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Note: I was inspired from watching “We need to talk about Kevin” to write this post, instead of a review. There will probably be more non-review material in the future, because sometimes I have more to say about a film or genre. Feel free to comment below and discuss the article.
The horror genre has been going through a bit of renaissance as of late.
Many would argue that the late 70’s, early 80’s were the “golden age” of horror, introducing us to new monstrosities such as Jason from the “Friday the 13th” films, “Freddy Krueger” from “Nightmare on Elm Street,” Michael Meyers, Leprechaun, Pin Head, the “Evil Dead” movies and numerous new entries to the genre such as cannibalism, zombies etc.
These films laid a lot of ground work for future horror movies and started several sub genres such as the slasher film, the horror comedy and many more.
These awesome movies were enjoyed by kids and adults alike, though many adults would never admit or let their children watch these films especially at the time. Today it’s sort of a tradition of sorts, to gather some friends around to watch the latest “Friday the 13th” movie or other such title to have a laugh and a thrill.
Those ground breaking films were a far cry from 90’s horror, which took the tropes from the masters of the 80’s and… did basically nothing with it. The formulas in the 70s and 80s worked because we didn’t have cell phones and other such modern conveniences. Throw in terrible nu metal music and that guy who’s just out to get laid, and you have 80% of horror movies from the 90s.
Not to say that I didn’t enjoy any horror films from this decade, but they definitely focused more on the “fun” aspects that Jason and Freddy laid for us and without that aspect we never would have gotten “Scream.”
Somewhere between “The Blair Witch Project” and “Final Destination 2,” something happened; Horror started to get taken seriously. It hadn’t matured quite yet, so what we got was extreme versions of things we used to belly-laugh at – I’m talking about “torture porn.” We got movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” which are fine movies on their own, but definitely a product of the time in horror history.
“The Blair Witch Project” was immensely influential on the found footage “genre,” which came to prominence a few years later with “Paranormal Activity” and is now over saturated, but there’s some great films in this type of horror movie.
Movies like “The Conjuring” picked up the last scraps of the supernatural type films and did amazing things with them. I’d rank “The Conjuring” as the scariest movie I saw in 2013.
Today, horror has gone from being “realistic” in it’s mechanics to focusing on real things that we all experience in our day to day lives forming commentary on things like mental illness and our own obsessions as humans. “The Babdook” was about a woman who hated her child. “It Follows” is about sexually transmitted diseases. “Starry Eyes” is about self-obsessed delusion. All of these subjects are relevant to our current state of mind, the state society is in today.
We will see how these films age over the course of the next 20 years or so, but as it stands now, I sincerely hope that horror continues on this route, at least from the perspective of a person who likes his films more on the darker side.