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Horror films lack scare factor

I realize that last week I exposed myself somewhat by revealing that I am a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic - that I actually like Steel Magnolias.

I also realize that my 'man card' is squarely up for debate. For this reason, I have decided to talk about my real passion, horror. Indeed, this genre is without a doubt my favorite and undeniably 'manly.'

I love getting scared - who doesn't? It's exhilarating and cathartic.

Unfortunately, I have not, nor have many horror fans, have enjoyed anything 'horror' as of late.

Of course there are exceptions, with Paranormal Activity delivering scares this past year for the genre.

Yet for every success there seems to be a thousand glaring failures. These observations beg the question, 'What's wrong with horror films today?'

More complicated than the current Obama healthcare bill and more daunting than my final research paper in my mass media theory class, what's wrong with horror likely has no succinct solution. Nonetheless, I intend to identify the seeds of what's wrong with my favorite movie genre.

First and foremost, let's stop with remakes, sequels to remakes, remakes of remakes, and even sequels to sequels. All these films preach to their audiences is that Hollywood horror lacks originality - directors, screenwriters, and producers have run completely out of ideas.

I want to go back to a time when masters like Craven, Romero and Carpenter were perfecting the genre and even making mistakes as they each created masterpieces that were fresh, daring and original.

Instead, audiences have been relegated to unoriginal horror fare like Rob Zombie's remake mess of the Halloween series. His films were more pornographic than horrific, more nauseating than enjoyable. He should be ashamed of the damage he did to the Halloween franchise.

Zombie isn't the only one to pillage the pillars of horror. Michael Bay's production company, Platinum Dunes, has remade The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, and will release A Nightmare on Elm Street later this month.

Unfortunately, each of these films, with possibly the exception of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was as bad if not worse than Zombie's epic failure.

Blood and gore seems to be another problem within the horror genre. Does blood and gore have a place in horror? Of course it does, after all the films deal with murderers and death, but audiences have been inundated with so many disemboweled victims, gouged-out eyes, and bleeding entrails that these elements have lost almost all their shock value.

Take for instance the Saw series which utilizes puzzling death traps devised to elicit overtly gory visuals. The next installment in fact will be shown in 3D to conjure even more splattered gruesomeness.

Saw has been a horror staple for years, yet I have never been scared of anything in the films themselves - uncomfortable yes, but never scared. After all isn't that what a horror movie is designed to do - to scare audiences?

Alfred Hitchcock was a genius as he used elements of blood and gore, but never blatantly displayed them. His shower scene in the masterpiece Psycho is a perfect example of horror. You never actually see the knife enter the body of victim Janet Leigh, but it is nonetheless an unnerving, horrifying scene.

Certainly, what isn't seen is much scarier than what is and our minds are incomparably darker and more haunting than what a director can create. Great directors know this and allow our minds to do the dirty, scary work for them.

Horror is in a definite drought. Gone are the days when scary movies like The Silence of the Lambs garner Oscars. Horror films have become calculated films that usually result in less or no originality. Will horror recover? It's highly unlikely, but like any good movie monster, horror is never dead and always ready for a sequel.

Matt Howard is a sophomore communication major from Nephi. He can be reached at howardfamilyut1@hotmail.com.'

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Thare1931 1 year, 7 months ago

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