Are the days of "Straight" horror over?

I just got back from watching The Cabin in the Woods (it's awesome, go see it, thanks Moviebob), and it got me to thinking about how all the decent horror movies these days are also parody or deconstruction or just flat out only vaguely horror related.

For one thing, people today are probably much more able to adapt than they were decades ago, thanks to the internet, smartphones, etc. And horror just isn't scary anymore when you know who's most likely to live or die. The Saw movies did the Torture Porn thing for a while, but even that got tired.

So...is straight "horror" dead? There are still some decent horror games, like Amnesia and Limbo (though Limbo also had a certain dark humor to it - decapitating a child and watching his head fly is both terrifying and hilarious). But as someone who enjoys being scared, I am routinely disappointed by the horror genre.

If you want straight horror you need to look somewhere outside of the United States. American horror just isn't scary, it's either completely stupid and predictable relying on cliches, or it's just a gore-fest with no context for the gore (and gore without context isn't scary).

Japan still does some pretty decent horror, but that's partially because their culture in general seems somewhat strange an alien to westerners, so their movies automatically take us further out of our comfort zones than American movies, which greatly increases their effectiveness at horror.

I gotta agree with Dirty Hipsters, you aren't going to find that type of horror movie that doesn't rely on jump thrills or cheap shots. (Not in the US at least)

I was thinking about this a few days ago after stumbling onto the Scary Thread and how much more those stories stuck with me rather than just gettin' my heartbeat up for a few seconds.

My favourite type of horror is the kind that stick with you.

Horror is just one of those genres that sort of collapses under it's own weight. It's so built on expectation and payoff under fairly strict convention that it seems really tough for anyone to do anything new or different. And when so much of the appeal to the genre does come from doing the unexpected, that hurts in horror probably more than it does with anything else.

I'm not a fan of horror for the most part, and the reason why is very, very, very simple: 99% of the time I end up cheering for the bad guys or the "monsters" or whatever else the antagonist(s) may be simply because the protagonist character(s) irritate me to all fucking hell, especially when they're female. There is only so many times some teenage girl will open her dumb mouth screaming "Hello?! Who's there?" in a dark room, or explore an area where she heard a horrible noise, before it all starts becoming comedic, rather than tense. Maybe I've just seen the wrong films, I don't know.

That said, The Thing (1982) is a fantastic film.

Yeah, it's hard to do horror well, it's much easier just to run through the cliches and have lots of boobs and sexy girls getting killed for having sex lives.

Not to say that it can't be done, but most people don't put the effort in.

I think horror needs that creepy creepy orchestra music. After watching some old horrors I was hiding under the bed. When you turn off the sound, it isn't scary though. I think Alfred Hitchcock's "the birds" is like this (who am I kidding, even without the music I could nor go near a pond for days).

Then there is the 80s with "the changeling" and "the fog" and several banned movies which I won't mention here.

Did "eraser head" get banned...brrr....that was creepy.

BathorysGraveland:
I'm not a fan of horror for the most part, and the reason why is very, very, very simple: 99% of the time I end up cheering for the bad guys or the "monsters" or whatever else the antagonist(s) may be simply because the protagonist character(s) irritate me to all fucking hell, especially when they're female. There is only so many times some teenage girl will open her dumb mouth screaming "Hello?! Who's there?" in a dark room, or explore an area where she heard a horrible noise, before it all starts becoming comedic, rather than tense. Maybe I've just seen the wrong films, I don't know.

That said, The Thing (1982) is a fantastic film.

This. I get that people don't act completely rational under extreme stress, but that doesn't mean they get to act completely fucking retarded.

I don't think a horror film has scared me since I was 11 years old. I remember seeing 5minutes of IT when I was around 10 I shit myself( not quite literally). I saw Insidious a month ago now I got told it was scary but it just wasn't, I found myself laughing during some scenes. Has anyone seen Woman In Black? How does it rate on the shit-yourself-o-meter?

Horror books are a differnt story, there were points when I was reading 'Salems Lot that I was afraid to pick the book up and continue reading. I'm disappointed with the next King book I'm reading Insomnia, it's just not scary. I'm struggling to finish the book 106 pages to go but I don't care how it ends. The first half of the book was good but now it's boring. That was a bit of a ramble I'm sorry.

BathorysGraveland:
I'm not a fan of horror for the most part, and the reason why is very, very, very simple: 99% of the time I end up cheering for the bad guys or the "monsters" or whatever else the antagonist(s) may be simply because the protagonist character(s) irritate me to all fucking hell, especially when they're female. There is only so many times some teenage girl will open her dumb mouth screaming "Hello?! Who's there?" in a dark room, or explore an area where she heard a horrible noise, before it all starts becoming comedic, rather than tense. Maybe I've just seen the wrong films, I don't know.

