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I want scary

Mark Bemenderfer | Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I want blood. Violence. Ghosts, ghouls, monsters. I want something scary. And not roommate walking out of shower naked scary. I mean Halloween scary.

It’s a shame that scary has lost much of its meaning in modern times. A week before Halloween, we have “The Fog” and “Doom” in theaters. Both come from a strong heritage in the realm of horror, and yet these recent incarnations are as dead in horror as a drug-dealing, promiscuous teen in a slasher film. In short, they’re pretty dead.

Before that, there was “House of Wax” and “The Cave,” among others. None of the aforementioned movies had an inch of creativity in them, ranging from the craptastic to eye-bleedingly bad. Some have been so horrendous, I’ve found myself planning school assignments while sitting in the theater. There is a redeeming quality in the cheese factor, but one can only take so much of that. Eventually a good movie becomes necessary for mental well being, or you find yourself looking at “Gigli” or Will Ferrell movies in the rental aisle.

Horror genres are being as mercilessly slaughtered as the victims found within. Hollywood has managed to kill the zombies, something not many have accomplished. They no longer have the same psychological punch they once did. Slashers are also dying a painful death. How many different masks can essentially the same killer wear?

Beyond that, practically every horror movie in recent years has been either a remake or sequel. Where’s the creativity? For something to be truly frightening, it has to reflect the unknown.

No horror movie in recent history has been truly creative or original. Every other movie features some vengeful ghost with drippy hair, some deformed guy with a knife or some slimy creature hungry for a little midnight snack. They aren’t scary anymore. Hollywood has managed to milk these genres employing cheap scares and overworked CGI, but those won’t last.

Developers have become aware of this creative stagnation in the genre, too. It has led to the creation of movies that no longer take themselves seriously, such as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Scary Movie.” Independent efforts like “Cabin Fever” and “Dead and Breakfast” have also reflected this growing satire.

The horror industry is tired. When Jason is going to see his twelfth movie, and a possible thirteenth, it becomes obvious that things need to change. The viewer needs to stop going to see these movies, because as long as they make money they will continue to be made. Truly original, creative works will not be made when they have established labels to contend with. Hollywood is afraid of taking risks, and unless they find a reason to, they won’t.

So this Halloween season, instead of going out to see the latest schlock Hollywood has put out, go to the video store and check the library of horror there. Look up John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Sam Raimi or one of the older masters of horror. If all else fails, there’s always reality television.