June 19, 2011

Horror Just Isn't What It Used To Be

Is it just me or do horror films just not seem the same anymore? Maybe I am just getting old but I don't get the same feeling from watching them. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic filmmakers out there making excellent movies and I still get excited about them. I'm talking about the look and feel of them, and the feeling they elicit from me.

Discovering horror flicks in the 80s, as I did, the only way to see these movies was either on Vhs (or Betamax), laser disc or if I was lucky at the theater. They rarely played on TV, but even if they did it was not the same. Freddy, Jason, Michael and Chucky, amongst many others, were spewing out sequels left, right and center and were plastered over Fangoria (and its spinoff's), movies like Intruder, Demons and Fright Night were kicking about and I lapped them all up. I still get that same feeling from watching these flicks, and earlier flicks from the decades that preceeded them.

Maybe it's the fashions of the day, or not having faces I recognized at the time which added to the tension? Maybe however it is technology in all its guises. From technology within the movies, to the technology used to create and share them. Films looked different, hence they were called Films, as they were generally shot on film. Now we have digital film, video and whatever else. It may sound stupid but films DO look different. Films had artwork on their posters and video sleeves, now we have photos or pictures; digitally constructed and soulless. There are exceptions of course, but in general that is the case. Films had Scores as opposed to Soundtracks. Halloween had Don't Fear The Reaper, although it is Carpenter's score we remember. Even if they did have soundtracks as Demons and Fright Night did, they complimented the film, we weren't getting assaulted by tunes that had no place being in the movie other than to sell CD's.

I still champion new and upcoming films and directors and will continue to do so, alas I know I won't ever get that feeling back, films won't ever look the same again and I will have to just live with it.

New horror flicks used to be an event, you waited with baited breath for their release. Now there are new films released every week, many without any passion displayed in their creation. Even the worst sequels of the 80s were trying to worthy films, now many movies are just seemingly constructed without any respect for the audience they hope to find.

On a slightly different note, but still in the general ballpark, is anyone else growing tired of ultra-real horror? Not necessarily so-called torture porn in its many guises, just horror flicks in general that are all too rooted in the real(ish) world. I want to see the Boogeyman back, so please don't let me down Chromeskull, dumb characters getting what they deserved, boobies and blood, bring back the naive innocence I miss. Anything gory or extreme we have all seen by now, you can't go any further and Savini et al still did it best. CGI gore doesn't work, however hard you try, and as much as I love the Saw films we need to move away from that style of film.

Ultra-violent horror has been around for many years, I just have never known them to be quite this cruel in their attempts to grab our attention. Yes, of course there are good ones out there but we are rapidly approaching overkill. I think that is why, amongst other reasons, that Incidious was so successful. It was just a well crafted and scary film. It wasn't reliant on gore or cruelty to get across its story. Trick R Treat is another fine example of great modern horror.

Of course Horror goes through cycles and part of its movement to towards this ultra-violence was a reaction to what is going on in the world. Enough is enough already though, give me passion and fun for a change. 

There is, and always will be, a place for all breeds of horror films. In moderation. There is always an over-saturation of whatever is hot. Right now it seems to be ultra-real horror, back in the 80s it was the Slasher flick and so on. All good things in moderation though.

Anyway, did I have a point to all this? Probably, it just got lost in my ramblings... Oh yeah, I'm an old bastard harking back to the days of my youth and bitching about modern horror. That about sum it up? Not far short.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen Mate, horror is nothing like it was in the days of the old, boy I am old, anyways I aggree to that purpose horror has fallen hard. Ultra violent is just plain over done and boring to me this day and age, it's done over board and just plains gets under my skin as the same thing being done over and over and over again to the point its a lame snore fest or there's no real reason to watch it because you know the plot, dumb chick or stupid jock being held and tortured wow that sums it up. And yes we need more movies like Insidious scary not over gory torture, just plain classic fell to it.