Ask any Joe Schmo on the street what they think of horror films these days and they’ll likely say it’s all crap. They see it because they think it's a guaranteed no-brainer to take your date to so you can make out, not pay attention, and still know the plot. They might even venture to say that major genre reviving successes like Scream and Saw are simply “okay,” or dare we say, “overrated.” The average movie-goer will say it’s a dying genre. Movie snobs will pish posh the genre away as low-budget failed attempts at real filmmaking. Horror has always been the bastard genre that gets locked in the basement and fed through a hole in the wall because it makes the neighbors uncomfortable. It thrives there.
Sometimes the same is said of its fan base, which is an unfortunate hypocrisy. The truth of the matter is, ask any teenage girly-girl if they love movies like Heathers or Jawbreaker, and voila…point made. Find me a suburban housewife that doesn’t make cracks about, or maybe even aspire to be a citizen of Stepford. Show me a sci-fi geek that doesn’t put Alien and The Thing on the same shelf as The Empire Strikes Back in their extensive collection and I’ll show you a poser.
The horror genre is not, by any stretch of the imagination, dead. It’s lagging a bit in quality for the spoon-fed general public, but this is one genre that cannot be stopped. It is a goddamn machine. This is obvious if you simply take a peek at the amount of websites and blogs dedicated to its seemingly infinite facets. There’s something for everyone hidden on the shelves in the horror section of those rare gems I call video stores, if you’re still lucky enough to have one in your neck of the backwoods. There are horrific films on shelves in sections labeled drama and comedy. The television shows with the highest ratings and most devout fans of the past decade are – you guessed it – horror. I guarantee a suggestion or two from the genre has popped up on your Netflix cue. Don’t lie to me. I know when you’re lying to me. I’m Malice.
For this reason, I’m not the least bit worried about the state of the genre. It’s fine. Everything you do is laced with horror. That’s my statement. Tweet it, or whatever it is you do with fun facts in Wonderland.
I suggest not relying solely on the multiplexes for quality horror. Yes, it is truly a coup for us bottom-feeders when one of our macabre masterpieces makes it to the multi-million dollar big leagues, but believe me… we don’t care either way if every Tom, Dick, and Larry sees our beloved films. Hollywood, on the other hand, doesn’t care if even one horror connoisseur likes the genre flicks they throw that kind of money at, as long as Tom, Dick, Larry, his brother Darrel, and his other brother Darrel, are throwing twice that amount of money right back at Hollywood to see it. No chances will be taken. That’s why, nine times out of ten, these films are simple, formulaic, clever yet predictable, cliché, PG-13 cop-outs, adaptations, and yes… remakes of genre favorites. For that matter, this should answer any questions you may have as to why they’re remaking everything and nothing is sacred. Because that’s what the general public will throw their money at. It’s that simple. It’s not that filmmakers and writers are lacking in creativity, it’s just that the general public is intolerant of originality. That’s not an insult, that’s a fact. Familiarity always wins. And I would venture to say get over it to my fellow genre purists because I’ve found that a lot of these mainstream flicks are still worth a watch. After all, some of our most revered monsters still hold some serious clout at the box office.
If you don’t want to take the time to dig through the vaults or ask a fellow horror buff to point you in the direction of the good stuff, go ahead and keep your eyes peeled. Every now and then a horror film will be featured front and center. But enjoy it while it lasts because the next step in that series of unfortunate events is a slew of sub-par, money-grabbing copy cats, remakes, and sequels. There will no doubt be another golden age of horror. But with everyone swinging to the far left where everything is a platform for personal soap box crusades, everything is sexist, everything is racist, we need to protect the children, and everything must be politically correct… you’re going to have to settle for some watered down crap sprinkled with organic sugar.
In the meantime, no one’s stopping you from pulling the shades and settling in behind closed doors for a little of that yummy debauchery that I call home. Go ahead, I dare you. Challenge yourself. Skip The Purge and throw in I Spit On Your Grave. If it’s a sleek remake you want instead of a gritty retro film, try 2012’s Maniac. See if you can resist covering your eyes.
Love & Screams,