It’ll never not seem weird to me. We pay good money to pack ourselves into theaters to watch something that we expect to unsettle us. We’re hoping that we end up unable to sleep, keeping the lights on, or if we do sleep, maybe we’ll wake up screaming in cold sweats. We’re actually disappointed if after the movie we can be comfortably alone, and we’re not looking over our shoulders. We hope after seeing it that hellacious evil is real and just around the corner. That’s what makes for a great horror movie.
But something happened. These days it seems like almost every horror movie is blasted by critics, and even the good ones have packed theaters of people laughing at the horror. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed when I was terrified. Sure, I’d laugh at Goosebumps now, but as a child I knew that fear was nothing to laugh at.
Maybe it’s because we now live in a world where there’s a camera in every hand and a light in every corner. The unexplained mysteries are disappearing as we keep uploading any image imaginable to the nearest search engine. We can see real people getting their heads cut off at the click of a mouse, and somehow now believe that all those ghosts and monsters our grandparents warned us about at camp fires were all a hoax. There’s nothing in the world as terrible as us, who’ve looked in the mirror too long, and found ourselves smiling, unable to be afraid.
But that can’t be the case. Not for most of us, at least. We’re not immune to fear. After all, we still need it – it serves an evolutionary purpose. A lot of us are just too safe to believe it’s still relevant, and the movies have gotten desperate in trying to have us recognize that. Take it from someone who still sleeps every night with his computer chair facing him so that he knows a severed Voldemort head isn’t plotting while it’s turned away, fear is still here. It’s just harder to find on the big screen.
Here are 10 things Hollywood needs to understand to revive the failing horror genre (a somewhat sequel to this earlier article)…
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