should I be challenging myself with material that I find difficult to watch, Cannibal Holocaust being a prime example?
These are all interesting questions, but I have one more for those who have seen it…
Is The Poughkeepsie Tapes just too dark for the generalist horror fan, or is it an important document of the found footage sub-genre that should be watched by any self respecting genre fan?
*Incidentally, I can highly recommend Willow Creek (it’s a Bigfoot found footage movie directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. What’s not to like?)