The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Monday, March 26, 2007

Horror Movies Bore Me...

So Turff sent me an interesting article from MSNBC about horror movies that you can read here. And I am using this as an opportunity to do a little rant on the state of horror movies and the general dung being produced by the current Hollywood establishment.

For starters, there is something horribly wrong when horror movies that are incredibly violent are being marketed to teenagers. Don't believe me? Weekly Entertainment Weekly does a best guess as to which movie will win the box office each weekend. Many, many weeks they pick the current horror movie and follow it with the thought of "that is where the kids' money will be." And to that I say, do we really need to be working hard at screwing up kids even more than the world already does so? Marketers need to be forced to deal with real kids in real circumstances. Too much of their "plans" are at the expense of real kids with real problems that don't need to see the latest film where we watch blood get splattered on whatever hot WB star is in it. I guess that is what happens when you live deciding how to live based by the dollar.

Second, horror has degenerated into gore-fest and has nothing to do with suspense. Now, one of the last truly great, adult (non-porn) horror movie was Silence of the Lambs in my opinion. What made it great? Suspense, not gore. Is Hannibal Lecter scary? Yes! Want to know why? Because he isn't the raving psychopath running around with a chainsaw. He is a scary because there is a part of him that could be the guy down the street from you who just goes off the deep end. Know why suspense has fallen from the genre? Because it is easier to play the t-and-a card, splatter a bunch of blood on stuff and cash a paycheck. I am waiting for the first film that forgoes any semblance of plot in favor of just saying "Hey, let's watch smoking hot girl get chased by a psychopath and have some wet t-shirt contests with blood." Some would argue that this already happened.

So how would I fix it:
1. Hire smart writers. Seriously, make the plot be what drives the film. Tell a good, interesting suspenseful story. If you can't tell a good story, then don't make the film. (Examples of a "horror film" with smart writing: See 28 Days Later.)
2. Move away from hiring cheap starlets. There is almost the theory that if you can survive until the age of 35, then nothing scary will happen to you according to Hollywood. Someone ought to write a smart, intriguing movie about a nursing home. (In fairness, I hear the independent film The Descent broke this mold somewhat but I haven't seen it yet.)
3. If you want to go a gore-or fest, then don't market, sell or allow kids to see it period.
4. Quit making the evil people the heroes. This means quit doing ridiculous sequels where the only loose thread connecting them together is that the same killer is present in them. Be intelligent enough to

Other notes:
-If you write a good horror flick, don't sell away your sequel rights. Some interesting films (Blair Witch Project for instance) was doomed to a horrendous sequel that had little input from the original film makers.
-If you are a parent, refuse to let your children participate in this culture of gore and misogyny. I know middle schoolers who can't sleep at night because they have seen stuff that there is no way they should have ever seen.
-If you are fan of this type of movie, can you tell me why? I mean, seriously, do a deep self-inspection and ask yourself why do you find pleasure or joy or entertainment from such profane things?
Getting down off my soapbox...

3 Comments:

At 6:07 PM , Blogger clave said...

28 Days LAter was good becasue the original comic book was so well written.

I heard that Joss Whedon agrees with you and has made it his mission to make a great suspense movie next year and has the script nearly completed. Of course, it will probably star Sarah Michelle Gellar though.

 
At 6:29 PM , Blogger Jason Sansbury said...

I love Whedon. I had heard he was doing a suspense movie but didn't know the background. I do love some of the things he says in some of the Buffy DVD commentaries. And I know that one of his favorite charities is Equality Now, that, as their website says is "An international human rights organization dedicated to action for the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women"

 
At 8:16 AM , Blogger Will said...

You asked me in IM yesterday about bad movies I've seen recently and this post jogged my memory. I won't get the title right, but it was something along the lines of I really, for real, I'm not kidding, still, and always will, forever and ever amen, know what you did last summer, yo.

300 channels on cable and I watched that.

 

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