Topic: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

Discuss?

Last edited by Vasquez (2012-11-17 09:59:15)

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

Well "we" as in Horror fans, naturally love and know and discuss the genre. I am sure any one of us on this forum have already been asked by non horror fans what we think about a certain movie or how it was done ect. That knowledge and love we have is the key. I like to meander off the beaten Horror path and explore Indie movies, they excite me, there I find people who love Horror as much as I do, with limited budget and great ideas and actors that are believable.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

By strapping them to a chair and forcing them to watch extreme japanese horror until they are brainwashed?

big_smile I joke. Respect is different from enjoying it I suppose. I often get asked how I can watch "that stuff" and enjoy it. It's pretty hard to explain without looking like a sadistic animal but most people who know me know that loving my genre as much as I do, it hasn't turned me into a homicidal maniac anymore than them watching romcoms has turned them into Hugh Grant. I hate rom coms but respect them for giving people who like them enjoyment.

I'm like you TDSR, I like to wander off into the unknown on occasions. Usually I'm right to do so, other time I just wish you could unwatch stuff!

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

You must reduce the analysis to the very base and to the simplest expression to answer the question. How can you respect a genre that conveys ideas and values that are negative, violent and repulsive?

Horror is the darkest part of the human being, it's there, and you are attracted or not, through films, literature, ect., because it's part of our own fears and often it is what guides us.

When you think of it, you can't respect horror, but horror respect you and choose you sometimes.

We're all twisted minds.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

^^ I would force them to watch horror films of what they hate the most.


What I will do for the horror genre is continuosly adding horror related stuffs in all kind of things.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

Interesting question...unfortunately I think Horror will never be "respected" in the mainstream culture.   Lately, it almost seems as if people think it is cool to say "oh I loved that movie because it was so bad" or "that movie is so bad it's good" even when they are talking about a movie that I would consider a very good film.  I overheard someone at work saying how much she loved Trueblood and then she proceeded to apologize for it because it was a horror/fantasy genre TV show.  Why did she feel the need to say it was trashy?  why can't she just say she likes it period?   I quite often hear this from non-horror friends.  They will say how much they liked this movie or that TV show and then proceed to rip it apart and call it Juvenile, Trashy, or Cheesy!  Why is that?

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

Unfortunately, we can't.  Thanks to lazy filmmakers who rely on the fact that in a horror film the genre itself is the star, and thanks to forty years of tits-and-gore horror being accepted as the norm by the vast majority of the horror audience, we've allowed the genre to become irreversibly tainted.  If Silence of the Lambs didn't convince folks what the horror genre is capable of -- or other masterful horror flicks like The Blair Witch Project, or Dawn of the Dead, or Halloween -- then nothing is ever going to.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

^^
Ah, but many/most people don't consider Silence of the Lambs to be a horror film.  That was a "thriller", while the inferior sequels were then considered horror.  I've heard people call Scream a comedy(?!?!).  It seems if a horror film is good, it gets reclassified.  Rightly or wrongly (I think wrongly), people just don't want to think of horror as legitimate.  With the Video Nasties, and more currently, the Saw and Hostel films, only the most "controversial" films get any press.  If a horror film is acceptable to the masses, it's not really horror.  Only the outliers, the fringe movies, make it into a non-horror fan's consciousness.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

^^^ My argument exactly.  Horror has been so saturated with gore, nudity and poor writing over the last three decades that we now have an entire generation out there who wouldn't recognize a GOOD horror film if it slapped them in the face. 

Silence of the Lambs is about a psychopath who skins his female victims to make himself a woman-suit from their flesh.  If that ain't horror, I don't know what is.  But thanks to the majority of genre filmmakers over the last three decades, it's tits and gore which have come to define the genre.  So "logic" dictates than since Silence had very little gore and almost no nudity, then it must not be a horror film.

We can only blame the filmmakers and the fans themselves that horror has so little respect among general movie-goers.  They made crap flicks and folks swallowed them up, and never bothered asking for something of more substance. 

But I remember when horror was about scaring people, about giving us characters we cared about and didn't want to see die, about telling a good and involving story.  Nudity and gore were perks, not bonuses, and filmmakers didn't pander to the lowest common denominator.  But those days are long gone, and I don't foresee them ever coming back.  Sure we'll get an odd quality film here and there, and fans will love it, but then it'll just be right back to tits and innards, because people raised on junk food don't have the pallet for fine dining.

And I am fully aware of how much a snob that makes me sound, but I'm fine with that.  If it's a sin to demand more of a genre which I know is capable of better, then my fat ass is going straight to hell.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

LoudLon wrote:

^^^ My argument exactly.  Horror has been so saturated with gore, nudity and poor writing over the last three decades that we now have an entire generation out there who wouldn't recognize a GOOD horror film if it slapped them in the face. 

