Horror movies reviewed

By Axel Marcenaro
On November 2, 2018

I’m not here to say that there was a time when movies were all better. However, I am here to say there was a time when the slasher film subgenre didn’t reign supreme in horror. In that time, horror movies elicited fear from atmosphere, dialogue, confusion and suspense. Monsters and gore were rarely seen or seen only for a moment due to the lack of convincing effects. This generally made for better storytelling.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love slasher films. They’re fun and when they’re done right, they can be incredibly effective as horror. But after watching a film like "The Shining," I wish slashers hadn’t taken over the genre.

"The Shining," adapted by Stanley Kubrick from Stephen King’s novel, was a psychological horror film that released amid the slasher craze in 1980. It did not follow trends and was received poorly by many in that time. Today, it is seen as one of the best films of its kind. "The Shining" did everything modern horror blockbusters don’t have the patience for. The fear came from the passive aggression in the dialogue, the character’s hidden anxiety and slow action on screen. The film featured only a handful of intentionally scary shots mixed in at perfectly paced times and only two climactic deaths.

The film feels like a two-and-a-half-hour shallow breath you clench while the screen uncomfortably holds your dry eyelids open. I mean that with the most fantastic sense of praise possible, by the way. The accomplishment of the suspense, along with gorgeous cinematography, set design, wardrobe coordination, music and sound, seems like something almost completely lost today.

Even movies outside of the slasher subgenre tend to follow predictable slasher-style patterns of killing and three second suspense followed by a jump scare. It’s worn out to me. My love of horror films seems to have grown into a one-sided relationship, with me giving my money to the movie and the movie giving me nothing in return.

So, what’s the problem? Where did this type of suspense horror go? Well, it went where the money was. I hate to sound like an old man, but no one really has the attention span for slow-burn thrillers anymore. Audiences want a fast flicker followed by a CGI monster that leaps at the screen. Studios have little reason to fund movies that won’t make money back, so my beloved genre of horror tends to stay suspended at the red light. Perhaps it has awkwardly tripped over nothing during a chase or it’s busy checking out the weird sound that came from the basement. Either way, I’m upset and bored.

So, what do we do about it? This is actually an easy question to answer. Go watch the few movies released that aren’t typical slasher films. If we’ll pay for it, they’ll make it. Unless you’d rather see the 10th "Nightmare on Elm Street," the 11th "Halloween" or the 13th "Friday the 13th" movie.

It’s up to you.

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