Let The Right One In

WEIRDO’WEEN #10: Let The Right One In [2008]

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Contrary to popular belief, not every vampires you see in the movies are over 1000 years old. Sometimes, they’re younger, say about 12 or 13.. except they’ve been 12 [or 13] for a long time! Wait a minute..this sounds familiar; too familiar in fact. [find out why this sounded so familiar here!] Let’s try this again..

Today, we’re going to talk about Vampires, and no, not those ones that involve shining in the sunlight, or living in the middle of the woods with their entire [adopted] families. I’m talking ones that need to drink blood to survive, and drift from place to place, before being discovered. But this can be tricky, because we are also talking about younger vampires in a foreign country. [this is starting to sound familiar too] Today’s movie came out in 2008 and already got itself a remake – which was surprisingly half-decent. Surely, if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ve already caught on to what movie were talking about today..or you flat out cheated, and read this post’s title! Either way, let’s not just watch just any vampire film that comes into our homes, let’s be sure we actually Let The Right One In. Also, this is weirdo’ween review #10 today, so that’s a thing worth celebrating too! [only 21 to go!]

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Based on the book of the same name, Let The Right One In is what I’d call a unique take on the typical vampire film. It’s technically a horror film, but it’s hard to class it as only that; it includes romantic elements, but also horror, kisses and love, but also blood and death. It has some brutal death scenes, but we never linger on it – it’s like the movie is trying to explain that it’s a necessity, but not the only thing we’re meant to be concerned with. It’s as if the vampire, is more human than the rest of us; that she just wants to be loved, and cared for. It could even be classified as a human movie, starring a vampire! But there is one thing we have to address..

In the film, Håkan [Eli‘s guardian/old lover]  butchers boys not much older than Oskar as a blood source for Eli. In this story, the storytelling is the most important theme to the point where we’re mostly meant to assume things, while some things are hinted and suggested at. There’s some questions that come up that are never answered. Why does Håkan pick these younger victims? Are they are Eli‘s preference? Then what does that say about Eli‘s sudden interest in Oskar? What is Eli‘s true nature? She tells us early on that she’s been twelve “for a very long time”, but we briefly glimpse her true physical age, which shows us that she is in fact, middle age; roughly the same age as Håkan. What about her gift to Oskar in the films last moments? Eli decides to go through with the brutal slaughter of his child tormentors. Entranced in her glamour, this of course, makes Oskar happy, but is this truly a good thing? They go off happily into the sunset, Oskar presumably destined to the soul destroyed shell of a person that Håkan had become, butchering humans to provide Eli with food for the rest of his life. People often talk about how the “happy ending” is sweet, and almost cute but think about it: it’s almost chilling! Essentially, Oskar has happily swapped the misery of childhood bullying for a fate that will truly be hell on earth and it feels nearly depressing as you know as he happily smiles in the films last shot that he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. Remember, this boy is 12. He’s doing it because he has fallen in love with Eli, but he doesn’t know what her plans are for him. Did/Does she even really care?

Ultimately, Let The Right One In is a very quiet and patient film. It’s main points involve focusing on the progression of friendship between Oskar and Eli first. Unlike what you’d think when you think “vampire”, this is a beautiful and tender story – despite the overthought out process above. Despite its dark undertones, the film never feels sinister. Even during it’s highly enjoyable climax, it retains its heartfelt love.

Both Oskar and Eli are wonderfully drawn characters. Both young actors are emphatically true to their characters, making them all the more sympathetic. Through out the film, Director Thomas Alfredson shoots them in muted tones, as in – from their point of view, instead that of an adult. Reminding us, these are still kids [just in adult situations] He uses very little music, allowing the crunching of snow, the grumbling of their stomachs, the ambient sounds of the world around us instead to frame the action on screen. It’s something that hasn’t been done in this way before, and for that – I love it. The movies were made to tell stories like these. Unfortunately, I have not read the book the film is adapted from, but it certainly would expand on much of what is only hinted at here. But if you’re only going to see the movie, you don’t need any expansion. This is such a wonderful film as it stands today, in its boldness, its darkness, and its touching beauty.

