Ten college students had the chance to take part in a pretty cool social experiment (and one that didn't involve gradual electrocution, for what it's worth) proposed by Yahoo!. This youthful bunch of Millennials all had one thing in common: none of them had watched 's 1978 horror classic, Halloween. The portal gave them the chance to taste the groundbreaking slasher and emit a verdict. The results? Pretty 'meh.'
The horror genre has seen big changes in its evolution over the past three and half decades. Nowadays, there is a tendency to exalt the gory aspect, which seems to attract specific audience segments, as well as the exponential increase in realism and creative possibilities stemming from the advance in special effects. All in all, we're growing used to seeing some really deranged psychos as horror villains that probably would've been censored back in the seventies, with all that graphic 'torture porn' and so on lending them even more inhumane and monstrous than a Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers.
Millennial standards are different, and the reactions, although not unanimous, show clear signs of a generational gap. What many in its day considered the best and most frightening horror movie ever, is now seen by a large part of the young adult demographic as a corny and unintentionally-funny cheap B-production. Case in point: Ryan Eclarin, a student at UCLA, who after watching the movie quipped:
It was extremely corny. I found it immensely more comical than scary.
Exhibit B - 21-year-old Jason Serio, using some hip Internet slang to underscore his critique:
It was one of the LOL-worthiest movies I have seen in a while.
Others, although they didn't find the film to be particularly funny, didn't consider it to be 'scary,' either. Savannah Walker, from the University of South Carolina, bluntly stated:
Honestly, it didn't scare me. I wasn't startled by any of it.
Not everybody agreed with Savannah. There were a few who actually did appreciate the movie's original intentions and admitted to feeling scared, to a varying extent. Yahoo! had asked participants to rate the film on a 1-10 'scariness' scale, with the average being a surprisingly low 5.4. The highest score was a 7.5 and the lowest a 2, as tends to happen with matters so subjective. Speaking for those who were creeped out by the slasher, Erin Kim (also an intern for Yahoo!) said:
I didn't find the thrill to be 'old' at all. Sure the outfits were a little dated, but the fear was still there. I found myself gasping a lot.
William Pettipone, another U. South Carolina student, confessed:
I definitely screamed more times than I'd like to admit. The suspense is timeless. Alfred Hitchcock has proven that in my book, and it held true in this film.
Caitlin Rowles, age 20, had a more middling opinion:
It was mildly scary. I definitely shrieked like a little girl at times. But I didn't leave afraid to go to bed, or babysit.
There was a certain consensus, however, that the scariest part of the film was actually its mega-famous musical score. According to Eduardo Lopez:
The only thing that made [the movie] scary was the music.
Atkina also mentioned the soundtrack:
The soundtrack helped build the tension.
Most criticisms directed towards the movie were aimed at the frequent plot holes and generally low believability. Many thought that some scenarios simply weren't plausible enough, an area they think modern movies cover in a much better way. The subjects put forth many names from recent years of movies they feel were scarier and more realistic than Halloween: titles included Saw, The Ring, The Conjuring, 1408 and The Omen.
Remember UCLA's Ryan Eclarin? He had one final statement that sums up much of what Millenials' attitude towards Carpenter's flick feels like:
Just the trailers of modern horror films make me feel like if I watched the whole film, I'd have trouble sleeping. After watching 'Halloween,' I won't lose an ounce of sleep.
What do you guys think? Is Halloween one of the best genre horror movies you've ever seen, or a laughable piece of outdated crap? Without going to those extremes, is it a decent movie or a forgettable one? Do you think Millennials have better taste than the preceding generations with arbitrary (and silly) names? (Generation Xers, I'm looking at you!) As usual, banter away in the section specifically designed for that purpose.
Oh, and Happy Halloween.