Monday, September 20, 2010

The Horror Movie

To start off, let me congratulate all the great directors and producers of all the great horror movies of our time, and the times before us. May they live long and prosper on scaring the living shit out of teenagers across the nation, and across the world. They have mastered the art of the blood cannon, the low angle shots, and that suspenseful music that we have all grown to love, and in some cases hate. They have pioneered the movie industry, and although they have yet to win an award for best picture, we still love them to death, literally.

Over the years the horror movies have gotten less and less about true terror, and more about shock effect, and gore. Now don’t get me wrong I love to be grossed out to the point where I can no longer eat popcorn when I go to see movies, but there is no doubt that the stylistic flare of these movies have changed. First of all they are in color, which something that the original Frankenstein, Nosferatu, and The Wolf Man couldn’t grasp, but it’s also the level of acting, and even the plots.

So we’ve gone from black and white vampires and zombies walking around slowly, and the camera shifting away when people were killed, to ghost girls crawling out of TV’s and guys with chainsaws running around chopping people in half, all with as much blood as possible. And in between those two extremes, were the building years, where they pushed the envelope as far as they could go, till they achieved that perfect R rating.

Mingled in the growing years, we sure pushed out some great ones, where big name actors found their break, doing these teenage horror movies. For example John Travolta got his start doing the cult classic Carrie, and Johnny Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Both great actors, that started doing movies in which, they both died, but nevertheless got them noticed by big name industries.

Through the transitional period mainly the 60s – 90s, all the scenarios possible were exhausted, so what was to happen later? Unoriginally, Copycats, and the most eminent of all, the sequel. Oh the sequel, that movie or in many cases movies, where the killer has come back after no doubt being killed hundreds of times, to wreak havoc on new unsuspecting victims.

Then when all the sequels were tired out, all the possible spin offs, knocks offs, and all the other offs that come with the genre, we’re left with what we have today. What is that you ask? Well I’m talking about the remake of course. That movie where they butcher the old story, use actors that people have actually heard of, and make it as gory as possible to compensate for the lack of special effects in the 70s and 80s.

So when it all comes down to it, there is no such thing as an original horror movie anymore, they’ve all been done a million times. So that brings me to the point of this whole tirade, cracking on, and praising the industry. As a society we have come to love the genre, we have come to worship at the feet of those like Wes Craven and Eli Roth, we have lived on the torture and pain of other, nevertheless that it’s not real. We have become so obsessed with blood and gore, that we expect more as the movies go on, to a point where nothing is off limits. Not slicing off the Achilles tendon of a torture victim to have him flop around on the floor, or the infamous “head on the stick” where the spinal cord is severed at the point where the victim is literally a head on a stick, or the constant peeling of skin off numerous body parts.

As a result of all of this, all the components I have discussed we have come up with 3 categories to the horror genre. Type one, the Slasher Movie. This is the movie for all of you teenagers out there that can’t get enough of Jason or Leatherface, and their countless victims. Type two, the Psychological Thriller. This is what I believe is the true horror movie, where the directors rely on the creep factor rather than blood, and while there is some gore, it lends to the story, and you have to actually think about what’s going on. And last type, type three, the Supernatural Movie. This is the movie that has both of the components, it has the gore factor, and the creep factor, but it also has some level of supernatural activity, some level of something that’s not right, like a ghost, or a mysterious video tape that kills people.

So now that we know what the public likes, especially the teenage population, we can explore more in depth on each category. And although how mundane I feel each movie might be, each horror movie has some appeal to some audience, as well as an underlying theme. Some themes are very in your face, like the importance of family, or that you should follow your dreams, but some are subtle like when faced with dire circumstances that best comes out in you, and you find your true self.

Some movies, especially the older ones, like from the 50s and 60s have underlying meanings. They hide in their layers something that was going on in the world at them time. For example, The Blob is really about the Red Scare, hence the blob getting redder and redder as it eats more people.

Basically what I’m trying to say is horror movies are a way of life, we find something in them that we can relate to and we keep coming back for more. We can relate with the characters, and although most of the time we would never find ourselves in a situation like the ones in horror movie, we can figure out what we can do in a situation like that. Horror movies will be around for along time, they will continue to be gory knock offs, and never ending sagas where the killer never seems to die, but nevertheless they will continue.

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