Some people might question why anyone would like being scared in the first place. Well, I always answer that question with “why would anyone enjoy sitting in a sad movie that makes them cry?” The answer is the same for both. We as humans thrive off of emotions and movies are a safe outlet to feel those emotions. Over the last several years, I feel horror films have taken a significant downturn in the ability to scare audiences. While the horror genre isn’t going anywhere, something needs to change. These are some of the problems that plague the horror genre.
No more “found footage” movies!
I am really getting sick and tired of watching horror movies through the eyes of someone video taping the events on a video cam.
I personally call this genre of film the “what bullshit excuse will the person use for not putting the camera down” genre. The success of The Blair Witch Project brought this type of film into the mainstream. That was in 1999! Since then, we have witnessed what seems like an infinite amount of these films come and go. While you might laugh that a movie like this seems to last in theater’s for only a few short weeks and made what seems like a shitty $5-$10 million dollars, (which would be considered a total bomb for any other type of film) keep in mind, these kinds of films are so cheap to produce ( 500K – 1 million dollars) So even if the film makes only 5-10 million dollars at the box office, it’s turning a profit. That’s why they keep making them. This type of film is only hurting the horror genre. Why care about quality in writing a scary film when the production costs are so cheap that it will almost always turn a profit.
Lots of gore isn’t scary. It’s just gross.
I wonder if writers were starting to feel that viewers weren’t capable of being scared anymore. It’s as if they said “Screw it! I give up. If we can’t scare them, lets just toss more gore at them.” These types of films are known as “torture porn” films like Hostel & Saw fall into this category. It might make you squirm and you might turn away, but its not scary. ( I personally find it hilarious at times) Horror and violence obviously go hand and hand. Gore has a purpose. However, I don’t need to see bucket loads of it.
Be smart and use common sense in the story
I think almost every horror movie has a scene or two that goes against any common sense. People always split up, they don’t have a cell phone or any reception, 911 has a busy signal (which is almost impossible) they don’t avoid crappy lit areas where someone could be lurking. Is it really that difficult to avoid some of these in a story? Granted, sometimes these kinds of cliche situations can make the movie fun but it would just be nice to see a smart horror movie written that doesn’t have any of these pitfalls.
Lay off the haunted house movies for a while!
Do you think there is enough of them? I certainly do. Wikipedia lists 212 films that involve haunted houses. Movies with sound weren’t made until 1927. That’s only 88 years ago! 212 haunted house related films in roughly 88 years!? That’s a bit overkill. Give the category a rest!
Don’t show the creature or evil presence to much or to soon
Sometimes a movie comes along and has a good creepy factor. Maintaining that creepy factor can be a chore at times. In my opinion, once a movie starts throwing the creature or evil presence in your face to often, it means they have run out of ideas. That’s when everything can easily fall apart. A perfect example of this is the movie Jeepers Creepers. For a portion of this movie, it had great potential! The creature was driving around in a rusted out truck and wore a long coat with a cowboy hat. It was creepy. They did a great job at hiding its face.
You had no idea what to expect. Then they unveiled what it looked like to soon and kept putting it in front of the camera. From that point on the
mystery was gone and it just wasn’t scary anymore. It’s always better when you keep the audience guessing at what something looks like. Like dating, you always want to leave them wanting more. This movie gave up all the goods like a slutty horror movie high school cheerleader. A film like Alien is a perfect example of what you should do!
No CGI please
Horror movies aren’t well known for using much CGI. Good CGI costs money and studios typically don’t like sinking a lot of money into horror movie budgets. That being said, it doesn’t belong in horror movies anyway. Something is scary when it seems real. The second you realize something is obviously computer generated, it looses the scary factor. Furthmore, it won’t age well and stand the test of time. Go back and watch I am Legend (overrated!) Those CGI zombies just don’t do it for me. Now go watch Alien or Aliens (Sorry for using Alien again but its a good example) The guy in the rubber suit wins! Something from 1979 and 1986 looks more realistic and holds up better than something that came out in 2007.
Maybe I have become to desensitized over the years, but I don’t think I am alone when I say that horror movies need some sort of change in formula. I don’t know exactly what that change is. Although, if films could avoid some of the above that I listed, it might be a good starting point.
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