What happened to a good old horror film?


When I walk down an empty hallway at night, I do not think about the cheap thrills and special effects of modern movies. I think of the classics.

Old horror movies did it well. They had groundbreaking techniques as well as creative plots, music, set design and scripts.

Dead teenager films can be frightening, but not when they are a copy of slashers such as “Friday the 13th”, “Halloween” and “Psycho,” without using their own creativity and character development.

Cry Wolf is an example of a poorly done modern slasher movie. It is basically full of spoiled, bored teenagers with humor that only appeals to superficial high school students.

They add a twist, but it does not make the orange-masked killer and stereotypically adolescent dialogue any less lame.

In the remake of “The Hills Have Eyes,” the special effects dig at your senses, but it does not instill the horrific mindset like the original.

The dirty, crude rawness of the original “The Hills Have Eyes” gives the bad guys in the story a human element that special effects take away. To me, the mutant people in the original are people who were put on the backburner of society, which happens all the time.

Now, that is scary and real.

This year’s supernatural movie, “The Conjuring,” involved a nice family in a house with a creepy basement being haunted. Does the story sound familiar? That is because it is so overdone.

“The film’s relentlessly lame expository dialogue and tedious parade of jump scares are overwhelming in the worst way possible,” Simon Abrams, movie critic said.

“The Conjuring” had a few heart beating and hand-clenching moments, but nothing memorable and nothing that stimulated me intellectually.

It is just an instant satisfaction amusement park ride.

The original “Psycho,” beholder of the master of all shower scenes, is in black and white and lacks a large amount of gore. There is only a little bit of blood that runs down the drain.

It is the plot, the shock of having a seemingly main character die early, the camera angles and symbolic imagery that makes this so powerful.

My favorite old horror movie, “A Bucket of Blood,” does not have your average killer.

He is a moronic artist with little ability and lots of jealousy over the social lives of talented artists.
He accidentally kills his landlord’s cat and hides it by molding the body in clay. The exquisite detail gets him all of the attention he desires.

Once he begins molding human bodies, however, it is a radical change from sweet, if a little slow, lonely artist to an unusual brand of killer.

Despite the name, there is little blood and special effects, but it is loaded with creativity and themes to think about afterward.

When an artsy and truly horrific horror movie can make as big a profit as a quick, dead-teenager film, it is understandable why the horror genre has gone down the drain.

Critics have said that horror is the least respected genre of film, and that does not need to be the case. We can get back to the original quality that made horror films so great.

The next time a respectable horror movie is in theaters, I will be right up front enjoying every minute of it.

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