Friday, December 11, 2015

How slashers can improve

Most modern day slasher films have failed to inspire creativity and original plots. Because of the same rehashed ideas, the genre is dying. Many horror directors are unnecessarily remaking classic films and butchering them. The results are poor quality and cheap imitations of successful films.

I don't think Hollywood cares if films are scary anymore, as long as people buy it. This is wrong on so many levels and i will explain why by giving a few examples of failed tactics:

* Jump scares - This is where you see a sudden appearance of a killer and you jump out of your seat. The problem with jump scares is that it's too repetitive. I see the terrified main character or characters sneak around to see if someone is lurking in the shadows only to find that a prank was pulled.

* Too much gore - The early pioneers of gory horror films were successful but now it's become the norm. When it's all gore and no plot, it's not scary - it's disgusting. Too much gore becomes cheesy rather than terrifying.

* No plot or character development - All the characters are the same kinds of people. Either they are helpless teens or cops who lack common sense. There's nothing special about any of the main characters.

* Cliche slasher villains - Many of them behave the same way. They almost always seem to slowly walk towards their victims and remain completely silent. They all seem to be rip offs of each other. Nothing truly stands out from them other than their appearance.

Now it's not to say that all modern films are terrible. There are exceptions as some modern horror films were successful despite negative criticism. How can slasher films improve?

* Innovate jump scares - Great jump scares spark curiosity then gradually build up tension, fear, and finally the climax. A fine example of a thrilling jump scare is featured in "The Strangers" when a strange woman knocks on Kristen's door. Notice that the director does not rush the jump scare. Instead, the director tries to make everything as natural as possible. There's no track playing in the background other than the music Kristen plays within the film. The blending of Kristen's slow paces followed by the sudden movements of her attackers, camera work, and short segments of music make the jump scares successful.

* Choose a scary setting - Why are films like "The Strangers" and the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" enticing to me? Because of the setting. The setting chosen makes you feel alone in the middle of the dark with no one to help you. It does not have to be in an abandoned warehouse for it to be scary, it can be in a simple neighborhood. The key is creating a frightening atmosphere within the mind of the viewer.

* Develop the killer - While fans of horror classics may love the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, i thought it was garbage. Mainly because Leatherface's character was very undeveloped compared to the remakes. The original Leatherface's appearance wasn't at all terrifying. He looked much like a ragdoll than a killer. The remakes dramatically changed him. The film "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" gave him a dark and twisted backstory. It revealed the tormented child-like and tormented human soul under a grotesque mask. Leatherface's appearance is also more intimidating as his size and behavior reflects that of a mentally disturbed adult. We also see him develop into an inhumane killer taking on the mask of human skin and wielding a chainsaw. While the remakes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre are gory, they still have character development.

* Develop plot twists - Making very successful plot twists to reach the film's climax are difficult, but rewarding. This is where the plot takes a quite different direction than the audience expected. Symbolism, the triumph of evil, unresolved conflict, tragic fall of heroes, or disturbing concluding thoughts can all intensify plot twists. A few examples of slasher films with disturbing endings are films such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, My Bloody Valentine (1981), and Halloween 4.

* Entertain the audience - Having the main characters slip and fall while running away from their attackers gets boring. A film becomes terrifying when the protagonists have used their skills against the villain to ultimately no avail. Having a diverse set of characters such as highly trained policemen, scientists, and average high school students can greatly shock the audience once you know how to use them.

* Induce terror - Horror does not need a violent and brutal killer to be terrifying. There are many different aspects (some mysterious) that create terror in an audience. There was nothing terrifying about Leatherface brutally murdering his victims. What made him terrifying was his apprehension of them at the commands of his family. It was also the environment that made him all the more scary.

* Recreate the genre - Rather than choose a violent killer, be creative. Mix in the plot:
aliens, supernatural spirits, mummies, goblins, and so forth. Films like "Black Christmas" were successful partially because of the different theme other than the norm (via Christmas).

My hope is that one day, horror movie directors will make slashers more entertaining by appealing to various audiences. If they are willing to co-operate with what fans want, the horror genre will be taken more seriously. Interested in the movies i mentioned? Click on the link below and get a chance to legally see an unlimited supply of horror films for a one-time fair price.

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