Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The problem with modern horror films

Ever since the greatest horror film classics, horror has become a disaster. With all of the CGI and other highly advanced technology we should expect people to be terrified. Unfortunately, this isn't the reaction horror movies give us anymore. When i asked several people their thoughts on said horror movie, the responses are typically "It wasn't scary" as if they were supposed to jump. It doesn't make me shake in fear, it just makes me laugh at how absurd the horror genre has got.

Growing up as a kid, i remember watching my first horror film - Child's Play. I was terrified because Chucky was a child's nightmare come to life. The scenes were intense and the fear built up dramatically. I was afraid of the unknown and unexplainable mysticism of the doll. I've also seen movies such as "Nightmare on Elms Street", "Scream", "Exorcist", etc. I was shocked at the intensity and suspense. The villains of the story were original and shocking. The plot was original and progressive. There's character development and thought provoking moments.

Here are several tactics that got old fast:

1) Jump scares - Countless times, i've seen the same predictable killer's face appear on cam after the victim slowly looks out the window. Countless times, i've seen a chick make stupid mistakes as she runs screaming away from a killer. She's all battered and bloody as she trips over a log. When i watch a cliche horror film, i predict the many "made ya look!" moments. It's the same old tactics. Jump scares are not thrilling anymore because so many films have used them. I don't jump anymore, i just zone out.

2) Gore - When i watched "Saw", i wasn't really scared - i was disgusted. Many horror films use gore as a means to scare the audience to thinking it's horrifying when it's not. As i recall, one YouTube user said "If a killer butchered my friend, i'd be angry!" Don't get me wrong, i like gore but when there's no tension building up - it becomes torture porn. The reaction that the creators want to give the audience goes out the window when all they promote is senseless violence.

3) Vamps, killers, ghosts, demons, etc. - After watching "Night of the living dead", zombie films became a joke. What separated that movie from most is that you could see the dehumanized faces of those who were once dead. Not to mention that the tension built up while leaving a bit of mystery on who the zombies are. The earliest film "Dracula" was very disturbing and iconic. After that, vampires became a laughing stock. Demons are also old as we suddenly see them turn violent and levitate. People are just rehashing the same themes. I'm not saying that they should stop producing them, simply to change their approach.

Modern day horror film fans have forgotten what horror was all about. What i've learned from watching many horror films and comparing them is that it's not about the things i've listed. I used to think that if i didn't jump or tremble in fear, the movie wasn't scary. I later realized the problem wasn't the movie, it was my definition of scary. Watching films like "The Babadook" and "The Omen" made me reconsider what real horror is. The art form was intended to implant a disturbing thought into your mind about human nature.

Sadly, people dislike thinking. They don't want to think about character development, plot twists, foreshadowing, etc. They want instant gratification now. They just want to see egotistical and ignorant teens get killed. They want to see the same ideas with the same characteristics. No one's saying we ought to stop producing those types, only that we focus on the structure of the art. 

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