If you like vampires, but you’re also a sucker for love stories, then I implore that you please watch the masterpiece that is Let The Right One In. It’s such an important piece of cinema: it does have subtitles – being a foreign film, but do not let that turn you away. If you manage to get a chance to see it..take it. It’ll trap you in a world where you feel the connection between two seemingly innocent children. If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #11! STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

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film study: why “LET THE RIGHT ONE IN” is vampires done RIGHT

Contrary to popular belief, not all vampires are over 1000 years old. Sometimes, they’re younger, say about 12.. except they’ve been 12 for a long time! Let The Right One In, or Låt Den Rätte Komma In, is one such story involving one of those 12 year old vampires. The story is about Oskar, a bullied 12 year old, who tends to dream of revenge. [I mean, the first thing you see in the movie is Oskar wearing a mask holding a knife!] Then enters Eli, a strange young girl [who’s roughly Oskar‘s age] and newcomer to the town who moves in with her “Father”, Håkan. [we’ll get to that later on] Oddly enough though, Eli can’t stand the sun or even food, and if she wants to come into a room, she needs to be “invited”. Quite literally in fact, she has to be told that she’s “allowed” to enter the room. Through their friendship, Eli gives Oskar the strength – and the determination – to hit the bullies back, but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to survive; he’s faced with an almost impossible choice: Just how much can love forgive? Another important thing to note is that Oskar actually collects clippings from newspapers [and magazines] detailing gruesome murders with pictures of various hunting knives. He also hides a fairly large hunting knife under his mattress. [which his Mother is obviously unaware of]

as I said above, Oskar‘s classmates tend to regularly bully him, and he spends his evenings imagining revenge. On the night he meets Eli, who appears to be a pale girl of his age, Oskar learns that Eli has recently moved into the apartment next door to him with Håkan: presumably, her Father. It starts off relatively tame, though Eli initially warns Oskar that they can’t be friends! [talk about harsh! but there’s a reason] But over time, they begin to form a fairly close relationship with one another, with Oskar letting Eli borrow his Rubik’s Cube and the two even learning and exchanging Morse code messages through their adjoining wall. eventually, when Håkan learns of this: he ends up requesting Eli stops seeing Oskar. This is because [SPOILER ALERT!] Håkan is not Eli‘s father: he’s actually the grown up version of a young boy who fell in love with Eli in the past, and because Eli can’t grow up, [with being a vampire and all..] She is technically the girl the young Håkan fell in love with. [if that makes sense] Therefore, he has taken upon himself to take care of Eli [through gathering blood, moving from place to place with her, etc] because he loves her. Thus his reason for wanting Eli to stop seeing Oskar is implied to be pure jealousy!

and if you don’t invite her in: she starts to look like this..

It’s further proven that Håkan is willing to do anything for Eli when he actually stops to kill a [random] passerby on a busy footpath near a main road to harvest fresh blood, but he fails to return with anything  since he is interrupted by an oncoming dog walker. Naturally, a hungry Eli subsequently kills a local man who is making his drunken way home from the bar. Thankfully, Håkan manages to hide the body in a small ice-hole in the local lake, when he plans to make another well-prepared [but pretty badly] executed kill. In this sequence to get blood for Eli, Håkan tries to get the ‘food’ by trapping a teenage boy in a change room. As it turns out though, the boy’s friends are waiting for him, and when he takes forever to get changed, they decide to try to go into the change room to see what’s taking so fucking long! As a final escape tactic, Håkan decides to pour a ton of concentrated hydrochloric acid onto his own face so he can disfigure it to prevent any authorities from figuring out his identity and therefore, track down Eli. He even offers his neck to Eli to feed off of when he comes to accept that she is falling for Oskar, and that he has no place in her heart anymore.. that, and he’s pretty gross looking now after his ‘accident’. Talk about dedication to one person!! Check out Håkan‘s “post-hydrochloric acid” face below!

ugh. hope it was worth it, pal!

