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How often do you hear a person refer to a movie as a horror movie these days? Now that you think about it, you don t hear it very often. Usually, when you hear a person describing a movie categorized as a horror they refer to it as a scary movie. While working on this project I came to the conclusion that there is a noticeable difference between the two. Last week I invited some friends over for a night of scary movies.
The first movie that we watched was Wes Craven s Scream. As we watched I was in total disbelief. While my friends were busy screaming and jumping at the appropriate moment I was busy being appalled at what I feel to be the latest rendition of an already worn out theme. These socalled scary movies have no plot and are rated on scream factor alone. The movie is considered to be a good movie if it is bloodier and makes you scream louder than it s predecessor.
I feel that there is only one goal in mind when it comes to making a horror film: special effects. Were this movie not the property of Blockbuster I would have taken great pleasure in lighting my fireplace in mid-July and burning this movie beyond recognition. I would have done all of this just to be able to say that because of me, a handful of innocent movie watchers were saved the suffering that I endured while watching Scream. Next, we watched the movie Wolf that I thought to be an excellent movie.
My friends on the other hand walked away unmoved.
Afterwards, one of my friends made a comment that made me think. She said that, it wasnt even scary. After she said this I realized that she was right. The movie wasn t scary at all instead it was stimulating and thought provoking. If it wasn t scary why call it a horror movie? I came to the conclusion that a horror movie is just that not because of how loud it makes you scream but because of its content and more importantly what it brings to mind. The subject of a half-man/half-wolf is in fact horrifying. The idea that this person could occupy the cubicle next to yours or that they could be someone whom you regularly play golf with is very horrifying. The real scary part comes after the movie when you are sitting there trying to convince yourself that the movie is simply the brainchild of some very sick individual and that it could never really happen ..could it? Collectively, horror movies are probably my favorite genre but I have grown far past impatience with the scary movies seen today.
Stephen King say that a potential lyncher lies in all of us and we use horror movies to feed that desire and essentially to remind us how very normal we really are (785). I don t believe that to be the reason for my infatuation with the genre but I could be wrong. For me horror films fuel my desire for the unknown. When I watch a horror movie I like to walk away wondering if people or beings like that really exist. Whenever something unexplainable occurs I look to this genre for a possible explanation. One of my favorite movies is Interview with a Vampire. For days after watching that movie I was trying to find proof that Vampires exist. I had the same reaction the same time I watched Wolf.
The horror movies are so different from other movies that involve the same subjects. In these movies the monster is not depicted as someone who kills simply for sport or just because they can. They are not out to conquer the world or to destroy civilization. These beings are shown struggling with their dark side just as Jack Nicholson did when he chained himself to the furnace and also when he wore the amulet said to keep the demon wolf at bay. When they finally do kill it is for their own survival. Why I wish to find proof of these beings is beyond me because if in fact they do exist that could mean danger for the rest of us but I can t help wondering.
The contemporary horror movie is where I lose my patience. These movies, scary movies, are the very reason the integrity of the modern horror movie is in question. How many slasher movies will they make before they call it quits. We have Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers and the rest of the crew, all of these former humans who were transformed by some evil spirit into their new selves. They are now angry, bent on revenge and lets not forget immortal. The worst part is that each of these beings has an entire series to his credit and they all share the same theme. In each film the killer is on the warpath killing anyone who crosses him until a group of teenagers figures out a way to kill him. After they carry out their plan the killers fate seems to be sealed that is, until about a year later when the writer releases the sequel. Stanley Solomon touches on the fact that the audience fully expects what occurs in today s horror films. We are not surprised when the half naked blond goes to see what that sound is and when it is the killer she always seems to run outside into the pitch black woods (795). He also asks the question that if we continually sympathize with her even while knowing that the entire situation could have been avoided what does that say about us (795)? My question is: if the killer can t die why even try? The answer is: money. These films have nothing to do with credibility or reputation only how much money can be made during the opening weekend because after that the reviews will greatly dampen sales.
If all horror films were made to make you question the unknown I would be an absolute fan but they are not. Unfortunately, there are those that only seek to make you scream and for me simple screaming doesn t make a movie. I guess that I am stuck watching the old horror movies to fuel my desire for the unknown because they sure don t make them like they used to.
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