Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Resurgence of Horror Cinema

The New Horror Movie Revival

As 2012 comes to a close, horror fans would be content that the last 24 months witnessed a sudden (and a long overdue) revival of good Horror cinema. Personal favorites like Rubber, Red State, Insidious, Possession, Cabin in the Woods, Thing, Mothers Day and more recently Sinister come to mind. 

Its a different argument to judge what qualifies as good horror but genre aficionados have got to applaud this sudden horror renaissance that we've been experiencing over the past few years. The only annoying aspect of the resurgence is that we have to endure analysis from the mainstream media trying to explain why horror is popular again. 

The conventional wisdom is that horror flicks are big in times of national stress, such as during the cold war, or during the depression /recession. For this latest wave, religious and xenophobic paranoia is the common scapegoat. While the cultural critics may be partially right, and are almost certainly mostly wrong, they are correct in one observation: horror movies come in cycles. 

One would argue that these cycles correspond not to national stress but simply to demographic trends (it's no coincidence that horror flicks have shared their popular eras with gangster pics, teen rebellion movies, and later teen angst movies), but that's not the issue. The point is to examine the cycle to see how profound it really is. 

Looking back on the recent past, horror films enjoyed about 10 years of great popularity in the 70's and 80's followed by nearly ten years in which the genre was virtually dead. If this trend continues, we should be getting one or two terrific horror flicks every year. That seems a lot to ask for in this fickle age of rapidly changing technology, but one can always hope. 


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