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The state of modern horror films


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Word is going round that the next entry in the Friday the 13th series is going to be a found-footage story.

 

I know found-footage has been done to death and it takes something special to breath life into it (Blair Witch, Cloverfield, REC and Chronicle are the stand-outs for me), but I'm interested to see how it will work in this genre.

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OH F*CKING BOO.

 

It's only just been announced, but I can exclusively reveal the first screen shot;

 

http://www.voiceforschoolchoice.com/sites/default/files/field/image/bottom%20of%20the%20barrel.jpeg

 

My two least favourite things, found footage movies and high budget remakes of low budget slashers. Just put Eli Roth in the director's chair and I'll have all the motivation I need to kill myself. There have been two excellent found footage horror movies ever; the first REC and The Blair Witch Project, and here's why neither of them fit Friday 13th whatsoever:

 

Friday 13th is about people dying. That's it, it's just about people dying, it's about seeing people you don't really like die in stupid ways. There's is no part of that that works in the found footage format at all. Blair Witch works because you see nothing, it's entirely psychological. It was a film for it's time, a very refreshing, very clever answer to the what was, at the time, the increasing flippancy of slasher movies, a formula that kinda falls apart the second your trying to make one of the most genre following slasher movies in history, probably THE genre following slasher movie. Secondly, in the case of REC, found footage only works with one main protagonist, normally the old "last girl" cliche, which means either this woman has to be in the sort of ridiculous situation where she sees everyone else dying for some reason and does nothing about it, or Jason doesn't kill all that many people, or there's multiple cameras, which would make the entire found footage thing completely pointless.

 

The only good thing about it is that it instantly makes the film hatable to everyone, because it's not even trying. It's the easiest thing in the world, take an over done cliche that hasn't been done right in years, take a overdone trend that has never managed to make a single remake better than the original (other than, arguably, Evil Dead, which I liked a lot) squash them into each other and start collecting money. It's helpful that they aren't even bothering to try anymore. Like, Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning, it's obviously going to be awful from the off, but at least they're trying, they've got a new thing and they're giving it a go, and it stunk, and there you go. Even inane English language remarks are helpful for the mentally retarded. But this is the absolute bottom of the barrel. We're at it, we're finally here, the horror genre has stopped trying. Take the gimmick from Paranormal Activity which was universal recognised as a complete turd, but made a load of money, and and it to the trend of remaking perfectly imperfect slasher movies, which have all stunk, but mostly made money, and, hey presto, the reason God lets child-cancer happen; modern American high-budget horror movies.

 

Coming soon to a cinema near you; Freddy Krueger: The Teenage Years, Cannibal Holocaust: The Musical, The Candyman staring Trey Songz and my inevitable armed rampage.

Edited by John Hancock
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When I say good found footage, I mean stuff that's good because of the found footage, not despite it. REC and Blair Witch Project are better because they're found footage films, everything is just the same film with a gimmick, or made worse by it. Things made worse by it would be things like Cloverfield, a realistic depiction of the destruction of Manhattan in which one swears of really bleeds or ever gets too upset because all those real people had to get a low enough rating to mass market it. Things like that where they try to make it real, but it's so clearly fake is when it becomes completely laughable. The found footage format turned Cloverfield from a fun, silly Godzilla throw back to a satirical comedy about how bad all the extras are in monster movies.

 

The worst part is, there's so many remakes that would be fine as a found footage film (Halloween, if you really must just steal other people's ideas and do them worse, as a found footage movie is at least interesting), but the idea of trying to squeeze a slasher film into the found footage genre is such blatantly focus group pandering nonsense that it's impossible to do anything but instantly wish misery on everyone involved.

 

EDIT: Now, between bouts of self-harm and crying, I'm trying to remember the last new, great, original horror film I saw and it's make me depressed. Evil Dead was awesome, but it was a remake, before that, I really have no idea. It might go all the way back to REC or The Descent or Dog Soldiers, which ever one came first.

 

EDIT EDIT: The killing spree may be averted;

 

The good folks behind Friday the 13th are reportedly thinking about making the next horror installment a found footage movie.

 

Shock Till You Drop reports that the producers are currently looking for new pitches that will fit into the found footage format. The project is currently set up at Paramount, which has earned quite a tidy sum from its Paranormal Activity franchise in recent years, so it makes sense that they'd want to go a similar route with Friday the 13th. Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes, which produced the 2009 reboot, is still attached to the sequel as well.

 

Regardless of the style, it's likely that Friday the 13th will go the micro-budget route, especially given the success of other barebones horror pics like Insidious, The Purge and The Conjuring. That said, it's not like Friday the 13th is all that expensive to make anyway.

 

Oh, and just so we're all clear here, the next film will be the 13th installment of the series!

 

So it may well not be happening and, thank heavens, Michael Bay's involved! He's always great. Also, they were inspired by The Conjuring, which was also really good! HOORAAAY!

