I was incredibly pleased to find another horror fan who has a lot of the same concerns that I have. The video, “The Problem with Horror Movies Today”, reiterates a lot of the same concerns that I have raised on this blog, but also articulates some of the issues in a new, meticulous way that I truly appreciated. This isn’t just a question of the public’s taste, this is a question of film studios that are driven entirely by profit and spend more time and money on promotion than they do on scripts. Enjoy!
The comment about jump scares was really interesting, and from a neurological perspective it makes a lot of sense -all that happens with too many “false” scares is that the repeated release of stress hormones tires you out and reduces your reaction, it’s too much of a good thing. As for the monster question, it’s what my buddy Chris refers to as the “guy in a rubber mask” problem. If you show only glimpses of the monster, you try to get a fuller sense of it, with your mind filling in the details, whereas, if you show the monster too clearly, it’s no longer scary, you just start thinking “how did they make THAT effect?” All in all, this whole video got me really fired up because, as he discussed, the box office results confuse me all the time after I see a movie that is plainly garbage. It’s not just me, there is a sinister cabal to make astoundingly awful horror films! It is all about the bottom line! I need to make a tin-foil hat and tape the windows shut! (Okay, maybe not that last one, but still)
So how do we combat this? With our money. See a hyped-up new flick coming out with a super sweet trailer? Wait for the reviews and don’t go unless it meets a meaningful threshold, let’s say 80% on Metacritic. If money is all that matters to measure success in the studio executives’ eyes, we need to dole out our own entertainment money more carefully. Let’s try to steer our own culture, instead of letting clever advertising sell us something that we don’t want or need.