Those crazy kids!

Posted: July 18, 2013 in Theme & Creative Devices

As I sit here watching Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece, Psycho I find myself entertained. In fact I find myself transported back to a time when I was eight or nine years old and up way past my bedtime with a blue and white “fuzzy cat” blanket pulled up to my chin. I remember seeing the black life’s blood of Vera Miles coiling down the drain like an oily black serpent and thinking, “what the hell is wrong with that guy? Why would he just kill her?” I can’t say that it kept me up that night or the next, but I know that I didn’t want to take a shower for a month or two, the point is that the visuals stuck with me and the possibilities of my own personal version of Norman Bates were always lurking.  Flash forward to 1975 and the terror has moved from the shower to the unstoppable force from below the sea, Jaws was even more terrifying to me, I couldn’t even swim in a pool without the light on in fear of having my tiny body ripped in two. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Jaws as it was one of the first “scary” movies that I got to experience with my oldest daughter. I remember her eyes, big and focused on the screen. I couldn’t wait to ask her if she was scared when the credits started to roll and she gave me a wise-ass smile and said that she just wanted to see what happened. She wasn’t even scared, not even a little bit! Given, she is a few years older than I was when I first saw the film, but I have to admit I was expecting a little more of a reaction.

My thoughts immediately went to some of the new wave horror that has been pooping up…oh sorry Freudian slip… popping up over the last ten or so years. By this I am talking mostly about the shock and awe inspired movies in the style of the Saw and Hostel franchises, that in my opinion are a small step above pornography for vampires. The point is that things have changed and the definition of horror has changed along with it.

Don’t get me wrong, of course I think that gore has a place in scary movies, but when it drives the story more than the characters and the plot combined I have to take a pass on that film.

I do pose a question to all of you horror fans out there; are modern viewers going to have to settle for this new flat-plotted status quo or are we ready for a renaissance in the horror business?

  1. James Gammill says:

    Horror relys on fear, and on love. A person who fears nothing, loves nothing. (First Knight – Imagine that line spoken in Sean Connery’s voice). What do you love and fear to lose? Fear of losing your life or intact body is just too crude. Effective horror is more subtle; the privacy and safety of your own shower, the carefree swim in the ocean, the love and respect of your family and friends,etc. these things make for good stories. Blood and gore will have an appeal for a time for the emotionally lazy.

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