Edited by John Hancock
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The Conjuring was really good. Didn't care for the family's story wrap up but for you clever kids out there, the best part was right at the end. Tt has to do with the phone call, that's all I'm saying. I bet there will be a sequel to the Conjuring which will either launch a new franchise or HOPEFULLY breathes life into an old one.

 

If not it will be a waste. There's so much potential there.

 

For the brave.

 

 

AMITYVILLE, BITCHES!

 

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Coming soon to a cinema near you; Freddy Krueger: The Teenage Years,
There was talk of a prequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street which would cover Freddy's spree, the court case and, of course, end with him becoming the Dream Demon.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing that either.

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I'm completely against all prequels where the emphasis is on the antagonist, some things just shouldn't be explained. I don't need to see why Leatherface chops people up, he just does, it's more fun to not know, he's just this entity, this unreasonable evil, I don't need it to be explained to me. I don't need to know what Darth Vader's Mum was like, or what happened to Hannibal Lector's sister, or what Carrie was like at Kindergarten prom, or where Michael Myers had his Bar Mitzvah. I think a lot of it comes from superhero comics and action films, this idea that we have to relate to the villain, and he has to have a motivation. I can't think of a single good horror movie, pure horror (no thrillers), where the villain had a clear, reasonable motivation or air-tight reason to do what he was doing. Why did Hannibal Lector eat people? Why did the birds go crazy? Why did the spirits in Evil Dead make people look like that? Where did the zombies come from in Night of the Living Dead? Doesn't matter, they just did, that's not the point. Back story is fine, a vague motive is fine, but I have no interest in ever seeing that back story, or seeing that vague motive explained over the course of an hour and a half. Edited by John Hancock
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Id like to see a sequel to friday 13th and also a new nightmare either sequel or prequel. I watched nightmare 3 last nite and it was great fun! They arent scary and could be classed as comedy IMO. Found footage films when done well are good i enjoyed para 1 and 2 and i second grave encounters! Brilliant film.
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Found footage films when done well are good i enjoyed para 1 and 2 and i second grave encounters! Brilliant film.

 

I think Paranormal Activity will go down as a film that will eventually have a lot of answer for, in the same way that Saw really opened the floodgates for a lot of derivative rubbish, and now everyone's trying to rip off Paranormal Activity with the "quiet, quiet, quiet, LOUD, quiet, quiet, quiet, LOUD" bullshit that South Park so brilliantly ripped to shreds with the "I'm so startled" joke. The only difference is that the first Saw was actually okay.

 

[video=youtube;z3w3Tm2e72g]

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I'm completely against all prequels where the emphasis is on the antagonist, some things just shouldn't be explained. I don't need to see why Leatherface chops people up, he just does, it's more fun to not know, he's just this entity, this unreasonable evil, I don't need it to be explained to me. I don't need to know what Darth Vader's Mum was like, or what happened to Hannibal Lector's sister, or what Carrie was like at Kindergarten prom, or where Michael Myers had his Bar Mitzvah. I think a lot of it comes from superhero comics and action films, this idea that we have to relate to the villain, and he has to have a motivation. I can't think of a single good horror movie, pure horror (no thrillers), where the villain had a clear, reasonable motivation or air-tight reason to do what he was doing. Why did Hannibal Lector eat people? Why did the birds go crazy? Why did the spirits in Evil Dead make people look like that? Where did the zombies come from in Night of the Living Dead? Doesn't matter, they just did, that's not the point. Back story is fine, a vague motive is fine, but I have no interest in ever seeing that back story, or seeing that vague motive explained over the course of an hour and a half.

 

I think the killer in Scream summed it up best......"Its a lot scarier when theres no motive!"

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I'm completely against all prequels where the emphasis is on the antagonist, some things just shouldn't be explained. I don't need to see why Leatherface chops people up, he just does, it's more fun to not know, he's just this entity, this unreasonable evil, I don't need it to be explained to me. I don't need to know what Darth Vader's Mum was like, or what happened to Hannibal Lector's sister, or what Carrie was like at Kindergarten prom, or where Michael Myers had his Bar Mitzvah. I think a lot of it comes from superhero comics and action films, this idea that we have to relate to the villain, and he has to have a motivation. I can't think of a single good horror movie, pure horror (no thrillers), where the villain had a clear, reasonable motivation or air-tight reason to do what he was doing. Why did Hannibal Lector eat people? Why did the birds go crazy? Why did the spirits in Evil Dead make people look like that? Where did the zombies come from in Night of the Living Dead? Doesn't matter, they just did, that's not the point. Back story is fine, a vague motive is fine, but I have no interest in ever seeing that back story, or seeing that vague motive explained over the course of an hour and a half.
I hear what you're saying, but pretty much all of the Nightmare movies gave away reasons for Freddy's behaviour (none more that Freddy's Dead), so a prequel isn't shedding any more light on the psyche, it's just showing that he didn't need to be a demon to be considered a monster.

