While I love the huge success our current generation of horror films have been having at the box office, there is a small part of me that yearns for more tonal diversity within the genre and I don’t think I’m alone in this. My favorite generation of horror movies came from the 80s because those were the ones my dad fell in love with, thus they were the ones I was exposed to during my youth.
Much of what the major motion picture studios churn out these days are very dark and serious horror movies. This is awesome and I don’t want them to stop, but I would like to see a few more major releases go in the opposite direction with their material. In the 80s, there was an undertone of fun and camp, especially to those franchises whose villains went on to become horror icons. I’m talking your Friday The 13ths and Nightmare on Elm Streets.
With their initial entries, they took a more dark and serious approach, putting the horror before anything else. Once the studios realized they could make big money by churning out these cost-effective films in assembly-line fashion, the sequels just kept coming. For some, this is where the quality of the movies began to take a serious turn for the worst, but that is all a manner of perspective and the experience you are looking for. The way the studios set up these franchises, no matter what movie you are watching, the audience more or less knows what to expect.
Jason Voorhees is always going to murder vapid, Breakfast Club stereotypes whether he’s at Camp Crystal Lake, New York, or in space. We see a similar thing in today’s Hollywood with Cinematic Universes. The audience knows what to expect, but they still fork up the money because that’s what they want, whether they acknowledge it or not.When most of the other characters in these franchises are just lambs sent in for the slaughter, it’s no wonder why people started to root for the bad guys.
For a certain demographic, this is everything that turns them off about horror movies and that’s okay. You don’t have to go see those types of horror movies if there is a broader range in the genre because for others, its everything they love. I think part of the appeal is knowing that what you are watching is fake. A more recent example of this is the Hatchet series. The level of violence becomes so extreme it borders on parody. However, no more matter how gory the kill, it pales in comparison to the true-life horrors we are forced to witness every time we turn on the nightly news. Because its fake, you can distance yourself from the fact that you are watching a giant hillbilly mongoloid commit mass murder(there’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d use).
The following is rated F for Fucked Up for extreme violence. Viewer discretion is advised.
I’m not saying I need to see a new Nightmare or a revival of another long dead horror icon, I’d just like to see more movies in the genre take themselves less seriously. The bad guys have all the fun and its time we remembered that.