I love horror movies. It’s what I grew up on. But horror movies have lost their majesty for me lately. Why? In short; They suck.
They all follow the same basic plot:
(Person/group of persons) are (attacked/tied to supernatural/horrific creature/incident) and (fight to get out of/break free from/kill the horrific problem).
They all die.
It feels like the person writing the horror movie is flipping me off.
Not to mention it’s boring. And I don’t bore easily, so that’s saying something.
HOPE FOR HORROR MOVIES?
Holly-mallow brought a movie home from school from one her friends, who all are avid horror movie watchers, and I’m very glad she did.
The movie was “Mama” and while not the most terrifying and not the most horrific in terms of the creature, not the quickest or slowest at build up or suspense, it had a good plot. It wasn’t annoying or stupid. The characters didn’t do stupid things that EVERYONE IN STUPID HORROR MOVIES DO, they didn’t have the stereotypical characters doing stereotypical things. And the ending was great. It had a down point – so it still kept to the horror movie tradition of not having the “happy ending” but I liked the ending. And I wanted to watch it again.
Another horror movie I saw within the past year or so and liked was “Insidious”. It was creepy, people didn’t do stupid, annoying things, and everyone didn’t die at the end.
You know that movie, “Cabin in the Woods”? It had some major stereotypical stuff going on and everyone died in the end but it didn’t annoy me. Sure, I wouldn’t watch it again because I don’t think it was that good of a movie, but the stereotypes and the dying in the end – it meant something. It told me something, it made me think about humanity and how far people are willing to go to keep themselves safe.
If you want to write a tragedy, write a tragedy. But tragedy and horror are two different genres! The occasional tragic horror is all fine and dandy but every single one?
Horror is supposed to expose the truths we don’t want to take a look at. It’s supposed to disturb us, creep us out, show us things that could really happen and scare us into taking a closer look at the “monsters”. Horror isn’t meant to be only superficial scare tactics. Horror should MEAN something, tell us something, expose something, make us think. Fear can tell us so much about ourselves, society, and how far we’re willing to go to stay safe. Horror takes the deepest, darkest part of human nature and pokes at it. And then hopefully it shows someone rising above it, above the darkness and fighting it. Whether they all fail or not isn’t the point, it’s that they tried.
But when every movie ends with them failing, and is filled with nothing but the superficial, it loses its entire point for existence.
When every single horror movie, book, and show is made for shock value – lots of sex, lots of blood, lots of gore, lots of screaming – and no plot or characters to make you think, or that you even care about, it loses its value.
There was a guest post on Kristen Lamb’s blog the other day and I read it after writing this up (I wrote this post three weeks ago) and couldn’t agree with her guest blogger more. I also find it interesting that we were thinking the same thing as the same times, but I digress. You can find it here – really go read it, then you’ll know I’m not the only person who thinks horror should have meaning.
So because I find it impossible to rant about something without getting goofy as well, AND I find myself laughing more than being creeped out with the past seven horror movies I’ve seen, here are some things that drive me nuts about horror movies that I think have gone past being overused, stripped of their value, or just make me throw objects at the tv. Because, come one, I’m not going to throw food. Food is good.
HORROR MOVIE CLICHES
This is how it’s going to go down….
- Blond or have a rack? You’re so going to die first.
- Having sex? Someone is going to kill you.
- Are you annoying and everyone is yelling at the screen, wishing you would die already? Yeah, you’re going to live.
- The hot chick that mysteriously looks perfect and has a bad attitude? She’s going to get you alone and eat your heart out by sucking it out of your earlobes. And no one is going to suspect her.
- “Hey! I’ve got a good idea! Let’s split up!” *headdesk*
- She is not going to remove her high heels. And she’s going to trip. And then crawl instead of getting up again and running.
- The “Deer in Headlights” moment: Someone pointing a gun at you/coming at you with a sharp object? I know – you’re not going to move. You’re going to stare at them and whimper, like that’s going to save you.
- Your flashlight and/or cell phone? It’s going to die the EXACT moment you need it.
- Everyone is going to ignore all the coincidences.
- “My car wont’ start!”
- The killer is stalking you. It’s silent. You’re hiccupping, screaming, whimpering, begging, MAKING LOTS OF NOISE, because that’s not going to help the killer locate you.
- I’m being chased. Hey – why don’t I run up the stairs, where there’s no way to escape and effectively trap myself? Yeah, that sounds like a marvelous plan.
- The protagonist just escaped the axe murderer who wants to shape her into a living doll/eat her intestines while she’s still alive/stitch her into his mattress – whatever. But when she escapes and wanders around the silent building looking for her friends who were also captured, she’s going to call out, “Is anyone here?” But don’t worry because the killer is totally deaf.
- When the killer has a gun? It never runs out of bullets.When the “good guys” have the gun? Two shots fired and you’re out of bullets.
- The laws of gravity no longer work.
- “Sudden Case of Conscious”. Yes, the person who just drilled a hole in your baby sister with a potato peeler, is not doing it on purpose and the demon inside them just went *poof*. It’s your girlfriend again. Really. Don’t kill her. She’s sooo sorry, and doesn’t know what’s going on.
YES some of these are funny and do not bother me. Some of them are used really well and some are very realistic. (I mean come on – you’re panicked, you’re running through the woods – it’s likely that you’re going to trip. But holy hell, you didn’t break your leg, you can get up and run some more.) When you put them ALL or most of them in EVERY SINGLE HORROR MOVIE? Not so much.
So here’s for hoping more horror movies come out with interesting characters, a good plot, as well as spooky atmosphere, creepy creatures, and twisted endings where everyone doesn’t die, leaving you wondering why you rented this stupid movie.
Do you think horror movies should have some meaning to them?
Are you fine with the clichés and “let’s kill everyone” endings?
Did I miss any horror movie clichés? Which ones annoy you the most? Which ones do you like?
Any good horror movie recommendations?