I don’t usually watch these films at all. The ones that I do are usually cerebral, suspenseful and clever. Some examples are Halloween, Alien, Exorcist III (didn’t find the first one as scary). I grew up watching Creature Double Feature all day Saturday, so I am very much into monster flicks. I love vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, witches and pretty much any monster film.
That is not what types of horror films are coming out in droves these days. The ones I avoid are overt, gory, cruel, and lacking creativity (Saw, Hostel).
Sadly it seems that many new horror films in the past decade fall into this later group and mainly seem to be still in the infancy of their craft. I liken this period to the era of synthesized music in the 1980’s when because so many nifty advancements came out in the world of synthesizers, every band over-used the new sounds and the music eventually sounded dated rather than transcending the time with good song craftsmanship, which many songs had but sadly ended up being buried.
It seems nowadays that the same has happened in the world of special effects and that horror movie producers are stuck in the “let’s show some realistic gross stuff” phase. I have never been less scared in my life. I am not horrified, just repulsed. This genre of film making, even though it resembles the elements of earlier horror flicks, bears none of the spirit of the older film genre. Let me explain.
If you have ever seen the original Halloween, there are three distinct acts in that film. Act 1, you are not sure exactly what the danger is, you know there is something coming, and you get glimpses of it, and based on the first scene of the movie, you are pretty sure that it is going to be something truly evil, this part of the movie is my absolute favorite. Act II, the killing starts. YAWN! No longer scary, and at times I the need to go and do something else. Some interesting ones in this particular movie and it did make the plot move along, so I didn’t mind too much. What this movie did in Act III was bring the same elements that haunted me in Act I right back into the mix. Suddenly, the danger disappears, but doesn’t go away. You know it is there, and because you saw Act II, you know what it can do, but now it is suddenly quiet again. I have never been more scared at a movie.
Was there gore? Sure. Was there some brutal elements? Yes. But it didn’t just throw it at you to try to eventually wear you down to the point where you just couldn’t take it anymore. That’s not horror, that’s torture.
My horror Movie Viewing Rules:
- No gratuitous gore
- Spooky is scary
- The unseen and unknown are much more frightening
- Make me think about something that I haven’t before
- Sadism is sadism, not horror
Movies that fit my viewing rules:
- Angel Heart (gory yes, but doesn’t overwhelm the film)
- Exorcist III
- Jacob’s Ladder
- 28 Days Later