Any hardcore fan of the horror genre will tell you that all of the best horror movies have already been around for decades. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, recently made horror films just aren’t satisfying the fans.
In the above video, two die-hard horror movie fans discuss why modern horror movies are no good, and explain how they could be improved. Many of the issues that these gentlemen have with modern horror are the same things that I find horrible about the slowly dying genre.
The following list is a breakdown of what I believe are the biggest problems with the horror film industry. These issues (some of which are mentioned in the above YouTube video) have become synonymous with horror films and need to disappear in order to fix the genre:
As mentioned in the above clip, horror movies are packed full of cliches. Whether it be the location (haunted houses, cemeteries, etc.), the content (possession, zombie apocalypse, etc.) or the characters (sexually promiscuous blonde, mysterious [but ultimately innocent] guy, etc.), the massive amount of cliches has made the genre stale and predictable.
Speaking of which…
Horror films have become laughably predictable. The audience knows, from literally decades of experience, exactly when a “jump scare” is going to take place. When the music becomes either faster beating drums or higher pitched violins while a character is searching through a darkened house, we know what to expect around the next corner.
Even when there isn’t a scary face or an ax murderer, we know that the second our protagonist sighs in relief and turns back around, there will be something evil there. This constant certainty makes it hard to take a film seriously, and even harder to stay interested.
3) Jump Scares
A “jump scare” is when something loud and unexpected happens in a film (or video game) that literally makes a viewer jump. While these “scares” are frightening, they most certainly are not scary.
True horror fans want to be scared on a deep psychological level. We want to be afraid to go into the water because of sea monsters. We want to be afraid of camping because of psychopathic lumberjacks who have had their hearts broken and now desperately crave eating campers’ hearts in order to feel full.
We do not want to be forced to jump out of our seats because of a loud sound and a cat pouncing out from around a corner.
4) Too Much Gore
For horror movies, gore should be like steak sauce. If the movie (steak) is well made, only a dab of gore (sauce) should be needed.On the other hand, if the steak is covered in sauce, it is no longer a delicious steak, it is sauce with a little bit of steak under it.
Many of today’s horror films are actually just artificial snuff films. They rely solely on gore to make them an uncomfortable experience, instead of a truly horrible one.
Even worse than the movies that use gore as a plot, are the ones that are actually a decent film, but overdo the blood and guts to a point that they destroy their own brilliance:
5) Too Much Sex
Everyone knows that grade-B horror flicks are basically just R rated pornography. However, it is becoming more and more common for high-dollar Hollywood productions to replace plot, dialogue and art with nudity (no way!).
This is exactly like the gore issue, only worse. Not only does excessive sex and nudity fail to make a movie better, it makes a movie almost impossible to watch with family or a group of strangers without feeling uncomfortable, or guilty.
6) The Monsters Are Dead
It is impossible to name a horror monster that has been thought-up within the last two decades that isn’t either a rip-off of a past monster, or completely lame. The mummies, werewolves and creatures of black lagoons are all dead and gone.
Sure, there has been monsters created in the 80s and early 90s that were originally terrifying and respectable, but they have been so overdone now that they have become everything that this list has described:
The original monsters have become almost a joke to the modern public. Classical ghouls and all of their meanings have simply become a part of popular culture.
Zombies are no longer the terrifying walking corpses they once were, and have become such an exciting part of society that some people are actually thrilled about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse.
Werewolves, who once haunted the moors and were feared by travelers world-wide, have become teenagers in high school.
However, perhaps the most depressing movie monster that has been destroyed by laziness and greed is the vampire. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was so filled with imagery and symbolism that it could be read a thousand times and have a different meaning on each read. The legends of vampires were so frightening at one point in time that people literally dug up dead loved ones and mutilated their bodies to make sure they weren’t vampires. So, how did this happen?:
The greatest horror monster of all time, who was originally an allegory for old men lusting after innocent young girls, is now a teenage sex symbol.
If the horror genre wants to bounce back, it will probably have to be done by individuals with an eye for art and a bank loan, because Hollywood sure isn’t coming to the rescue. The problems with the horror genre are fairly well known throughout the fan-community, but as of yet, very few films have made it onto the big screen that keep the integrity and horror of the classics intact.
The “found footage” sub-genre seems to be a hopeful movement for decent horror. However, with the exception of Blair Witch, these films are typically independent and low budget, which means that we will probably not see a “horror revival” through these films, and will just be stuck watching the classics forever.