Friday, May 20, 2011

Why are Horror Movies so Bad?

Why are so many horror movies so bad?  I know this question will draw much criticism from the aficionados of the genre, but I still think it is a valid concern.  I would like to see better horror movies being made since I still like the thrill of a good scare.  So sit back, have a drink and let me go through the reasons.

Budget: Of course there are many exceptions to this rule, but most horror movies are made on a low budget.  Now I’ve seen many cheaply made movies that still managed to turn out well – Hammer Films come to mind – but money does have an effect on the end product.  A low budget means cheap special effects, a lower grade of actor and director, and sets that look like an abandoned summer camp.  This was especially true in the 1950s through the 1980s, when the genre was specifically directed at a younger audience.  Quick and cheap production was meant to maximize profits, but it also had the side-effect of pigeon-holing the entire genre.  Once you see one slasher movie, it’s only natural to lump them all together. 

 Ideas: The horror movie genre has been running on fumes for last few years.  How many different versions of the same old zombie / vampire / ghost / slasher stories can be told?  Do I really need to see Friday the 13th, Part 245 to truly understand the inner-mind of Jason?  Again, there are many exceptions to this rule – Let the Right One In, The Changeling, and The Thing come to mind.  I’m not exactly sure what is required to make this dearth of ideas better, but perhaps some good scripts, better actors and some assumed intelligence of the audience.

Scare Factor: When I watch a good horror movie, I want a certain level of scare and creepiness.  Instead, gore has become the main modern staple.  Don’t get me wrong, gore has its place, but there is nothing like that crawling sensation at the back of your neck when you get a good scare.  For examples of this – watch Alien, Them!, or even the original Halloween

So what do you think?  What mistakes are the movie-making world making when it comes to horror (and other!) movies?

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