Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ohhhh, The Horror

One of the oldest genres of film has become one of the most hated by critics in recent years. Yes, I’m talking about horror movies. Georges Melies is credited by many with creating the first horror film in 1896, Le Manoir du diable, a silent two minute short. The genre has continued producing classics in every decade. Some of the most famous include Frankenstein (1931), Psycho (1960), The Exorcist (1973), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1980), and Urban Legend (1998). Some horror films have been more respected than others, but in general they are considered to be low-quality and lacking substance, especially in recent years with films like Hostel and the Saw series. Some of these are a little too gory, but overall I find horror to be one of the most entertaining genres.

My personal favorite horror film is original 1980 version of The Shining, although the remake is not bad. It is the perfect combination of ghosts haunting a young boy (Danny) and an alcoholic father that has lost his mind (Jack Torrance). Like most horror films it starts out slow, and then slowly builds the tension, fear, and anxiety until a dramatic ending. The film is based on the novel by Stephen King, one of the best horror writers of all time. Although there are several differences between the book and the film, they are both extremely frightening. No matter how many times I watch it, I always end up scared.

I will admit that there is not much to take away from a horror film, except a good time. Horror films are not made to be enlightening, inspirational, or anything else that might be considered as an aspect of good filmmaking. Horror films have one purpose: to scare the crap out of the viewers. It’s fun to be scared without actually being in danger. It seems kind of odd to think of being scared as fun, but fear gets your heart beating and adrenaline pumping. It’s like anything else that produces an adrenaline rush (such as a roller coaster) exciting, entertaining, and fun. The horror genre is quite large and consists of many different types including slashers, ghosts, zombies, demons, killer animals, etc. Regardless of the subject matter all horror movies accomplish the same goal. When it comes to horror films, the only thing that is important is the reaction of the audience. How scared are you?

1 comment:

  1. You hear the guy that played Rorschach in The Watchmen is going to be playing Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street remake that they are making? I know he is know Robert Englund, but this could get interesting.

    There has always been a lot of moralism associated with horror movies. This was pretty well defined in Scream with the rules Jamie Kennedy's character sets out. Do you think that there are any other movie genres that can produce the same sort of passive life lesson teaching (if any at all) as horror films?