Future Horror ClassicsPoppaScotch
It’s impossible to predict the future popularity of films, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to try. Sometimes films get released with very little fanfare and stay buried for years until someone revives them and shows everyone their cultural significance. Of course this works the other way too when a film gets completely overhyped and it isn’t till years later that we are able to take a step back from the film and realize it for the poor effort that it is. While these both certainly do happen, the fact of the matter is that there is no way to determine where a film is going to end up after time has done its business. Think about it, did you ever think that Cheech and Chong’s up in Smoke would still be around and pretty commonly known in 2010? That right there is proof enough that there is no way to predict what films will stay with us and which will fade with time. Want I want to talk about today with you is the staying power of horror films released today.
As a horror fan, you have a pretty solid stable of films from which to base your growing foundation upon. Movies like Alien, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Poltergeist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Night of the Living Dead are all considered horror film classics by scholars, fans, and critics. Then again, at their time of release they were all seen as pieces of subversive entertainment that shocked and awed a slice of the movie going public that was sick and demented enough to seek out these types of movies. Sure, there were a handful of critics that praised these films, but the popular opinion tended to lean more towards an entertaining night out rather than a future spot in the National Film Registrar. Well it’s good to see that times have completely changed- ah who am I kidding, even today horror films are most likely relegated to sycophants, recently released criminals, and bored teenagers who couldn’t possibly have the mental capacity to recognize, let alone appreciate high art (don’t quote me on that, that was sarcastic and meant to poke fun at asshats who really do think like that. Apparently now I have to put this warning in due to prior misinterpretations of my editorials). So seeing that we are in the same position that we were in back in the 70s, are there any films released today that you feel will be praised in the future?
Sure I have my guesses in the matter. I feel that movies like Let the Right One In, 28 Days Later, The Orphanage, and Audition have their own artistic merits that could hold on for a long time. Also because of cultural impact, movies such as Saw, The Blair Witch Project, and Scream will be in the social consciousness for a long time if only relegated to "I Love the 00’s" shows on VH1. These are just purely speculative though because I have no way of knowing what films will stand the test of time and which ones won’t, but I have another huge fear that history will look back on these days of horror as a dark time filled with only unoriginal remakes.
Of course there were some really good horror film remakes that came out in the past decade or so, but you are going to have to dig deep into a pit of bad PG-13 studio fare to find a gold nugget like The Hills Have Eyes, Dawn of the Dead, or The Last House on the Left. It’s sad that this whole era in horror may be dismissed because of the sins of a few films but on the flip side, maybe these terrible remakes are actually working to help the cream rise to the top of the barrel.
Maybe 30 years from now, horror aficionados (all of your children who I assume you are raising to follow in your movie viewing footsteps, which are exactly what I plan to do someday) may look back at the 90s and the 00’s and see so many movies that are just blindingly terrible. It will be a generation of movies that the viewing public will try their damndest to forget about, until one young scrappy film student decides to write their thesis on horror films from the turn of the century only to discover gems like Inside, Session 9, Frailty, and REC. Their thesis will be published nationally with a new renaissance of classic films being celebrated and finally given the praise that they deserve. More importantly the movies will be treated like surviving war veterans who just lived though one of the bloodiest and most terrifying battles in all of war. This will be retroactively named "the great war of the water downed studio crap flicks". Of course in this future, the big movie studios have realized the error of their ways when the fans completely boycotted movies in the great theater rallies of 2022.
Ok maybe I got a little bit ahead of myself there, but I’m just throwing out some wild and crazy ideas that sound just ridiculous enough to actually happen. What I’m interested in hearing is what you all think. Do you think that horror movies released today could possibly have as much critical and cultural significance as something like Dawn of the Dead, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Do you think that the glory days of horror are all behind us and we are stuck to mire in a field of mediocrity till the end of times? Do you think that the heyday of horror hasn’t even happened yet? Well, whatever your theory is, share it with everyone! No one’s take on the future can be more insane that mine!