Old School Scary or New School Trend?

Posted: April 27, 2013 in Horror Films

Many different archetypes come into play in the world of modern horror, the ever popular machete wielding psycho and the knife fingered pedophile are a couple of industry staples; what better time to change it all up? Twenty or thirty years ago these villains may have been enough to get your blood pumping and any right minded person who watched these movies would never go camping at crystal lake or be excited when their family moved to Elm street. The truth is that these static and easily avoidable situations simply no longer cut it. People are getting harder to frighten, and all of the easily achievable shocks and awes usually come in the form of gore porn like the Saw and Hostile franchises. Where does this leave the future of the horror industry?

Many great ideas have come out of the industry think tank recently; most notable of these new ideas may be the introduction of stories with an unstoppable force, an idea that has been utilized by the foreign film market for years. Sure, Jason and Freddy could be grouped in this elite category of fiends, but the truth is that they were not used to their potential simply because of the need for American audiences to have a sense of closure; or more appropriately a rational excuse for people to close their eyes at night…

The oceans are safe because Richard Dreyfuss blew Jaws up with an oxygen tank (busted on myth busters btw…).

Jason is bound to Crystal Lake.

Freddy is bound to Elm street.

And…

Every time Predator comes to L.A. Danny Glover lays the smack down!

The influx of Japanese themes and ideas in the early 2000’s brought a new scary kid to the block. In 2002 The Ring really threw traditional American horror for a loop. Followed up by The Grudge in 2004 these stories kept Americans screaming and coming back for more. What is the big difference?

NO CLOSURE!

Just when the tension is alleviated an anorexic kid comes out of the TV or a demonic gurgle echoes from the darkness. The protagonists usually admit defeat at this point, most put up a fight of course… But we all know how that ends. The beginning of the next episode of the franchise will have a piece of shameless exposition that touches on the details of our hero’s death (it’s still bad taste for the protagonist to die in the film itself, of course).

Now to turn this discussion on its head once again…

What if we want a movie that has more than an unstoppable bad ass to fuel the tension and keep the story moving forward?

This is where classic American horror films excelled. Rosemary’s Baby was a smart and sexy thriller that touched on HUMAN emotions, Kubrick’s rendition of Stephen King’s The Shining proved that “sometimes human places, create human monsters,” and The Exorcist showed that sometimes dark forces can show themselves in familiar forms.

Why the genre regressed to slasher films in the first place is not hard to understand, but where are these more intellectual horror films now?

They may be out there if you look…

Let’s get some reader feedback!

Which modern horror film has kept you thinking? Which ones have kept you up at night?

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