February 22, 2013
Do we really need to change the horror movie?
I just spent the last two articles talking about all the things that need to happen in order for horror movies to be fun and scary again, but do we really need all this?
The point of going to any movie is to be entertained. Do bad, cliché-ridden horror movies still provide that? Yes, in a way. Riffing and watching with a large group can still be highly enjoyable experiences. In fact, riffing the film is the best part of a bad movie. There’s certainly appeal to laughing at the misfortune of dumb kids getting hacked like Thanksgiving dinner or the general mistakes of someone who just didn’t care to make a movie the right way…
I guess this is where we start to veer into the difference between “great film” and “good movie.”
Wit was a great film. Trick ‘r Treat was a great film. The Dark Knight was a great film.
Feast, The Last Lovecraft, and Dredd were good movies.
What’s the difference? A great film stands the test of time. It can reach a wide audience and has layers upon layers of meaning that only get better with each successive viewing.
A good movie is fun. You may not necessarily watch it again, but it did its job.
I want great horror films again. I want the kinds of movies that get the crowd so quiet that you can hear your own heartbeat. I want real terror, not the endless gore of a slow death with no sympathy for the victim. I want to actually care about the victims so that I can feel something. I want horror with layers of meaning.
…But I also love movies that are good just on their own. For example, one of my favorite horror films, Feast, is a straight-up closed circle monster movie where the characters don’t even have names. It’s gory and so over the top it loops around and comes back to “plausible.”
And it has fun with it.
Maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong. Not every movie can be The Shining, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Some of my favorite memories watching movies involved movies that weren’t all that great but were obviously having a good laugh at themselves while we, the audience, laughed too.
Bad movies serve a purpose much like bad writing. They serve as examples. Eventually, the market gets so saturated with the bad that the good comes out. It’s strange. That’s not to say every movie on Netflix Instant should be a must-see, but it does mean that we get more examples of what doesn’t work. It’s like I said regarding drawing with charcoal. When you make enough mistakes and wipe the slate clean, eventually, you get something much better than the original work.
You know what? I changed my mind.
Bad movies can keep coming. They have a purpose. Good movies? Take note and learn from their mistakes.
And now, in celebration of this revelation, let’s bask in the glory of cheese that will be Spiders 3D.