Research, Critical Writings, Voice Work

Category: Film Studies

The Super Mario Bros. Movie: don’t watch it for the story but for how it successfully represents gameplay


The first videogame I ever played was the arcade game Donkey Kong. Released in 1981, it took us into a blocky-looking world where a carpenter in overalls raced along platforms and up ladders in a building site to rescue a lady kidnapped by a large ape. Its humble hero, Mario, went on to feature in scores of multi-million dollar grossing games, becoming an icon as popular as Mickey Mouse.

Having grown up in the 1980s, the new Super Mario Bros. Moviemeant more to me than the average fantasy animation film. Watching Mario and Donkey Kong have it out on a massive screen – at a resolution so high you can see a single hair or wrinkle on these crisp-looking, toy-like characters – was remarkable. 

Yet, it felt like the mission of this movie wasn’t just about creating flashy, fleshy cartoon characters or trying to tell a compelling story – it was about doing justice to the feel of these videogames that span decades and are still enjoyed by millions around the world.

A film about jumping…
(Continue Reading via The Conversation)

‘Popularising the “folkloric”: Innsmouth and the Italian Polesine in mocku-/found horror films H. P. Lovecraft and Road to L.’’

Abstract: Italian horror found footage Road to L. – Il mistero di Lovecraft (2005) and mockumentary H.P. Lovecraft – Ipotesi di un viaggio in Italia (2004) revolve around the fictional discovery of a letter by the supernatural writer, documenting a putative journey to Italy. The films envisage the conception of the HPL mythos‘ stories as inspired by the writer’s imagined encounters with the gloomy geography, folklore, and cryptic creatures from the Italian river Po delta. Ipotesi is a mockumentary focusing on the fabricated manuscript. The separate Road to L. is presented as Ipotesi’s Blair Witch-inspired “backstage”, revolving around a found VHS and documenting a film crew’s Italian journey on the tracks of HPL. The study discusses horror found footage as a sub-set of risemantisation practices characterised by features, such the diegetic camera and a make-believe register, that aim to bridge over regionalist landscape and “folklore” representations and global horror tropes, depicting the Po Delta region as resonating with the accursed geographies of Lovecraftian literature. The films represent examples of how make-believe found footage and mocku-horror formulas have been used by productions to repurpose regional themes, align with globally popular canons, and attract national and international audiences.

Full reference & Paper:

Carbone, M.B. (2022), ‘Popularising the “folkloric”: Innsmouth and the Italian Polesine in mocku-/found horror films H. P. Lovecraft and Road to L.’, Imago. Studi di cinema e media, n. 24, Edited by G. Ravesi & R. Catanese, pp. 117-137.

2020-2022 Marco Benoît Carbone