I Wasted My Weekend on Cloverfield

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high tension wires down


When I first started reading about Cloverfield, I thought it would be fun to write about how the Internet People have infiltrated movie marketing, creating so much buzz and hype before anything of substance has even been released, actually affecting the scriptwriting process (remember Snakes on a Plane?), and creating Web sites and blogs that pick apart, speculate on, and theorize about whatever scant details have been made public.

In other words, I was going to make fun of these Cloverheads. But, after spending about 7 hours online, I staggered into the kitchen, eyes glazed, jaw slack.

“Cloverfield,” I said to Dave, who looked mildly concerned.

“Cloverfield. Cloverfield. Cloverfield.”

I had become a Cloverhead.

If you haven’t heard of Cloverfield, welcome back from your six-month coma. If you have, there’s really nothing new here. I haven’t figured out what the pictures mean or whether the horse, whale, and bird on the Slusho site represent Behemoth, Leviathan, and Ziz, respectively (more on that below). I haven’t had time to decipher the differences between the various posters or buy special audio equipment to clarify that yes, there are three distinct and separate monster roars.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you saw The Transformers or if you own a computer, you’ve probably seen the seriously cool trailer for this as-yet-unnamed movie. It shows, via handheld camera, a going-away party disrupted by an explosion, earthquake, fire, monster-y sounds, pandemonium in the streets, and the blown-off head of the Statue of Liberty rolling toward terrified crowds. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you!—oh, wait. That’s another movie entirely.

This movie isn’t coming out until 1-18-08, but people are going nuts trying to figure out what the monster is, if there’s more than one monster, if it has anything to do with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (it doesn’t), and . . . is that a demon’s face in that girl’s hair?

What We Know

  • Cloverfield is the code name of this untitled J. J. Abrams project.
  • Cloverfield is the name of a street near Abrams’s Bad Robot offices.
  • It is a monster movie.
  • It is not titled “Monstrous.”
  • Slusho.jp is part of the project’s viral marketing campaign.
  • The action takes place in NYC.
  • The monster is not Godzilla, Voltron, a giant lion, or a parasite.
  • It might be titled “Colossus.”
  • The action will be shown on a home video camera a la Blair Witch.
  • The number 3 may be significant: 3 flickers of the camera at the start of the trailer, the temperature on the news channel is 63 (6-3=3), there are 3 roars, so there might be 3 monsters.
Three Monsters?

The 3 Monster theory is grabbing the imaginations of a lot of Cloverheads. According to In Case You Didn’t Know, biblical lore says that

Behemoth is the primal unconquerable monster of the land, Leviathan is the primal monster of the waters of the sea, and Ziz the primordial monster of the sky.

leading to the conclusion that

The first monster roar is accompanied by an earthquake (Behemoth).
The second monster roar is accompanied by a huge fireball (Leviathan, for it can breathe fire).
The third monster roar is accompanied by the flying Statue of Liberty head (Ziz).

“I saw it, it’s alive, it’s huge!”

This line can be heard pretty clearly in the trailer. But an industrious zealot posting to imdb.com actually slowed down, stretched out, and otherwise enhanced the sound clip to end the raging debate as to whether the line is actually “I saw it, it’s a lion . . .” or “They saw it in the light . . .” or “I saw it, it’s a guy, with shoes.”

Can this movie possibly live up to all hype? Can the monster be anything but a disappointment? Is there even a monster or are Abrams and crew waiting for the Internet People/Cloverheads to come up with a good idea? Nothing against J. J. Abrams, I freaking love “Lost,” but the Lost smoke monster has kind of been a disappointment so far.We’ll see. on 1-18-08. And not a minute before.

If you want to waste your weekend on Cloverfield:
  • Watch the kick-ass trailer over and over and over . . .
  • Go to the Slusho site and work out the clues (and enjoy the complimentary acid trip!)
  • Compare three versions of the teaser poster
  • Visit the MySpace pages of some of the characters:
  • * Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Blue Oyster Cult.