Horrors are a major movie genre. One of the biggest genres there is. But, that doesn't mean the genre is improving like others are. They seem to be relying too much on the scare factor and nothing more. This alone is not what makes a good horror. A real horror lingers with you long after you finish watching it, it will keep you up at night thinking about it, it will make your stomach churn when there is noises but you keep telling yourself "nothing is there", they will make it even scarier for you when nothing was there all along. Modern horrors don't do that. They more or less tell you when a scare will happen. Modern horrors aren't scary. Their highest priority is the scares. But like I tell my piers when they talk about "how scary Insidious is", scares aren't everything.
Insidious is my main example for this article. I did enjoy the movie, don't get me wrong, but there was a lack of key essential features that are needed to make a good horror. Insidious was scares first, story second and atmosphere third. No doubt about it, the jump scares will make you jump, even when you know they're coming (which you will) but that's not what horrors are all about. My prime example for a good horror is The Descent. If you haven't seen it, somehow, I strongly urge you to do so. This film is fantastic. It adds an extra layer of depth to the horror genre. It will make you feel sick from the tight spaces, and the cinematography makes you feel even more uncomfortable by exploring camera angles to make the cave feel even more tight with their being no way out.
The Descent has atmosphere as it's highest priority. And may I say, it hit the nail on the head. The multiple times I have seen this film I find myself admiring the work they put into making this movie as atmospheric and terrifying as they can. But, there still are jump scares. They aren't lazy though. I cannot stand lazy jump scares, these are very well placed. Whereas in Insidious there would be random jump scares out of the blue with no lead up and no atmosphere prior to it, The Decent changes that. It builds up very slowly to each jump scare. And with each jump scare, the constant atmosphere makes it all the more riveting when that scare does not happen. It means it is still to come.
Another example of a great horror, this one a game, is PT. Now this is a free PS4 playable teaser demo for the (hopefully) upcoming Kojima Game Silent Hills. Now this game is a simplistic masterpiece in my mind. It will mess with your head, make you squeal like a baby, and most of all, it will terrify you to within an inch of your life. Now PT is a free game around 15 minutes long, if you are a horror fan with a PS4 you are doing yourself a dishonor by not getting this game. PT has no story. It has no dialogue. It has no information as to what is happening. You will find yourself asking "what is this house? Why am I here? Am I just imagining this place?" None of which will be answered. But you will find one thing in this game: the strongest atmosphere I have seen in a video game since Silent Hill 2. Both in the same saga, and genre, PT is a fantastic Psychological Horror and will leave you trembling for ages after you finish it. The premise is simple, you must walk through a corridor solving simple puzzles to move through the door at the end of the hallway. And this game is beautiful.
Not many horrors will succeed to scare you, not if you are like me and hard to scare. Very few things rattle my fears. Spiders (If I see so much as a picture of a spider I will have trouble sleeping for a week) and Psychological Horrors (only good ones). Now, horrors are not what they used to be. It is an over saturated market with no redeeming values. Look at Halloween (1978), that is my favorite horror of all time, but it only scared me after watching it. Horrors don't have to scare you while watching them if it scares you afterwards when you're all alone. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is another example of a horror done well. It focuses more on the disturbed aspect of movies, and never fails to make my stomach churn.
Horrors aren't what they used to be. They only ever fall into two categories; Jump Scare Full or Gore Oriented. There are no horrors that play with your mind, that make you feel fear like never before, that will leave you trembling when you get up to go grab a drink of water. None of this happens anymore. For the easily scared this is not a problem, but for the hardcore, like myself, this is a major problem. So much so I stop watching horrors expecting a scare, I watch them expecting a fun time.
I want to hear what you guys think, do you think that horrors have lost their way? Or do you believe they still are what they were years ago, back in the golden age of Scares? Tell me in the comment section below.