ByDrew Grimm Van Ess, writer at
Horror aficionado/nerd. Follow my blog for film reviews, book reviews, and interviews.
Drew Grimm Van Ess

Having been a horror fan since I was just 4-years old, I've seen countless horror films. I've been watching them for over 20 years. I've put some time in.

Throughout the mid to late 70's, and all through the 80's, horror was on a roll! Instant classics being made on the spot, films we all watch religiously to this day. So many awesome films were coming out, and horror was the cool thing to like and be involved in. Then the 90's hit and horror took a new turn. Just like the 80's, the 1990's had it's fair share of comedy/horror films. Then it started to become about casting hot, young up and comers. Horror started to become overly cool with pop star icons starring in them.

Horror films became thrill rides instead of terror rides, like in the good old days. But somewhere in the beginning to mid 90's, horror became a word no one wanted to speak of. Horror wasn't cool anymore. It went from being Fonzie on Happy Days to Richie Cunningham. But it's nothing new, horror never got its just rewards. You've got people claiming that horror is dead and that good horror films haven't been made in years, but all you have to do is look beneath the surface to see them.

I've been conducting a list for my blog of the 20 best horror films in the last ten years, and in making the list I've discovered how horror has been secretly kicking ass over the last decade. The good ones are hardly seen because the bad ones (usually the big-shot Hollywood remakes) get all the publicity.. or it's PG-13! I've got nothing against PG-13 horror, every now and again you'll find a solid one like Shadow People, but other times they're as bad as they look. House at the End of the Street, really? This is the stuff we're being fed by the masses, because somewhere a new mentality got out that you have to have a huge following of teenage fans who adore you in order to make a successful horror film. The thing that gets me the most worked up when discussing these things is how people actually create sub-genre horror films, just to get them known because no one wants to acknowledge horror anymore. In 1973, The Exorcist won a Golden Globe Award for best Drama. Best Drama! What in the hell planet are people living on where The Exorcist is a drama? I guess I can somehow see how it can be placed in the same category as Marley and Me...NOT!

I was watching Cabin Fever with director commentary by , and he brought up some valid points about horror. One of them being how The Sixth Sense is a horror film, yet it's being passed off as a Thriller. Or better yet, a "Supernatural" thriller. What the hell is a supernatural Thriller? Sounds like another word for horror without saying horror. When a horror film is really exceptional and the big studios want to market them, they re-label them as something else like Drama or some weird made-up name of a thriller. I believe there is a grey area in between, I don't just think it's horror or it's not. I know some films fall into several genres and categories. But sometimes genres get misused or misplaced in order to market a movie. Word got out that horror didn't sell, that horror won't get your film recognized. So film makers and studios change the genre and pass it off as something else in order to get it attention.

I want to know who's genius it was to make up such a logic? Where was everybody when Sinister came out? Where was everyone when the Evil Dead remake came out? Or how about here even more recently with The Purge? All of these films grossed a ton of money at the box office. And yet somehow word has spread that horror doesn't sell? Take a look around, we're the most dedicated fans of any genre! You never see a brotherhood with any other genre like you do with Horror.

Horror sells, period. Because we horror fans are always waiting for that next great film to come out. And there's a lot of us. What really ticks me off is that we all know this genre-switching marketing scheme is going on, and yet they continue to do it, as if we're all imbeciles and will forget about it. But we don't and we won't.

If a horror film is a great movie, then it deserves to be properly acknowledged by everyone. It needs to win that Golden Globe Award for Best Horror Picture. Not get an award for a genre it has nothing to do with, it's a slap in the face. Give Horror its awards, just like you give awards away to all the most boring movies that half of us don't even care to see. Horror is going to be a pain in film industries backside forever, or until it gets the attention and accolades it deserves. The same goes for Comic book movies, but that's another discussion for another time.

It truly disturbs me how a film that once sent people out of the theaters in drones, puking and needing psychiatric help, could be placed in the same genre as Brittany Spears' Crossroads. It's so idiotic! Horror isn't going anywhere, it's going to be around forever. And big shot studio execs and award shows can continue to hold horror under their feet for as long as they like. Horror and the many fans aren't budging. And sooner or later, Horror will be recognized for its good films. At least we can hope...

It isn't about what the studios want! It isn't about what Hollywood wants, either! We're the ones paying our hard earned money in this downed economy to buy movie tickets and DVDs and Blu-Rays; what we want is to know where the money goes. Our voice collectively is louder than most of us think, and we need to start running our mouths a bit and maybe more studios like Lions Gate will open and start funding real horror films, not just remakes and PG-13 wannabe horror films. Magnet Releasing is one like Lions Gate, that seems to be in charge of making the best horror films out right now.

I think it's complete disrespect to us, for us to be looked at as just the money givers to Hollywood's cause of bad movies! They think they'll make what they want and we'll pay to see it, and they're right most of the time. That's why we have to start taking a stand, and let the box office drop. Stop paying outrageous prices for tickets to movies you're only going to turn around and bash on the internet.

Hollywood has turned Horror into a bad word, yet they continue to make really bad horror films. They don't put any heart or thought into them anymore, they just want to dump a few buckets of blood on some fake limbs and call it a horror film. There's a lot more to it than that.

However, due to some studios keeping it real, we're still getting good horror films made. Most of them don't get acknowledged and that's what's unsettling. You have to find out about good horror films from internet chat rooms because the ones you're always seeing marketed are the ones that suck so bad people say horror is dead. Horror deserves its place alongside every other genre, and until then, all the people playing politics can keep their awards and hand them out to films that are actually Dramas and Thrillers. How fair is it for a Drama or a Thriller film to not get an award because a horror film got it? You got to look at it from both sides, and either way, no one can't deny that it's wrong.


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