Giving Up on Horror
Yesterday, I read an article about a professional film critic that gave up on horror movies. I have to be honest. Most of the reasons he sites are, in fact, ones I agree with. I'm one of those viewers who doesn't sign up to be terrified or grossed out or to indulge in torture fantasies. Every genre has its fashion phases. It's clear to me that the things I enjoy about Horror aren't in fashion any longer. It was clear a decade ago. And that's why I stopped reading and watching for the most part. (Yes, even Stephen King.) Every once in a while I check back in. Every once in a while someone recommends a film that is so spot on for me--like Cabin in the Woods or many of the others I'll mention/have mentioned over the next month. However, I very much relate to what Kenneth Turan said.
This world does not suffer from an overabundance of empathy. We need more, not less.
The things I enjoy in Horror are the psychological character studies--the deep thoughts on what it means to be human or a human monster. (Discomfort is a part of that study. I agree.) I enjoy dark humor. Creepy and spooky and altogether ooky? Sure, sign me up. I'm so in. Darkness can be thrilling and fun.
I'm not up for an experience that keeps me up for several nights running. I don't want horrifying images of violence done to the bodies of women, children, and pets just for kicks. I don't want to witness individuals valiantly and fruitlessly battle against traps in which there is no means of escape. I'm not interested in more religious intolerance and bigotry. There's enough of all of that shit in real life. Why wallow in it? To be honest, I have trouble understanding those who do and are. Yes, there are stories that need unhappy endings. I'm good with those. ZOMG, I loved the film The Mist (2007) and no, it doesn't have a happy ending. (Interestingly enough, the short story did.) Speaking as a writer, endings are difficult to do well. Happy endings are easier. Unhappy endings take even greater finesse in order to be satisfying.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting to see a critic's take on modern Horror. So often when someone denigrates a genre it comes off as Old Man Screaming at Sky™. And I suspect there's some of that in there...but overall, I believe he has a point. It's why I won't watch what I call Torture Porn. What about you?
 Hey, so not my thing, but to each their own. As long as no one is harmed I won't judge.
You are so right. As I've gotten older, although I still love horror movies and stories, I believe the strength lies in the story, story telling, good director and cinematography. Like the way James Wan plays with shadows and darkness, almost making them characters.
10/24/2017 02:37:31 pm
I stopped watching most horror movies years ago, mostly because the ones I liked weren't being made. I'll admit to having a weakness for older vampire films (they should catch fire when exposed to sun, aren't romantic, but evil, etc...), and for creepy occult horror - Constantine worked for me (even with Keanu Reeves). Mindless torture, though? It seems boring and icky to me.
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is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.