Horror movies have gotten vividly scarier. With much more realistic graphics and more true to life scenarios, we find today's horror movies to be more believable, moving uncomfortably close into our own lives. The first horror movie was an 18 second film made by Thomas Edison in 1895 entitled, The Execution of Mary Stewart:
which basically shows a woman getting her head chopped off. Horror movies have been produced to frighten audiences for over a hundred years. But paradoxically, although the production value has increased greatly, the horror factor seems to be paying the price. Movies nowadays don't seem to pack as much of a punch as The Ring or Candyman, or taking from farther back, Poltergeist or The Shining. It seems the genre has reached its peak and is now on its slow way down with repeating storylines and scare methods that have been repeated so many times they're one repeat short of being called a cliché.
The problem of course being there are no new methods on how to make a horror movie. After all, how many ways can you scare a person? We have monsters, we have ghosts, we have zombies, flesh eating psychopaths, and the dark abyss known as the unknown.
Although horror movies have evolved into visual spectacles, the horrific images have been so overused that they cease to surprise us anymore. We've been desensitized from horrors by repeated images, scare tactics, and storylines. We've overused those concepts to the point that they're no longer seen as horrific things; Dracula has gone from being a murderous, blood-sucking monster to a shiny, overly romantic, eternal teenage boy who cannot seem to stop watching his lover while she sleeps.
While the stalkeresque methods are creepy, they serve to keep me awake not because I'm afraid a ghost may come and take me in the dark but because I'm frightened that I may do something embarrassing in my sleep as my lover watches me from the foot of the bed.
Not all hope is lost however, as Guillermo Del Toro attempts to turn what everyone conventionally sees as the safest person in the world, a loving mother, into what may be as frightening as the monsters underneath a child's bed. Del Toro's Mama may well turn into a horrorshow playing on the worst parts of our imagination as the image of a loving and protective mother is distorted to fit that of an angry ghost out for blood. And simply because I have faith in Guillermo Del Toro's hyperactive imagination (as Pan's Labyrinth was quite a spectacle), I have hope that Mama may turn out to be a new spin on horror movies.