is probably my favourite genre. It’s the one I get most excited about and actually look forward to being scared out of my wits. It’s a disturbing thought really, that we enjoy putting ourselves through these two hour fright fests that have us hanging on the edge of our seats. Gripping on to the armchair or the person next to us on this white knuckle ride of terror, with an almost unbearable tension that leaves you feeling like you’ve just done a full body workout rather than watched a film. We all have different reasons for watching films like this, whether it’s a distraction from our own lives, a need to feel intense emotions, to share the experience with friends, or to prove how tough we are by how much we can tolerate without looking away. But one thing is a definite. These experiences are enjoyed most when shared with friends at home and/or with complete strangers in a movie theatre. We buzz off each other and the atmosphere it creates. You notice your friends sat beside you, curled up with their eyes shielded behind their hands, cushions, coats, whatever they find most comforting. It’s a shared experience because you are doing exactly the same. Though for some reason when I cover my eyes, I don’t actually cover them. I watch the entire film watching through parted fingers.
It’s reassuring to have my hands by my face in case anything really terrible happens. There’s an element of humour in these films and the atmosphere that surrounds them, which for me takes the edge off the scare making it enjoyable and not unpleasant to watch so we want to come back for more.
Having said that, the genre has fallen into a rut, in fact let’s make that a giant crater. This last decade has seen nothing but sequels, prequels and remakes, with the exception of only a handful of originals worth mentioning. Drag me to hell, Eden Lake, and Saw (The original) being three of the most memorable for me. That’s not to say sequels, prequels, and remakes aren’t good. Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween and its sequel are two of my favourite films in Horror, and if done properly they can be amazing. But they are saturating the genre; leaving little room for anything original.
These films have become predictable and unimaginative. It’s disappointing to constantly hold out hope for something fresh only to be given the same recycled story-lines and cheap scares. Though I enjoy the predictable staples of horror, the creaky floorboards, the ominous noises, eerie reflections, and doors closing to reveal harmless characters, plus countless other devices employed to scare, I’d like them to come up with new and imaginative ways to scare us. I admit it’s nice to know what’s going to happen next, it makes you feel clever that you have it sussed. But a six year old would have it sussed too, your nan would probably have it sussed! Hell, someone who hadn’t watched TV in fifty years would probably have it figured out too. It would make a really nice change to be surprised with the unexpected. Don’t insult your audience; reward us with something a little more creative. Challenge us and make us sweat over what’s going to happen next. Do you hear? You, who pumps our screens full of this shit! (Even though I really enjoy it) Give me something more.
Really though, I don’t know why I’m saying any of this because as it is I have to check my wardrobe and under my bed every night before I turn the lights out. I don’t know why I do it to myself. I know after I’ve watched a horror film I’ll be expecting the boogie man to jump out from behind a car and kill me on my way home. Harmless bystanders in the street become assumed stalkers and any suspicious noises in the house naturally become tormented poltergeists; all very logical and rational explanations. But I can’t help myself. I love horror films and will watch them even if I have to sleep with my wardrobe pushed against the door. Usually though, I’ll just rope my friends into staying the night, and the following night, and the night after that. Well you get the gist. It takes a while for me to get over them.