Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hogfather (a Shitmas post from Bucky Schuyler of Horror Sci-fi and More!)



Before I get into the meat of the film here I want to talk about Discworld, the world that this film is based in. The world is a a flat disc that's balanced on the backs of four elephants and those elephants are balanced on the shell of a giant turtle though some what similar to our world theirs just has that extra twist to it. Now the Discworld series is an on-going novel series that has seen upwards to 41 novels. The characters in the stories range from witches to wizards and death to gods. But my pick is the first novel to ever be put to film and its the 20th novel in the series. Written in 1996 by Terry Pratchett and optioned by The Mob, a production company whose gone onto make two other Discworld films in 2006. The film tells the tale of the book of what Christmas....I mean Hogwatch is like in Discworld.
 
 
 
 
Hogwatch is a gift giving holiday similar to what Christmas is to us. Now it becomes apparent that to a group of spectral beings known as the Auditors that a fat, tusk-grinned man dressed in red known as the Hogfather is watching over the children of Discworld and this causes them to become disturbed by the notion that this man is doing this and so forth put out a hit on the jolly fat man. Yes even in this world they put out a contract on their version of Santa! They contact the Assassin's Guild who give the job for taking out the Hogfather to their most strangest assassin simply known as Mr. Teatime. Now Teatime is a ruthless character to say the least, though he appears to be childish in mannerisms. He makes up for it in his disturbing way of taking care of business as a cold and icy killer. His attack on the Tooth Fairies castle and theft of all her teeth to which he believes that with old, and I mean OLD magic that gives a possessor of cast-off parts of the body hair, nail parings, or even teeth control over what someone believes.
 
 
 
Now while all of this is on-going another being that being Death believes that if belief in the Hogfather is lost then the sun will never rise again. But Death is a little too late as Teatime manages to turn the Hogfather into a real hog leaving the Discworld to maybe never see the sun again. It is in this moment that Death decides to take up the role of the Hogfather till his granddaughter Susan could find the real Hogfather and restore him to his original self and in the same breath some how manage to take down Teatime. During Death's time portraying the Hogfather he starts to take the wishes of the children a little to seriously and starts to cause a few problems for himself along the way. Susan's journey takes her to the Castle of Bones where she meets Bilious, a drunkard whose always talking about his hangovers. It is here that she manages to save in him in time just as the Castle of Bones itself starts to crumble and fall down around them thanks in part to the lack of belief. In attempt to cure him she takes him to the Unseen University where a bunch of clumsy wizards are trying to figure out why new gods and beings are being born as well as trying to figure out what's going on around them.
 
 
It's there that the Universities greatest mind Hex, explains that reason behind all these new entities is cause of "spare belief" that is there because of the lack of belief in the Hogfather. Susan and Bilious eventually make their way from the University to the land of the Tooth Fairy only to discover that Teatime has indeed succeeded in killing the Hogfather by using the teeth of children and having them stop believing in him. Teatime tries to kill Susan but when the sword just simply goes through her and causes no damage she explains that there is no death where they were. She slaps the taste out of his mouth and then delivers a sucker punch that sends Teatime falling off the edge of the a tower but he manages to grasp a hold of Susan as he is falling but manages to lose his grip and falls to his apparent death. Susan then clears the teeth away and breaks the magical spell that was placed upon them to bring back the belief of the Hogfather who transforms back to his normal self as the sun rises and he basks in the sunlight.
 
 
As the film starts to wind down Teatime is brought back to life by the wizards and he goes after Susan to kill her. But stops because of a bigger game that being Death. Branding his sword and noticing that it will work where he is at the moment. He tries to kill Death but is stopped by Susan who throws a poker through Death and into the chest of Teatime. Teatime suddenly realizes as he is told that things in Discworld are only killed by weapons by being a monster.
 
 
Now for a 3 hour long made for television film its actually decent. Though the film is slow in the first half of this two part film, the film picks up the pace in the second half and displays some excellent imagery. A scene where Susan and Bilious walk into a child's painting is stunning to say the least as its like watching a painting come to life. This films cast is comprised of very well known British actors ranging from David Jason, Marc Warren, Michelle Dockery, Ian Richardson and Peter Guinness. David Warner of various films like Tron and Time Bandits pops up in the beginning of the film. Even the author of the novel Terry Pratchett makes a cameo appearance in the film. So in closing I will have to say this film is a gem that's clearly lost in time cause its not really spoken of or rarely seen on television today. So do yourself a favor and just sit down and don't let that 3 hour run time scare you cause its a rather enjoyable film and more importantly I want to thank Thomas for letting me do this again this year. It was a pleasure and hope you all have a Merry Hogwatch!!!!!!


- Bucky

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