Are Horror Fans Under Appreciated?

Serena

If you’re reading this article right now, you probably are one of the horror genre’s greatest aficionados/aficionadas. (Or at least you consider yourself to be.)  Being a horror fan, you are most likely very loyal and avid about cult actors only we would know, treat well-known special effects artists like they’re godly, and spend a lot of your hard earned cash buying multiple special/extreme/ultimate editions of your favorite horror movies just to show your support.

You spend hours in lines up at conventions to talk to your favorite actors and directors. You talk about the horror movies on your blogs, causing word of mouth of good horror films to horror fans. In spite of all the support we show, I sometimes feel that it’s never good enough when it comes to studios promoting the movies we want to see.

Now this never bothered me before. I would actually embrace the fact studios did not promote the lesser known horror films, because all the films felt personal to me. I enjoyed the fact that majority of people did not know the prized horror gems that I cherished. They felt like they were mine and mine alone and if they had been popular to general audiences, they would feel far too commercial to me. I didn’t mind feeling neglected and ignored, because I knew I was different than the rest. (Ironically enough, this is typically how all true horror fans feel. :P)

But over the past couple of years, I have noticed not only have we been ignored, but that we have become practically invisible to everyone except for us. We are the target audience when it comes to horror movies, but for some reason, studios have increasingly been catering to the NON-horror crowd. It’s like we are the geeks in high school and the studios are our best friends that are constantly trying to please the popular kids and trying to desperately fit in with their crowd, even when they don’t like anything about them.  This usually leads to them making an ass out of themselves for trying too hard. Studios bend over backwards to try to be stylish with their horror movies. They hire music video directors who just want a three picture deal, CW stars or non acting beauties that frequent the covers of Maxim or FHM, and they cut down the actual “horror” elements to get people to see their movies.  It’s as if our thoughts and our views do not mean anything when it comes to horror movies anymore, and the good horror movies that are out, are hardly shown due to the fact that studios think the movies won’t do well at the box office.

Let’s take Pathology for example. Pathology is a movie that was constantly talked about on major horror web sites. When I got to see the advanced screening of it in L.A, every horror aficionado cheered and appreciated how politically incorrect it was. It was not a movie made for mainstream audiences. It was a movie made for us, and what happened?  It opened on less than 100 screens, and I have yet to meet anyone outside of that screening that got to witness Pathology on the big screen.

Also, awards winners and crowd pleasers at film festivals hardly get any recognition outside of the festival circuit. Behind the Mask and Hatchet did amazingly well and were guaranteed to become instant cult classics with horror fans. However, when they showed up in video stores, I was lucky to find one copy of both of them on the bottom shelf. Although, when you think about it, those movies really are the fortunate ones, because most times the festival winners end up in distribution limbo. (Look how long it’s taken All the Boys Love Mandy Lane for god’s sakes.

Additionally, unless the studio company is Lionsgate, most prominent film studios don’t even give promising “R” rated mainstream horror films a chance either. Vacancy opened up last year one week before Spider Man 3, and was promptly forgotten about.  Unfortunately this makes me worried for the upcoming May 30th release of The Strangers. The film is opening alongside SATC:the movie(a.ka. women’s Transformers) and one week after Indiana Jones 4.  It unfortunately doesn’t have a chance of making a lot of money.

Last but not least, foreign horror films are the ones that are suffering the most in North America. Sure, as horror fans we see the increasing popularity of these films. However, these frightening gems like A l’interieur and Frontiere(s) are hardly heard of outside of horror audiences, due to the fact of the extreme violence and/or society’s “supposed” stigma of watching subtitled films.

This is why films like Rec are being remade before North American audiences can view the original or why Michael Haneke had to remake his obscure masterpiece, Funny Games shot for shot, just to make it more accessible to general audiences.

Now, I know I may sound a tad bitchy, but I’m tired of being ignored. (Aren’t you?) I just want to remind studios that devoted horror fans do not discriminate. WE watch the independent horror films as much as we watch the mainstream ones. WE are the ones that ignore the mostly always rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes and still go see the movies. WE are the ones that promote the films we want to see on popular horror media outlets. It’s time that studios start making movies just for us. Like George Romero had one of his characters say in Diary of the Dead, “there’s always audience for horror.” If you know this, then start CATERING to us. We don’t want to see has been rappers battle iconic horror villains. We are NOT afraid to read subtitles. (In fact, I don’t think this phobia is prominent in most people anymore. Didn’t Pan’s Labyrinth make a ton of money last year from general audiences?)

We just want to be appreciated. Is that too much too ask for? What your guys’ thoughts on this? Do you feel under appreciated?

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