Article by Matt Dippel & David Kelly | Owl Staff
We are not usually prone to talking in clichés about how things used to be better back in the day, but some things just don’t age well, and not all change is good. As much as it pains us to use the cliché with sincerity, horror films were better back in the day.
Horror films seem to follow this weird trend where they are aging backwards. When the first ones came out, they were simplistic, though not uncreative, and justified explicable endings. This was the “Scooby-Doo” age of movies. Everything was a guy in a mask because monsters were silly.
Eventually, the movies evolved and spawned sub-genres, such as monster movies, slasher flicks, American Gothic, and surreal/psychological horror. While truly enjoyable horror movies do exist, today they have been overwhelmed by two main genres: remakes and torture porn.
While it is true that splatter films have been around for a while, movies like The Wizard of Gore, Blood Feast, and Cannibal Holocaust never made gore the central focus. In the past ten years, the genre has consisted largely of nothing but remakes of movies, whether it be an old classic or half-assed rehash of an already bad horror movie that came out five years ago. And then you must contend with the endless stream of sequels. Seven Saw films? Really?? Seven???
The biggest problem with these movies is they all lack subtlety and instead they go with loud noises, jump scares, and tasteless gore to try elicit terror, with some nudity in between the cheap thrills to generate complacency within their target audience of stupid teenage boys and their equally intelligent dates.
Every once in a while, a movie like this would not be bad; they’re good, thoughtless fun, but this is a good portion of all horror films today, and it just makes the genre look juvenile. I don’t get scared, nor do I get any pleasure from watching someone being strapped down to a chair and tortured with a drill for an hour in graphic detail, both visibly and audibly.
When Jaws came out people were afraid to go back in the water. When my mom saw Silence of the Lambs she was never able to listen to American Girl in the car alone ever again. Did you see The Human Centipede, A Serbian Film, or Hostel and think, “Well, this is f**king terrifying.”
Probably not. You were probably, and appropriately, disgusted.
Top 5 Movies to Watch
28 Days later – 2002
There are run of mill, slow, shambling zombies, and then there are 28 Days Later zombies. This movie uses the primate-borne “rage virus” formula to populate London with massive amounts of vicious, intelligent and worst of all, fast flesh-eating monstrosities. Parts of this movie instill terror in me like no other film can to this day. The absolute cream of the modern-day zombie movie crop.
The Shining – 1980
A family heads to a secluded hotel for the winter where an evil presence drives the father (Jack Nicholson at his absolute best) into insanity, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. Film adaptation of Stephen King at its unequivocal finest.
Let The Right One In – 2008:
Oskar, a tortured and bullied boy from a broken home, finds acceptance and eventually love through Eli, a peculiar girl who moves in next door who proves to have a few dark secrets. A visceral, bloody love story that will tug at your heartstrings and turn your stomach simultaneously. It’s like Twilight, if Twilight wasn’t a vapid cash-in for teenage girls.
Night of The Living Dead – 1968:
Devoid of the complicated stories of modern zombie movies, the whole movie is just a rag tag group of people trying to survive an onslaught of the undead overnight in a farm house. Zombie movies don’t get any better than Night of the Living Dead.
Exorcist – 1973
Vomiting theater audiences and split pea soup. That is all.
Top 5 Movies to Miss
Saw Series – 2004 – 2010
How many of the Saw movies did you see? If the answer is all seven, then shame on you. The only series with seven entries I care about is Harry Potter. Franchises such as Saw carry a half decent concept for two or three entries and then run the plot into the ground with no concern for anything than the annual box office cash-in.
Night of The Living Dead 3d – 2006
The crowning jewel of the “wretched remake” category (other contenders include the remakes of The Amityville Horror (2005), Psycho (1998), and Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007).)
Hostel – 2005
A perfect example of the newly popularized torture porn industry, both Hostel movies’ plots consist of such weighty intellectual fare as, “Hey, you wanna watch a guy’s eyeball pop out of his head after some other guy takes a blowtorch to it?
Good, because that’s the next 90 minutes of your life. And you paid $15.00 to see this, by the way.”
Dead Silence – 2007
Headed by the Saw Series’ producers, Dead Silence is a movie that takes a genuinely creepy concept and ruins it with transparent characters, lazy pacing, and the same tired jump scares, motifs, and faux-twist endings that we’ve already seen in the Saw series.
A Serbian Film – 2010
Oh, you don’t believe me? You think you should check it out? You’re curious? Go ahead, you should totally check it out.