Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are Slashers Getting Worse or are we Simply Getting Old?

Originally posted on www.horrormovies.ca
On the weekend, I decided to go to the theatres to see The Ruins. (The first decent mainstream horror film of this year if you ask me!) When I was walking to the concession stand to get my usual and overpriced snacks, I saw something that shocked the hell out of me…..and that was I saw a gigantic line up for….Prom Night.

I didn’t know whether to shake my head at the crowd, or point at them and laugh. Then it seemed that the joke was on me, because as soon as I got home, I found out not only did Prom Night make a sh*t load of money, but it also came in number one at the box office!! (WTF?!?!)
I kept contemplating as to how this was even possible. All of my friends had agreed that the movie looked like complete and utter sh*t and that it didn’t even look like it was worth the space on a computer for illegal downloading. I was under the assumption that no one wanted to go see this movie. So how did it make so much money you may ask? Teenagers, that’s how! Gullible teenagers far as the eye could see were standing in lines all over North America to watch a beyond predictable and brainless slasher movie.

I thought this was funny until I was hit with a flashback from when I was 14 years old. It was circa 1998, when Kevin Williamson knock offs and WB scream queens were all the rage. It was a time when Eli Roth and Darren Bousman were not known as the kings of mainstream horror, and Jamie Blanks was the new “IT” horror director.

There I was standing in a horrifically long line up, where I was anxiously awaiting to see….Urban Legend. In fact, I even went to see the movie….twice. (Gasp!) At the time, I loved the movie. I jumped at all the “scary” parts, I laughed at the stupid Dawson’s Creek reference, and I felt so accomplished that I figured out who the killer was….fifteen minutes before it was revealed. :P

Now when I watch the movie, I am embarrassed by my reaction to it just 10 years ago. However, it was a far better movie than Blank’s follow-up, Valentine. (A slasher I only watch now for the cameo appearance of hottie Johnny Whitworth.)

It was after that humiliating and revealing flashback, I had an epiphany. I realized that I had lined up to see the same bad slasher movies when I was young, that teenagers are lining up to see now. So why do I have such a repulsion to for Prom Night now?

Well besides it being yet another needless and very loosely based remake and as hard as this is going to be to write….I have grown tired of the conventions of a formula slasher movie. (I don’t think I’m the only one.) After years of watching slashers, you notice that they hardly evolve. In fact, most of them are stuck in the decade slasher thrived in. (That’s the eighties for you young ones reading this.. :P) The only time they do change, is when a movie re-invents the genre, and unfortunately that movie becomes the blue print for future rip offs.

Which brings up the question, are slasher movies getting worse or are we simply getting too old for the sh*t?

Think about it. The things in slasher movies that scared you when you were young do not scare you now. You start to become conscious of flaws that never bothered you before. You start to realize that the “boo” scares are merely just cheap ploys to frighten the audience. You start to notice the poorly written scripts far more, and you can always predict which order the characters are going to die even before they’re in harm’s way.

When you’re young, you don’t seem to notice these many imperfections due to the fact that you are extremely new to the horror genre. Argento, Romero, and Fulci are just names, rather than legends. I’m sure I’m not the only one who spent the majority of their childhood going to the video store and renting every bad slasher on VHS. Therefore, when you spend your early years dedicating your time to a sub-genre of films that puts majority of original thought and creativity solely in the “kills” department, you’re bound to grow tired and bored of formula slashers. Sure, you still treasure the old ones for nostalgic reasons, but majority of horror fans my age and above tend to stay away from the new ones, because it’s just not the same anymore.

So now it’s 2008, teenagers are still lining up to see mindless slasher films, and now Eli Roth knock offs and CW scream queens are all the rage. Has anything really changed?

Now if you excuse me, I suddenly have the urge to stock up on ‘Oil of Olay’ products.

1 comment:

Darsh said...

A lot of the new slasher movies do suck, but then something like INSIDE comes along and rebuilds my faith in the horror genre.