 

I think the killer in Scream summed it up best......"Its a lot scarier when theres no motive!"
Which is ironic because every version of Ghostface had a clear motive.

 

When there is no motive, it can be terrifying, but Freddy and Jason (and Jason's mother) had very clear motives for what they were doing and a prequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street doesn't have to go into anything that hasn't already been explained in the sequels.

 

Besides, a monster such as a Dream Demon or a supernatural force of nature isn't as terrifying as a simple human being who acts as a monster.

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I'm with DC, I think a lot of the problems in modern horror stem from an obsession with the supernatural. It's always some boogieman with a ridiculous advantage, it kills the tension dead because you know what's coming (Cabin in the Woods did a great job of playing with that, by the way).

 

Either that, or they're total overblown gorefests.

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I'll concede that The Strangers, Saw and Wolf Creek weren't supernatural, but they still all contained antagonists with borderline superhuman advantages, but, that said, so was Texas Chainsaw Massacre, my example, so I have to ask, more specifically, Etz, what's a good horror movie with a villain that doesn't have "a ridiculous advantage"?
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I suppose it depends on what you mean by a ridiculous advantage. A classic example would be Psycho.

 

To me, Jigsaw never had a massive advantage in the first Saw, he just planned really well.

 

Excision, We are what we are, I spit on your grave, Inside and You're Next are all examples of non-supernatural horror where the advantage is primarily situational. There are plenty of others too, Old Boy and Battle Royale spring to mind.

 

I should also say that I'm not against the supernatural in horror movies per se, more the way that modern movies tend to use the supernatural element.

Edited by etz
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Psycho i agree with. Saw I don't think ever had any reality to it, it was always normal people, usually stupid normal people, against a super villain with otherworld technology and the ability to build an all-powerful pneumatic crucifix out of some cardboard shoe boxes. I haven't seen You're Next yet, so I can't judge, I've never liked I Spit On Your Grave, We Are What We Are and Old boy I'd call thrillers, Battle Royale I'd call an action movie, and I haven't seen Excision or Inside, although I hear they're both good.

 

Psycho I'll absolutely put on the list though, that's one.

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To be honest, it could just be that I prefer other genres with a horror element to actual straight horror. Certainly, if Hostel is what we'd call straight horror, then I'll take a pass.

 

I do think a lot of the better films in any "category" tend to cross genres a bit, for instance a decent horror film has to have elements of a thriller, because that's what makes it interesting as opposed to 90 minutes of torture porn.

 

The original Evil Dead had comedic and thriller elements, so does Severance, whereas Psycho, Friday 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street were all pretty much horror/thrillers.

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In it's simplest terms, a horror movie is a movie that's main objective is to scare you or give you the creeps or whatever. Hostel is trying to get those scares from just being bluntly gross, which is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, David Kronenberg's made a highly respected career from grossing people out, it's just that Eli Roth happens to be pretty bad at it and doesn't appear to really know what he's doing. It's like how Michael Bay makes f*cking terrible action movies, but you can't say you don't like action movies because of Michael Bay. Eli Roth movies aren't what horror movies are, they're what shit horror movies are.

 

(Other than Cabin Fever, Cabin Fever was okay)

 

EDIT: You've got creep out horror (of which "What the f*ck is going on?" horror is a sub-genre), that I tend to like the best, then you've got gross out horror, which I find very hit and miss, and then you're got ...............AH! horror, which is a genre I just made up to describe Paranormal Activity and everything currently riding it's coattails, and that's my least favourite, that's a genre I'm yet to see a half decent film in.

Edited by John Hancock
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My guilty pleasure is found footage films, I can get some sort of enjoyment out of almost all of them. I like the Paranormal Activity films, I'd be happy if they released a new one every year for the rest of eternity. I like VHS and VHS2, they were fun. I liked the Blair Witch Project, when it was released I was in the states with my ex and we saw it in a cinema in MA near-ish to where it was all supposed to have taken place and this was at a time where people were believing it was a legit documentary, so it was kinda fun to have all that going on at the time.

 

Modern horrors are ok, they seem to follow the same sort of formula these days and generally have really weak, pointless or stupid endings, but I can happily sit through 90 mins of silly fun on a Sunday afternoon and not feel like I've wasted my time.

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If it's horror movies that I personally enjoyed where the antagonist had no supernatural or superhuman unfair advantage*, I'd go with the following -:

 

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Urban Legend

The Collector

The Collection

My Bloody Valentine (original and remake)

Laid to Rest

ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2

Dr. Giggles

The Dentist

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Cujo

House of 1000 Corpses

The Devil's Rejects

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

The Remake (which is about a guy who kills film crews that are remaking horror movies)

The Hitcher

Vacancy

 

* Apart from the inherent advantage being a killer brings you, all of the people mentioned (except Cujo as he's a dog) are normal humans. Sure, they have the advantage of their victims being stupid most of the time and have the advantage of wonderful toys to play with, but they are all just regular humans.

 

Have you seen Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, J-Rock?

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