cuts her with his knife (an effect created by smearing the blade with fake blood or red paint or something and then rubbing it against her skin).
I think I'd dig this movie for that effect alone! I love stuff like that.
Stephen King went into this sort of thing in detail in his book Danse Macabre
, which I've mentioned a few times here already (though it's been a while
In that book, he mentioned the notion that modern audiences view visual fx very differently and with a far more critical eye towards "realism" than in the early days of horror cinema. He gave some pretty cool examples of fx that were totally accepted by audiences at the time that are laughed at now.
I almost admire a film maker for thinking to wipe the blood from the knife to the skin to 'simulate' cutting. That's actually not bad! It visually represents what's going on and it serves the story.
It passes the Chekov's Gun test.
I wonder if we can pinpoint the time when audiences began to 'demand' visual effects to appear realistic else be ridiculed. When did "quality of the effects" become the reason to even watch a movie? Does that also correspond with the decline of story in importance?
I'm also reminded of the discussion John Carpenter has on the commentary to THE THING where he talks about how that movie is not really all that graphic, yet at the time, audiences and critics nearly went berserk over how 'gross' it was. Even these days, you hear people mention Bottin's effects (which were cool as can be, don't get me wrong) as somehow "over the top."
In particular, this discussion surrounded the alien autopsy scenes with Wilford Brimley holding a piece of liver and squeezing it and such, and the audiences went nuts over it. Admittedly, the later stuff with Norris was a ratchet higher, but still, on the whole and given some other stuff that was out at the time, it really was not THAT bad.
Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but at the moment, I'd rather watch a blood (or ketchup) swipe = knife cut than CGI transformers in shaky cam quick edits.