Silence of the Lambs is about a psychopath who skins his female victims to make himself a woman-suit from their flesh.  If that ain't horror, I don't know what is.  But thanks to the majority of genre filmmakers over the last three decades, it's tits and gore which have come to define the genre.  So "logic" dictates than since Silence had very little gore and almost no nudity, then it must not be a horror film.

We can only blame the filmmakers and the fans themselves that horror has so little respect among general movie-goers.  They made crap flicks and folks swallowed them up, and never bothered asking for something of more substance. 

But I remember when horror was about scaring people, about giving us characters we cared about and didn't want to see die, about telling a good and involving story.  Nudity and gore were perks, not bonuses, and filmmakers didn't pander to the lowest common denominator.  But those days are long gone, and I don't foresee them ever coming back.  Sure we'll get an odd quality film here and there, and fans will love it, but then it'll just be right back to tits and innards, because people raised on junk food don't have the pallet for fine dining.

And I am fully aware of how much a snob that makes me sound, but I'm fine with that.  If it's a sin to demand more of a genre which I know is capable of better, then my fat ass is going straight to hell.

i've said it before and i'll say it again this loudlon bloke talks sense smile . Zombies are making the horror genre more respected in mainstream culture  with " The Walking Dead" although i truly hope that " World War Z" isn't going to undo all that.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

I routinely point others to The Walking Dead as the kind of approach I'd love to see a return to in horror films.  Smart horror, with genuine suspense and tension, and believable characters that involve us on an emotional level.  Even the characters we dislike we become attached to, because they embody points of view we can understand within the context of the world they live in.  That's all you need to generate suspense easily: characters you care about placed in situations which threaten their well-being. 

Conversely, I point folks to American Horror Story as the kind of approach which has all but left the genre a laughing stock.  Horror for the attention-span deprived.  Vapid and gratuitous in every sense, with cardboard characters (Jessica Lange brings a touch of class, but the result is nevertheless the equivalent of spit-shining a turd).  All sizzle, no steak, with all the crass and base emotional impact of a child frying ants with a magnifying glass.

If the genre is ever going to get back the respect it had before the 80s, it's going to need a whole lot more of the former and a shit-ton less of the latter.  I'm sure others will disagree, but that's my take.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

So after reading others post about this, I'll step in and say my take on it all.

About what Lon and Az were talking about, if a horror film is popular it gets thrown into another genre and not isn't claimed as a horror film. Lets take your examples for a second, Scream said to be a comedy. One of the reasons it is popular is, because the movie doesn't solely rely on horror to entertain it's audience, it has more moments of comedy in the film to satisfy a bigger group of people while still at it's roots being a horror movie. Of course it's a horror movie, but it uses other elements and can make a bigger audience like it (take what you want from that). As for Silence of the Lambs, I always thought of it as a thriller for some reason.

But as for the horror genre to get more respected in general, I don't think it can. I think it's trampled down upon this road of nudity, horrible deaths (in the films), etc. But that is what horror is all about and certain people will always have a problem with how that is portrayed in movies. And with the amount of these 'torture porn' films being made now, that's certainly not going to help it among the public. The horror genre was most popular in the 70s/80s (in my opinion) and I think it was the general public's mindset at that point of time and what their interests were. Now, it has changed and horror is still the same as it ever was.

You have fans like us on the forums, who love horror out and out but the majority of the public? They have a view on horror which is most likely negative and that won't change cause they won't watch horror movies unless they have some other aspect to the movie than just 'killing' and so on. Go look at Cabin in the Woods and popular that was, was it because it was a true horror movie? No, because it had parts of comedy to it and horror wasn't the main front but had elements.

People will probably disagree with me, but that's my two cents on the subject.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

I agree with everything you said, except I disagree that nudity and horrible deaths are what horror is about.  Horror is about the threat of death/fear of dying in an unnatural way, yes, but I don't believe nudity has anything to do with horror at all.  I completely disagree with the age-old notion that there is a link between sex and death; I don't find sex horrific, and I'm not titillated by death.  I think the only reason the two became linked in film is that because they're both easy to execute in film.  And I find it unfortunate for the genre that of all the other primal emotions which could have been used alongside fear, some chump had to go and drag carnal desire into it.

