Saturday, October 13, 2012

The State of Horror Movies Today

There are few movies I can say lately that have actually scared me to the point where I had all the lights on and  plenty of things making sound so that I wasn't sitting in silence. The last one  that I can really remember doing that to me was White Noise because fuck ghosts. When you grow up in century-plus old houses your whole life that people died in, you hear ghosts in everything. So White Noise freaked me the fuck out and I texted a friend through the whole damn thing, because I was watching it alone. I recently watched Insidious,  and that had elements of White Noise along with demons, exorcisms, psychics, possessions, murder... it was like a mixed bag of horror, but it wasn't really nightmare fodder for me (it should be noted I don't have nightmares).

Hahaha wtf this is perfect
I don't think it's that I've become numb to the horror genre, growing up in the 1980's which was Renaissance of Freddy, Jason, and Michael Meyers, or the 1990's with Chucky (okay, I admit, Chucky did give me the creeps, because I don't like automata, and a doll moving by itself is less possession and more automata to me).  I grew up watching horror, Tales from the Crypt on HBO (I loved the Crypt Keeper, there was something endearing about him) and all the new movies rented from the video store. My parents took me to see Pet Sematary at the local drive-in when I was 9, and once it came out on cable, they taped it and I watched it on repeat every day of my summer vacation. I'm not numb to it, and it's not that I've seen it all, it's just that it's not scary to me.

Maybe that's not it, either.

You see, I'm one of those annoying movie-talkers. I can't enjoy something unless I'm ripping it apart. Horror movies these days leave too many gaps, too many plot holes and inconsistencies for me to notice, to ferret out and expose. By then, I've figured the movie out and I'm no longer entertained by it. Screenwriters and directors are getting sloppy. They're churning out crap to make release dates in order to gain the top spot in the box office. Sure, less intelligent, less discerning moviegoers will enjoy something that will leave me bored to tears. I enjoy gore too. Don't get me wrong. That's why I enjoyed the reboot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre but honestly? The girl and baby live? Fuck that noise.

I want an intelligent, well thought-out horror movie. The Saw movies offered that, until they kept churning out sequels for the money machine that I never bothered to see. But when I first saw Saw, I was mesmerized. Here was gore, here was a mindfuck, here was a brilliant killer who didn't kill. It was executed so well. The next two movies worked so well also (although Saw 2, I admit, was weak). It was almost cerebral. The FX series American Horror Story has me absolutely in love. It has a certain creepiness, a lot of intelligence, and a subtlety to the horror that I can really appreciate. In the first season, there are characters that are dead that you don't realize until the season is almost over. If you can, pick it up in stores, season two starts this Wednesday, and looks to be awesome, from the teasers they've put on Facebook.

Tonight I saw Sinister, which I had been looking forward to since I saw the first trailer. I'm not going to say that I was disappointed, because I wasn't, but it wasn't all I had hoped. Certain plot elements were introduced but not built up enough or enough back story presented. It was, however, scored exceptionally well, and there was a delicious creep factor. It just needed more. Sinister just didn't feel like a complete film to me. Don't let this prevent you from seeing it-- there were some great scary moments, jump out at you moments, and as I mentioned, scored exceptionally well to fit what was happening in the scene. I  will note that in the previews before the movie there was one for a movie called Mama that looks really, really promising. Like, creepy dead shit good.

Please don't let it suck.


  1. I loved "The Ring". The movie was pretty well done. The color scheme used, effective half-second shots rather than a lingering camera. Plus, when I saw it, I had never heard of it. It was simply the only movie playing that night that I hadn't seen, and I was bored. I had no expectations to meet. Then, the movie did the best thing a horror can do: made me think about it later.
    That later was on the walk home. Alone. At midnight.

    1. I had forgotten about The Ring. By comparison, the American remakes of the original Japanese movies like The Ring, The Grudge, etc. are watered down. Japanese horror is an amazing genre. It... gets in you.