Horror Movies aren't Scary Anymore

Sam Hart

2007-05-12 06:46:51

I know, way to state the obvious. The thing is, I'll confess that I've always liked the horror and thriller genres. When I was entirely too young I had nightmares from the ghosts in Poltergeist. I spazzed out over the guy in the dog suit in The Shining. Leaped from my seat when Lois Maxwell as Grace Markway reached from the attic in The Haunting. Later on I thrilled at the campy ways Freddy Kruger tormented and killed his prey in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

And yet here I am, at two in the morning, watching the 2006 remake of "The Hills Have Eyes", and for the life of me, I can't remember the last time a movie really scared me.

Oh, I've tried to be scared. I saw the Silent Hill movie, which was based on such freaky material I might add, but instead of being scared I wound up being turned on by the nurses (does that make me ill?) I watched that Emily Rose movie, and aside from the one scene where her boyfriend woke to find her twisted on the floor, I found the movie a yawn-fest. Rubber masks, CGI, and high speed film played at the wrong rate doth not a scary movie make.

I think the principle problem is everything has been done before... and typically done to death. How many times do we have to see the bad guy lying there dead, only to have the camera pan away just as they twitch before we just expect the bad guy to never die the first time? How many pools of blood do people have to fall in before it just starts looking like crimson water?

So I guess I shouldn't be too hard on the genre, you can still occasionally find gems. The Blair Witch project certainly was original and genuinely scary (as long as you have the proper setting, dimmed lights, surround sound, etc.) Then there's the generally brilliant Asian market (forget Ringu, give me The Audition for pure terror any day).

But for every 28 Days Later, there's a zillion remakes like The Omen or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So maybe the problem isn't the genre is dead, rather it's drowning. Hard to find the proverbial needle in the haystack that is the horror genre.

Anyway, one character in the awful remake of The Hills Have Eyes did seem to be a rip-off of a short that is much better at being freaky, Rubber Johnny. If you haven't seen it before, enjoy :-)