That's not to say that there aren't filmmakers who handle sex and death very well and draw interesting philosophical comparisons between the two.  For instance, David Cronenberg has built himself quite an impressive list of films which incorporate both to fascinating degrees.  But again, while I believe the threat of unnatural death is a necessity in a horror film, I don't feel the same about nudity.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

^ I never said that's what horrors is all about, I just used them for example because that was in a lot of horror movies (and still is) at the time. But I do get what you are saying. smile

Last edited by Scavenger of Human Sorrow (2012-11-17 17:30:12)

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

We can't "make" non-fans of the horror genre, who are mainstream film fans, respect the horror culture. Nor can the mainstream culture "make" us horror fans respect that culture.

I do believe that the mainstream culture does in fact respect the horror genre to some degree. Movies such as Psycho, The Birds, The Shining, and Silence of the Lambs, are great examples of horror films that are well respected by the mainstream culture, now and forever. The thing about the horror genre is that it's not as popular as the other genres. Why? Don't ask me...  That doesn't mean though that it's not respected.


To answer the question posed? One thing I think would help the genre become more accepted and respected by the mainstream culture would be to have more "A" list actors/actresses cast in horror films.

Last edited by Underdog (2012-11-17 20:00:28)

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

This is how I see it: We've actually been trying to make it more respected in mainstream culture. It's called Hollywood horror, and at large we don't like that kind of stuff very much. So to answer the question in the topic title: I'm afraid we cannot do that anymore.

Last edited by Levi (2013-05-24 16:10:33)

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

I dont think it can be morw respected only because the people who dont watch them cant imo. It like trying to make me watch a romantic comedy. Not going to happen.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

I think that there will always be exceptions that will make outsiders take closer look at the genre, but as a whole the genre will generally be overlooked by mainstream society. Films like Rosemary's Baby and the Exorcist in the 60's/70's, or The Walking Dead now, gather respect, but a lot of those same people who are watching the Walking Dead won't be going to see the new horror flick in theatres. But almost since it's inception horror films have been marginalized, either as immature, or needlessly gory, or just generally anti-social. I don't think it's that diffferent now than it was in the 50's.

Like others have said the only way to bring respect back to the genre is to make films that are intelligently made, with relatable characters (a key element to The Walking Dead, and also the reason I think the first Saw was so successful). Or at the least make them more mainstream accessible and not just pander to the blood and tits crowd. Cabin in the Woods is a good example. It was successful because it had a good blend of comedy and horror, but also had interesting characters and an original plot.

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Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

I don't think horror should be respected by mainstream culture. By definition, the horror movie is the ideological opposite of what is mainstream.. It's better kept on the fringe, for the people who can handle it. Sadistic violence should not be a mainstream value..

I think you guys think that if it's not accepted by the mainstream, then it's not perceived as legitimate? The mainstream is really just a value system...

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

I don't want the mainstream to accept horror, all I want it to do is to respect the genre and recognise its social and intellectual aspects you find in beautiful but scary films like The Devils Backbone or The Orphanage - to name but 2.

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Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

Vasquez wrote:

I don't want the mainstream to accept horror, all I want it to do is to respect the genre and recognise its social and intellectual aspects you find in beautiful but scary films like The Devils Backbone or The Orphanage - to name but 2.

well mainstream culture might not recognise those aspects.. but who cares? Academia does.. and that's all that really matters....

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

I think horror for horror sake is degrading to the Genre.  What I mean by that is, having violence for the sake of violence, or gore for the sake of gore is pointless in the bigger picture, but gives short term satisfaction to those who enjoy it.

Rather, I think the horror genre should aim to make people reflect on certain aspects of human nature.  Films such as SAW accomplishes this by raising the question of "How far are we willing to go to preserve out lives?", "Will the process of preserving our lives destroy the very thing that makes us human?"

That's what makes a successful horror film I believe.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

No more stupid horny teenagers having pointless sex. I know we all like it, but we aren't going to be taken seriously as long as that's in there. No more cliched plots. No more sequel cash grabs. But really, if we got rid of stuff like that our favorite genre wouldn't be nearly as fun.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

Well you have to remember that the movie industry like any industry is profit motivated.  If you can cash in on sequels, then they're going to do it.

Re: How Can We Make the Horror Genre More Respected In Mainstream Culture

JessChan wrote:

I think horror for horror sake is degrading to the Genre.  What I mean by that is, having violence for the sake of violence, or gore for the sake of gore is pointless in the bigger picture, but gives short term satisfaction to those who enjoy it.

Rather, I think the horror genre should aim to make people reflect on certain aspects of human nature.  Films such as SAW accomplishes this by raising the question of "How far are we willing to go to preserve out lives?", "Will the process of preserving our lives destroy the very thing that makes us human?"

That's what makes a successful horror film I believe.

Totally agree with you.