Friday, July 07, 2006

It's only a movie...It's only a movie...It's only a movie...

No, seriously, what the hell happened to horror films? What the hell 25 years or so we've gone from Suspiria, Alien, I Spit On Your Grave, Carrie, Last House on the Left, Dawn of the Dead, The Shining, The Wicker Man, Zombi, The Evil Dead, The Thing; truly frightening and innovative works from all ends of every spetrum, to...well, what? Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Final Destination? We have a few nice things coming out still, particularly from Britain (28 Days Later and Dog Soldiers were great, and Shaun of the Dead is maybe the best horror-comedy ever), but even the best of it just...isn't too scary. Even latter day Hollywood gorefests like Saw and Hostel don't have a patch on something like Suspiria. Hell, even the modern independent horror films, such as The Blair Witch Project, are mired in a sort of smug post-modernism that drastically abrades any edge they might have.

One problem is that modern film-makers are thoroughly afraid of eroticism. It's fantastic how you can stick so many big-titted barely-legals in a movie and make it so fundamentally un-sexy. Film-makers in the seventies understood that perverted eroticism, summed up in rape-revenge classics like I Spit On Your Grave and Last House on the Left, and even the grotesque gigeresque sexuality of Alien is essential to any decent body-horror. It's the one thing people are not desensitised to, which is why rape-revenge always garners so many complaints and mudslingings, even from film cognoscenti like Ebert. Then, there's the fact that tension and suspense are all but vanished. I mean, look at something like The Wicker Man: you don't even know it's a horror movie until past halfway through, but most people will find it more unsettling than 90% of the modern crap. I mean, when was the last time you saw something as...tiring as the Shining, or the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Leatherfaces saw just buzzing and buzzing and buzzing, and you know he'll never stop chasing her and never run out of petrol: that's the horror, not whatever he might do when he catches her. Gore itself just isn't that scary. Some of the goriest films of all time have been comedies (Bloodsucking Freaks anyone?)

And of course, there's the sheer fact of the Hollywood machine. Pretty much no category of film is as good as it used to be: it's all hashed and rehashed, safe boring crap with only a few directors with the clout to actually make something original.

Anyway, I'm kinda bored now. All I really wanted to say is: modern horror films suck shitloads of arse. So I'm gonna go watch Nightmares in a Damaged Brain and see if the plot makes any more sense the third time round.

I doubt it will.


Phillipp Lahm said...

Alien isn't 'gigeresque' since giger was actually in charge of the design. it's just giger.

Bart said...

Dog soldiers was nice yes. :) I always love a good dose of fake guts.