A large part of my time is often used to read reviews on horror films. Most of the time I do this after I have already seen the film to add another person’s point of view to my post viewing experience. It doesn’t often affect my view of the film and mainly I do it to see if anyone picked up on something that I missed. There are certain critics that I gravitate to because my thoughts and opinions on horror films in general often line up with what they believe. However, the quickest way that I can pinpoint a critic who is completely out of touch with the horror genre is when they mention that the movie in question “killed the horror genre” or more proof that “the horror genre is dead”. The horror genre is never going to go away and here are five reasons why.
The Classics: Movies like Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Thing, and The Exorcist are all timeless classics in the horror genre that constantly get revisited and re-appreciated by horror fans. Sometimes this comes down to nostalgia factor, but more often than not it comes down to the fact that these are all great films. No I’m not talking about just within the horror genre, but the fact that they have stood the test of time proving that they are special and important films in our cultural lexicon.
Whenever some critic says that the horror genre is dead, they refer back to a time when quality films like these were being produced and they refuse to look at other films released that year. Is this holding films unfairly to a higher standard? Maybe. The fact of the matter is that these films are forever with us to always be appreciated and watched again and again, and no one can take that away from us.
The New Blood:
There are some extremely interesting things going on in horror right now, and in the last 10 years. Films like The Hills Have Eyes, the French New Wave of horror (Inside, Martyrs), I Saw the Devil, and Hobo With a Shotgun just to name a few are all giving the viewers what they crave in horror.
Granted these films are pretty different to one another, but more importantly they are better and more engaging than the normal Hollywood dreck that gets fast tracked just to make a quick buck at the box office. Every year new horror filmmakers give us their vision on the genre and there don’t seem to be any signs of it slowing down, you just have to know where to look to find great films like these.
This kind of goes hand in hand with The New Blood category and it is a very real motivation behind modern horror filmmaking. Now, before I sound like a pretentious asshole who believes that there are only a hand full of “winning” slots in the horror genre, let me explain it this way. What filmmaker out there wouldn’t like the title of the most disgusting horror film that has ever existed?
Maybe they want to be the smartest horror filmmaker or the most shocking. It’s not about actually achieving that goal, it’s about comparing your project to other great films and attempting to surpass them. Will these filmmakers ever actually do that? Probably not, but that isn’t the point. The point is that there will always be filmmakers out there that will push themselves to achieve the greatest film that they can possibly make and not settle with something that is just “good enough”. They all know that you don’t want to see the same horror films over and over in a new shell (because they are fans too, and they know what it’s like), so they are fighting the good fight of great storytelling, great characters, and great horror set pieces with us the audience as the real winners here.
Everybody likes to be scared. It’s an adrenaline rush of being pulled into a story, getting scared at the prospect of what’s on screen, and then surviving it that make the horror genre so alluring. It’s a very simple yet effective way for someone to get a little zest in their life in a completely safe environment.
Believe it or not, there are people out there that don’t like getting scared at the movies because that feeling of dread isn’t something that they enjoy having, even if they do overcome the experience. Then again some people get that adrenaline rush from skydiving, motorcycle riding, or some other form of extreme activity and to each their own. Many people enjoy the genre specifically for this reason and that number is too many for it to be completely dead.
The Fans :
Attractive and rabid fans are what help make this genre great. People like you reading this right now are part of a community who have actively participated in conversations about horror films and mark them as some of your interests. We all have our reasons, but the the fact of the matter is that no matter how many ups or downs the genre has, web sites like this will continue and thrive because of passionate and caring people that can be united in a common interest. Sometimes these conversations get a little too heated but that’s ok.
The miracle is that they are even happening. Think about it, how many horror film sites are out there filled with people just like you. 100? 300? 100000000? Now name me 5 websites that explore fully and are dedicated to critical discussion on action films, or romantic comedies. You can’t think of any can you? Me neither, and that’s what makes us all so awesome, we are never, ever going to stop being passionate about this genre.