In yesterday's New York Times, Caryn James notes the high number of gory films being released during this year's holiday season, a time when studios are typically pushing family targeted movies like Happy Feet! and Night at the Museum. "There is blood in the snow in Lions for Lambs, blood on the living-room carpet in American Gangster, and blood just about everywhere else in No Country for Old Men," says James. "There Will Be Blood may be the title of a film opening the day after Christmas, but it could be the slogan for this entire holiday season." The piece mostly sticks to Oscar bait, but also on the release calendar are Alien vs Predator 2, Beowulf, and Will Smith vampire-apocalypse drama I Am Legend, with only Fred Claus to satisfy moviegoers' perennial lust for movies about elves woefully underqualified for their jobs.
For years, Fox News anchors have been yammering about the secular-progressive "War on Christmas," and it's always pretty much been a joke — but this year secular progressives may actually have a chance. The holidays are really going to have their work cut out for them, as Hollywood joins public schools and the ACLU on the front lines. Coming out of the Canal Street subway station this morning, we saw giant posters for Beowulf, American Gangster, and Showtime's Dexter, all prominently featuring garish streaks and splatters of blood.
"Do viewers really want a river of blood at any time of year?" asks James. Yes — and now especially! The gunplay and throat-slitting in this year's holiday films will finally provide some much-needed counterprogramming for those of us who find the idea of Ludacris as a grinning, dancing elf more gruesome than any murder. Hollywood vs. Christmas? Go, Hollywood!