That said, The Thing (1982) is a fantastic film.

the thing is one of theonly films that starts with an oppressive atmosphere and just keeps pilling it on and it still works at the end. apart from one dodgy special effect its still a remarkable film all these years later

ToTaL LoLiGe:
I don't think a horror film has scared me since I was 11 years old. I remember seeing 5minutes of IT when I was around 10 I shit myself( not quite literally). I saw Insidious a month ago now I got told it was scary but it just wasn't, I found myself laughing during some scenes. Has anyone seen Woman In Black? How does it rate on the shit-yourself-o-meter?

Horror books are a differnt story, there were points when I was reading 'Salems Lot that I was afraid to pick the book up and continue reading. I'm disappointed with the next King book I'm reading Insomnia, it's just not scary. I'm struggling to finish the book 106 pages to go but I don't care how it ends. The first half of the book was good but now it's boring. That was a bit of a ramble I'm sorry.

The Woman in Black wasn't very shit yourself scary, it was just like looking over your shoulder creepy. Still a great movie though.

OT: Straight horror isn't dead, you're looking in the wrong places.

No. First of all, creative horror still thrives in other markets than the american and british ones.

And second of all, there will always be people who spend their time and effort thinking of new and terrifying things.

People like me.

You can add any metaphors to horror that you want, people will still go watch it as long as they can get stiffies from watching innocent people die horrible, bloody deaths.

Event Horizon. All I'm gonna say.

The problem i've found with some horror movies is they get "dumbed down".

Allow me to explain.

Some horror films (The Ring, The Grudge, Orphan, Quarantine, Let Me In, Mirrors) are taken by Hollywood and remade into, well, less horror. They replace the psychological horror with typical "jump" scares and shock gore that is about as terrifying as a pink hamster.

The originals are usually far better (especially Japanese horror, some of those are slightly twisted).

Then you get to "slasher" flicks that keep getting churned out. You know as soon as you meet the characters who is going to live or die.

Saw was good, for the first 2. Familiarity breeds contempt as they say.

Same with Final Destination. I loved the first one but after that, well, not so much.

It's not that they are bad films it's just, we've seen it before it doesn't do anything different.

Horror also goes for the shock and gore aspect now. More blood does not equal more horror.

Then it comes down to character. Teen slasher films, final destination, Saw and quite a few others all suffer from the "I don't give a toss if you die" syndrome. It's not scary if people cheer when your cast die.

Some older horror films are guilty of that as well. I'll take the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. People were expected to take pity on the lad in the wheelchair except they made his character so fracking irritating I was begging for him to get bumped off.

Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween all did the teen slasher style kills to death. In their time they were good films (well the first few) because it was new but as time goes by it gets old, very quickly.

Some films coming out are still decent horror but they are few and far between.

I'll leave you with The Human Centipede.....

Horror, like humor, doesn't work if you keep repeating the same things. It may be genuinely funny/scary when you first see it. Maybe you like it so much that it still works the second time they repeat it. Hey, if they keep adding new twists to it it may still be funny/scary the tenth time you've seen it. But at some point it just gets old. When you see a zombie movie now you may not even understand why zombies were scary in the first place. I don't think, horror, as a concept, is dead. I just think people should try a different approach once in a while if they want to keep it fresh.

Haven't seen a good horror flick since REC. Fuck...was that the best horror film ever.

Well...there hasn't been much really. What I'm dying for is another horror game on the 360 that's actually good. Condemned 2 was the last one I liked. Christ.

I don't even bother picking up hollywood horror films anymore. Last movie I saw was "The Ring' and my god did it suck... It was nothing compared to the japanese one.

Foreign horror films is where the scary is at these days. Being able to understand japanese I am never out of good movies to scare myself with. Anyone here ever seen the original, japanese version of 'One Missed Call'? That thing was... just... *shudders*

Which reminds me, I need to try and find a copy of spanish 'Quarantine'...(The original before hollywood stuck it through the cliche-fodder)

Ahem.

PLAY AMNESIA: DARK DESCENT OR THE PENUMBRA SERIES AND YOU WILL KNOW TRUE HORROR!!!!

Dirty Hipsters:
If you want straight horror you need to look somewhere outside of the United States. American horror just isn't scary, it's either completely stupid and predictable relying on cliches, or it's just a gore-fest with no context for the gore (and gore without context isn't scary).

Japan still does some pretty decent horror, but that's partially because their culture in general seems somewhat strange an alien to westerners, so their movies automatically take us further out of our comfort zones than American movies, which greatly increases their effectiveness at horror.

Thanks for your opinion America basher. Japan does decent horror? In the movies i've seen with subtitles, it's a boring cast of 20 different people spending way too long doing nothing until the supposed scary thing happens, and it's a letdown. Ringu was boring, Ichi the Killer was stupid, Battle Royale was unintentionally funny (death boner?). Setting aside torture porn genres, what exactly is American horror anyway? Not all of them follow the same structure so how do you define it as a whole?

 

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