Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bad Horror Movies

Why is it that any horror movie, no matter how poorly reviewed, inevitably opens at number one at the box office? This weekend, The Amityville Horror, which had no big stars, was a massive success. I'm a huge Philip Baker Hall and Melissa George fan, but I don't think too many people are going to see the movie just because of them. And it's not even just this one, earlier this year, Boogeyman opened at number one, and was a big success. I mean, the movie was called Boogeyman, there's no way that's going to be good, and yet it still makes so much money.

I guess what bothers me is that any bad horror movie makes so much money, and that means we're going to see more of those, while it still remains very difficult to get funding for quality indie movies. I've never been a fan of the horror genre, I liked The Shining and some of Hitchcock's stuff, but generally speaking, I prefer movies that aim to do more than just scare you. Horror is an element that can be used in movies to great effect, as in a film like Irreversible or Oldboy, but those films did much more than just try to scare you.

I think that's one of the basic rules of genre filmmaking, particularly comedy and horror. I love a film that's funny, but it's not enough to just be funny, there need to be good characters, visuals or something else to keep you interested. If you have really well developed characters, it's so much easier to do comedy. Looking at TV, on Buffy, the comedy episodes were much funnier than the material (which was still good) just because we knew so much about the characters, and the writers were able to play off their established traits. Similarly, the horror moments were more effective because we actually cared about the characters.

Watching The Grudge earlier this year, I saw a film that was little more than a bunch of scenes of people popping up suddenly, to startle you, not scare you. Most horrro films don't actually get under the surface, they just frighten you on the surface, then move on. I much prefer a film that is disturbing and lingers with you long after the initial viewing, but I guess most people don't, sicne they keep going to these bad horror movies. And, going to films now, at least half of the trailers are for this type of horror movie, the end is not in sight.

1 comment:

Calvin Brock said...

The games focused more on creating a constant sense of skin crawling nightmarish dread, giving the gamer the feeling that around any corner, through every door or window, there's some hellish abomination just waiting to tear your face off and wear it as a jock strap! The movie has failed here which is unfortunate because they succee. very scary movies