Let The Right One In is easily one of the best vampire movies I’ve ever seen: it has heart, it has gore, it has a brilliantly crafted story-line. It’s not so much a horror, when it can even technically fall under a romance story in a way or two! [SPOILER ALERT] the fact that Oskar becomes the “new” Håkan to Eli by the end of the film shows his dedication to the first person who ever made him feel special: I mean, sure, Eli will live on as Oskar grows old – but he seems to accept that, and for the first time in what seems like a long time; Eli doesn’t seem to want to use someone.. she actually seems to care for Oskar. By the end of the movie, Oskar and Eli are on a train, moving away to some new getaway – and I love that. It shows us just how special their connection is: innocent. They go through so much together through-out the film, and the ending is the ultimate pay off.. There’s also a somewhat sub-plot involving Oskar‘s Mother and Father, and the fact that they’re separated but, it’s nothing super important.. But the next time you meet someone new, and they live in a boarded up apartment, and you realize they only really come out in the dark: be careful, It could very well be Eli and Oskar living next door! If you want to get technical, it’s never really said where they end up?

THANKS FOR READING.

[fun fact: in the very last scene, Oskar is seen traveling on a train with Eli, who is in a box beside him: safe from the sunlight. From inside this box, Eli taps the word “kiss” to Oskar in Morse code. When Oskar is seen tapping back, he taps the word”puss“: which translates roughly to “small kiss” in Swedish, the movie’s language]

If horror was written by R.L. Stine

One of the fortunate things about growing up in the early 90s is that I regularly watched two horror-themed TV shows that were aimed at younger audiences:Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and the one I tended to watch more, because it was less scary, Goosebumps! Back then, I was a lot easier to scare than I am today, and even though the show hasn’t entirely aged well; I still get those nostalgic feelings whenever I come across the show’s episodes on Netflix. [both shows are even Canada-based!] Surprisingly, even though being directed at kids,Goosebumps gained a very strict censorship when it reached the UK, [over content being considered too “gross” or scary to be shown to young or sensitive viewers] which resulted in many of the early episodes being banned [such as “Night Of The Living Dummy II”, “Night Of The Living Dummy III”, “Bride Of The Living Dummy”, and “The Haunted Mask”] or if they were aired, they were given extremely heavy edits, mainly to the twist endings. Not to mention that the episode titled “The Werewolf Of Fever Swamp” is the onlyGoosebumps episode to receive a 12+ rating by the BBFC. [the British Board Of Film Censorship]

Enough about the censorship though, today we’re going to talk about something involving Goosebumps that I’ve been meaning to write about, and not just because there’s a new movie coming out based on the show [which, in turn, is based on the books] but because of a nifty little Tumblr blog known only as If It Were Stine. Seriously. The idea behind the blog is simple: pick a horror film, PhotoShop the hell out of it, and turn it into a Goosebumps book. The original author of If It Were Stine, Jude, even went so far as to write the back blurbs for the horror based books! Unfortunately, the site has since ended it’s run after only a year – but there is more then enough content to keep you satisfied, some movies even have more then one ‘book’, based on requests, etc! [there’s even a few video game based “books” such as Bioshock]

From classic films such as A Nightmare On Elm Street to even films like Re-Animator, If It Were Stine did a lot of films, and the back blurbs are brilliant: enough to even have the same readability to feel like R.L. Stine could have wrote them himself! Below, I’m going to share just some of my favorites from the Tumblr page, be sure to check out If It Were Stine‘s official page – even if it isn’t producing new content any more! [which is really unfortunate for fans of the page like myself]

Carrie

*click here to read the back!

Let The Right One In

*click here to read the back!

The Thing

*click here to read the back!


Of course, that’s just three of the 25+ movies that the blog has, and that’s not even including the video game based ones! If you’re curious what other movies the site has, why not go over and take a look – Or because it’s easier – just click here for an alphabetical archive list! I’m not sure about you, but now that I’m older – and I don’t scare as easily – I’d love to read these; however, I feel that if they were written in the style of the original books, they wouldn’t be as scary as the movies can be, mainly since they were usually pun-filled, child-friendly fears [I still hate that damn Slappy dummy though, I don’t care who says otherwise: that ‘child friendly” toy scares the fuck out of me!]

If they aren’t on the blog, what are some other horror movies you’d like to see turned into Goosebumps books? I find myself liking the idea of a book based on Splice [though that’s unlikely] or even ParaNorman, [that’s a little more child friendly] just to see what the back would be written like.

THANKS FOR READING and REMEMBER when reading Goosebumps,