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Theatre Of Blood

Yesterday's "Holiday Movies" section in the Times contained a piece on Tim Burton's upcoming Sweeney Todd adaptation, in which the filmmakers congratulate themselves on their audacity:

While Mr. Depp and the rest of the cast were finding their way into the music, Mr. Burton was finding his way into the gore. “He had a very clear plan that he wanted to lift that up into a surreal, almost ‘Kill Bill’ kind of stylization,” Mr. Zanuck said. “We had done tests and experiments with the neck slashing, with the blood popping out. I remember saying to Tim, ‘My god, do we dare do this?’ ”

Given that the section also included an article on the "rivers of blood" that will be flowing in all manner of holiday films this year, perhaps it's time to stop imagining that there's anything daring about soaking one's film in blood. This is particularly so in the case of Sweeney Todd, which I hope proves to be the best musical about mass murder to hit screens in the coming months, but which has already lost the crown of goriest to this repulsive-looking offering from Darren Lynn Bousman, the director of Saw II (and III and IV):

--Christopher Orr