3.08.2009

10 Reasons to Love Horror Movies



Just ten of the limitless reasons why I (and hopefully others) adore the horror.

1. 90-Minute Rule

Almost all horror films are about an hour and a half long. It’s a benchmark. Very rarely do they drag over two hours. Horror knows the limits of the human attention span, as well as the bladder.

Examples: Halloween (91 min.), Friday the 13th (95 min.), Nightmare on Elm Street (91 min.)

2. Oxymoron: Gratuity Becomes Essential

Gratuitousness is no longer gratuitous because it is purposeful in the horror film. It’s a staple of the generic code.

Example: Would Evil Dead be remembered without the tree rape, the eye-gouging, and the stop motion demon melting?

3. Sequels and Remakes

While most people would consider these negative, I believe they are one of the reasons to love horror films because A) you’re going to get more of what you love and B) you know it’s probably not going to be as good as the original, so you don’t have to get upset…just enjoy.

Example: Friday the 13th. I am overjoyed at the thought of any new entry, regardless of petty details. I don’t care if it’s a remake, a reboot, a sequel, a prequel, etc. I want more Jason!

4. You Can Wish Evil Upon Others…and it’s okay!

The bratty girl, the stuck-up teacher, the rich snob, the obnoxious jock, anyone that’s annoying…you can root for all of these people to die, without risking Columbine status. Let’s face it, annoying characters hardly ever die in other genres and that’s…well annoying.

Example: Trey (you know he’s a jerk just by the name) from Freddy vs. Jason, a.k.a. the guy with the most misogynistic lines: “Babe, you know I don’t like to be touched afterword”; “Babe, don’t make me ask you twice.” There wasn’t a person in the audience that didn’t smile upon him getting folded in half by some sort of a Murphy bed/sofa-couch.

5. Celebrity Has New Meaning

There are three ways to look at the word “celebrity” in the horror film. 1: We will look forward to the death of a particularly gaudy celebrity if they are billed as a co-star in a slasher. 2: We know the movie will most likely suck if a celebrity is cast as the lead, as it will be a dumbed-down, horror-suspense-thriller mutant of a studio replicate. 3: Horror fans are more excited about genre legends than celebrities; a Kane Hodder cameo appearance is worth more than Tom Cruise as the lead.

Examples: We all wanted to watch Paris Hilton die in House of Wax. But did anyone bother to see Diane Lane in Untraceable? Personally, I’d rather check out Hatchet for my own versions of genre celebrities.

6. Are you serious? Of course not!

Horror films generally don’t take themselves too seriously .They are self-aware and conscious of audience expectations. You can laugh when someone dies in the middle of the theatre and you’re not a jerk because of it.

Example: Planet Terror: the missing reel, the grain effects, the El Wray character, Tom Savini, and the generally odd sense of humor

7. The Best Titles Ever

Horror films have some of the most amazing titles ever. Whether or not they actually represent the movie, the 70’s and 80’s produced some of the most bizarre and outlandish motion picture names.

Examples: Splatter University or simply “Splatter U,” Sewage Baby, The Mole People, Attack of the Killer Shrews, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Mountaintop Motel Massacre, C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers), Kill Baby…Kill!, Humanoids from the Deep, Cannibal Holocaust, Blacula, Blackenstein, Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, Flight of the Undead, Rabid Grannies, Cannibal Roller Babes, Space Psychos 4, Vampire-Beast Craves Blood, Werewolves on Wheels, The Nostril Picker, The Manster, The Revenge of the Savage Bees

8. Guessing Games

What other genre lets you play games with your friends that revolve around predicting the method of death for certain characters? You get to guess who dies, how they die, when they die, if they’re really dead or not, and sometimes, who the killer is.

Example: Scream—We all know Billy’s the killer, but why does that creepy music swell up when we see Dewey? Isn’t Stu pretty creepy too? Wait…Billy gets stabbed. It can’t be Billy, well then who is it? Oh…but Billy’s not really dead? It’s him! No, there’s more…. It’s….Stu as well!

9. Weird Sub-Genres

I have this thing for sub-genres and there are so many in horror. Sure, other genres have them as well, but some of the wackiest ones sprout from horror.

Examples: High-School Revenge, Rape-Revenge, Evil Children, Killer (insert animal, profession, or any pronoun here), Teen Slasher, College Killer, Lesbian Vampires, Zombies, Running Non-Zombies (diseased people that are practically zombies), Horrotica, Breakdown, Giallo, Schlock, Splatter-Comedy, Exploitation, Survival

10. Horror Fans

Being a horror aficionado is not like being a fan of another genre. There really is no fan-base for dramas or comedies—besides allegiance to a particular film or filmmaker. Sci-Fiction enthusiasts are pretty close to horror fans, but even they seem to be more scrupulous with their genre. Trekkies will wage war against Lucas-lovers. Firefly fans may mock flying saucer films. As for psychotic dedication, Sci-Fi fanatics take the cake with geek-core conventions, elaborate costumes, and the whole going through medical procedures to fashion Spock ears thing. Horror nerds, however, will wear a horror t-shirt, bring DVD’s for genre favs to sign, and then go home smiling ear to ear. Horror enthusiasts will also watch pretty much anything horror. They may not like everything, but they’ll give anything a shot just because it is a horror film.

Examples: Me, You?


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