Thursday, September 1, 2011

Whither Horror Cinema

Why Horror Cinema is No More Scary!

I just finished watching the latest installment of Wes Craven’s slasher franchise – Scream 4 (2011). It was OK but not scary. That's not to say I don't like a like a slasher flick occasionally, but I really am not frightened by screaming, stupid teens in distress, needless bloodletting or pointless gore. Sometimes nauseated, maybe, raised to sarcastic snickering, certainly, but frightened? Nada!

If you ask me, they simply don’t make real scary movies anymore (or don’t know how to make one). Well, Peter Friedkin's Exorcist (1973) and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (1981) petrified me the first time I saw it. Stanley Kubricks The Shining (1980) based on novel by Stephen King creeped me out and so did Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977) and Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). That’s what's scary: playing with our fears; hints and memories of things that reduced you to a delirious mass of panic in the past; the things that live in the darkness of your soul and the shunned and shuttered compartments of your mind, nasty things lurking in the dark…

Most recently or should I say after a very long time, Insidious (2010) (only the first half though) gave me nightmares, or rather, it just revived the ones I'd had as a kid. In fact, of all the many horror movies released in the last few years, only a very small number have had an impact on me. Martyrs, Descent, Eden Lake, Rec, High Tension, Hills Have Eyes (remake), Inside, Wolf Creek, 28 Days Later, Them ..are some of ‘em that deserve a mention.

Anyway, coming back to the Slasher variety, I really cannot see why anyone likes them or is ever scared by them. Not a crazy killer with a bloody knife and a bad attitude. Hell, I say shoot the psycho and have done. In fact, shoot him twice, thrice.. with a machine gun.

Besides, the lame storyline is always pretty much the same, every time. I particularly also hate the fact that they seem to dress them up as little morality tales and stick them in: anyone under the age of 30 who has sex or even thinks about it - is going to be the next Seekh kebab on the bad guy's menu. Talk about un-safe sex.... Spare me.

P.S: If you are a Slasher aficionado, here are some great original “slasher” movies that you may have missed - April Fools Day, Burning, Black Christmas, Curtains, Cut, Maniac, Maniac Cop, Mortuary, My Bloody Valentine, Pieces, Prom Night, Prowler, Toolbox Murders...


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