Monday, April 25, 2011

The Future of Horror

The final Saw film came out last year marking the end of an era.  Every Halloween for seven years a new film was released.  This was remarkable since few horror films have pulled this off.   Now that they are over, I have to ask "What's Next"? 

Horror films have long been the product of their times and subject to trends.  The success of Saw brought on the trend of the so-called "torture-porn" movies.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre  remake's success has led to countless horror classics being remade.  

What will the next trend in horror be?  I personally think it will be documentary/found footage film.  The Last Exorcism, Paranormal Activity, Quarantine (which was itself a remake of rec) these films have already proven to be successful.  They have small budgets, and yield a great return for the studios.  They also cash in on the reality TV craze that has been going strong for the last few years.  

 I have a feeling that the trend may not last as long in horror though.  Horror fans tend to want something new to shock them, that's why most of the trends don't last that long.  Horror fans also like to have a villain with a face too.  That's something that these found footage/mockumentary films generally lack.  Jason, Freddy, Michael and recently Victor Crowley give the horror fan someone to fear.

I think the found footage has a couple of years left.  After that, who knows?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Three things found in every horror movie house, but rarely in yours

Hopefully you live in the house on the right.

While horror movie tend to change with the times, there are a few things they are behind on.  Some of the most important involve changes in building design and personal hygiene.   So here are a few of the most out of place items in horror movies. 

Well maybe they have these at Sweeny Todd's house.
 1. Straight razors.  Almost every house in a horror movie seems to have baskets of these things just laying around.  They always make for a scary visual, but when was the last time you saw one in real life?  I'm 40 and I've only seen them in horror movies.  It's probably a good thing, I can cut myself with a safety razor, these things would kill me.

They always leave your back to the door too.

2. The claw-foot tub.  The main reason for these is so that the killer can pop up behind the teenage girl and murder her.  I say teenage girl, because in horror movies men never take baths or showers. 

3. The bathroom mirror/medicine cabinet.  Long ago these were replaced with larger mirrors so people would have a place to pose for Facebook pictures.  The only purpose these serve in horror movies is this:

Honorable Mention: Breaker boxes on the outside of the house.  By about 1980 people learned that keeping the controls to the power outside was a bad idea.  Now the psycho has to actually be in the house before he can plunge the heroes into darkness.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Insidious (2011)

Nothing creepier than an evil looking kid.

Director: James Wan
Writer: Leigh Whanell

The Story:  A family discovers that dark spirits have possessed their home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma.   

The Good: The cast does a great job in this movie. 
As if one haunted house wasn't bad enough. 

 Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson are not only very believable they also make smart choices.  One of the things I really liked about this movie, was that the characters avoided making many of the stereotypical stupid horror movie mistakes. 
To me, the characters that stole the movie were Specs and Tucker. 
Leigh Whannell as, you guessed it "Specs"
Angus Sampson as Tucker
Specs and Tucker are paranormal investigators who get called in to see if the house is truly haunted.  They show using ghostbusting equipment that looks half steam-punk, half MacGyver.  These two low rent ghostbusters are very engaging and I would really like to see a whole movie just about them. 

The Bad: While the characters avoid many horror cliches, the movie does not.  A lot of the scares are simply loud musical cues, and the old black cat scare.  The must have had a very low budget on this because some of the scenes are nothing but black backgrounds and fog. 
When they decide to conduct a seance, things with the psychic take a turn into bat-shit weird that I can't even explain properly.  You'll just have to see it to believe it.

The Ugly: By now everyone has probably seen this scene on the trailer:
It's not polite to point.

The monster here looks very creepy and intimidating.  They really should have kept him in the shadows.  At first the creature is only glimpsed in shadows or psychic drawings.  He's very scary looking in all of those.  Once they finally reveal him, not so much.  Imagine a creature that has  Darth Maul's head on a shirtless male model body, wearing goatskin leggings and there you go. 

The Verdict: This is not a terrible movie, but it doesn't really break any new ground.  It's worth watching, but not something I would see twice.  I would like to see a sequel that focuses on Specs and Tucker's next job though.