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Horror Movies These Days Lack Heart

posted Oct 12, 2012, 1:13 PM by

I really do my best not to be a snob about...well, just about anything. For one thing, it seems exhausting, it really does. For another, it'd be hypocritical of me. I listen to Selena Gomez and Target is pretty much my second home, I have no room to be snobby about anything. But I will, however, wax nostalgic about the way things used to be.

So this is me waxing nostalgic. Not being snobby. Okay, maybe I’ll be a little snobby.

I'm a horror movie fan. Thriller movie fan. Slasher movie fan. Whatever, if people are dying in horrible ways, I'll be there to watch it. I wasn't always like that. I actually used to be a huge chicken. I saw Jurassic Park when I was 5 and got so scared I couldn't watch it again until high school. To this day raptors play a frequent part in my nightmares. I got over it eventually, and with it came an appreciation for fake blood, gratuitous boob shots and people dying via electrocution in hot tubs.

There's something I don't like about the current crop of horror films. There's just something about them that makes them impersonal. Gone are the days of big horror movie villains like Freddy, Jason, Chucky and Michael. Instead you have nameless, faceless ghosts or demons or evil manifestations of an abused child (oh my god An American Haunting was such a bad movie). There's really nothing that'll stick with you later, no iconic figure to scare your little siblings with. The most recent ones that come to mind are Samara from The Ring (which came out like 10 years ago and now I feel old) and Jigsaw from the Saw movies. And Jigsaw sort of lost his scariness after the franchise got convoluted and up its own butt. Also I'm pretty sure he died at some point and got taken over by some chick and then maybe by Carey Elwes...this is my point, I can't remember anything about those movies.

I'm not saying that the current trend of horror movies don't get scares. I jumped during Paranormal Activity, don't get me wrong, and I was double checking for things under my bed for a few nights after but it was easily brushed off. Definitely not something I'd add to my collection and watch on Halloween. Once you get used to the scares, what's there to enjoy? The great thing about having figures like Jason and Freddy is that they were characters with distinct personalities (or backstories, 'cause Jason wasn't much of a talker) that gave you a reason to be afraid of campsites or falling asleep. They were a solid, menacing figure that popped into your dreams and something your family members dressed up as to scare the crap out of you while you were in the shower.

Maybe that doesn't happen to everyone. I had a cruel family.

I don't know, maybe I'm a geezer who doesn't have a firm grasp on what's hip on the horror scene these days. I don't care, I'm gonna watch my old horror flicks in all their gory, cheesy, predictable glory and be a curmudgeon about Paranormal Activity 12 or whatever number we're on now. Seriously, how many of these do we have to make before people realize that putting night vision cameras in your house is asking for ghosts to show off and terrorize your family?

I will grant a special exception to The Cabin in the Woods, because that had everything I loved about horror movies spelled out and satirized in a fantastic way. The survivalist stoner, sex being a death sentence, teenagers being played by 30-year-olds, unicorns goring people to death; it was a horror movie fan's dream come true! It was completely ridiculous and frightening at the same time, which is the key to a great scary movie. Okay, I will grant that the ending to The Cabin in the Woods left something to be desired but that is to be expected out of something Joss Whedon was involved with.

I eagerly await your e-mails, angry Buffy and Avengers fans.