The Year in Horror Bonus Quotes - Tobin Bell and Tim Palen

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Sometimes you get way more good quotes than you can use in a story, and such was the case with my year in horror piece in today's issue. Here in cyberspace, we have a lot more room, so enjoy these bonus interviews.

TOBIN BELL, star of the SAW movies

On the violence in this year's Oscar-contending movies

The envelope has been pushed, and they're including horror elements in mainstream films.

on his own reaction to gore in movies
I did watch some of HOSTEL 2, and I do mean some. I didn't make it to the end.

on his favorite recent horror movie

THE DESCENT -- what I liked about it was the fact that they developed characters and relationships for the first 40 minutes of the film. I thought they created real claustrophobia and real caring about the characters.

on his newfound fame as John "Jigsaw" Kramer

I understand now the difference between the average moviegoer and horror fans -- horror fans are very passionate. I think you can accomplish the same thing in horror that you can accomplish in any other genre, whatever it might be...you just have to be determined to write a very smart script

on the SAW films continuing to succeed while similar movies do not
I think that there's a level of smartness in the SAW films, that there's a continuing thread of backstory, that not only does it have great special effects and great editing and great music and that sort of thing, -- and by great music, I think the way it's put together is very visceral and effective. I think if you can combine that visceral experience, the traps and such, with something that captures the imagination of fans...when I talk to skateboarders we talk, and we talk, and I ask "Why do you like them?" and they say "Well, because they're so crazy, and they're so real, and they teach you stuff."

And I say "What do they teach you?" and they say, "Well, like when you said to the detective in SAW II, if you knew the exact moment of your own death, how would that change how you live your life..."

and these are 11 and 12 year-olds who remember that concept. Subconsciously I think all filmgoers are looking to believe, looking to feel there's a raison d'etre to it all, that there is a foundation below all the momentary thrills, and I think we've been able to successfully create the beginning of a foundation to all of those thrills, and it's resonated in the minds of certain horror fans, 13, 14, 15, 16 year-old kids who go to the film, I mean, they mention the whole thing about appreciating your blessings to me. SAW has this raison d'etre, that the reason why John Kramer is involved in the things that he does, and there are at least smatterings about his motivations and why he does what he does and what his philosophy is.

how he got the role
I wanted to work with Danny Glover...they cast me because of my voice.

on movie continuity
I love details. When you put these films together, there's so many perspectives and points of view involved, that eventually some things are going to slip through the cracks, but I always try to nail as many of them as I possibly can. I think the SAW fans are interested in those details, and they look for those details, and that's why we've been as vigorous as we have been. We've tried not to be lazy about picking up on them.

TIM PALEN, co-president of theatrical marketing for Lionsgate

On HOSTEL PART II's grosses
We had higher hopes, but it was a success for us financially, so nobody got hurt. I think it's more just timing in general -- that movie could have been better served if it was released earlier just in terms of what's going on in the world, and what's in fashion. It's just my own personal belief that if we'd released it earlier it would have been more relevant. One of the reason the SAW movies do so well is because people appreciate how smart they are, but also because they come in rapid succession.

on the term "torture porn"
It's really good branding, torture porn, because it's fun to say. It sounds cool. I think it's a sexy term, actually. I see 50% of that equation as super-positive -- the porn part.

on what scares him in a movie
For me personally, when the horror element is less defined, it's scarier. I find that when you market movies, if it's a little more ambiguous, it's easier to tap into those primal fears. Like THE DESCENT. Because everyone's afraid of the dark.

on the critical backlash against HOSTEL PART II
Violence against women is a little bit harder to sell and harder to take, and when it's so specifically that, it makes it a little trickier.


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