There was a time when slasher movies were revolutionary. They'd break boundaries that were previously set, they'd be so shocking that people would often leave the theater in a mixture of disgust and horror. They made their own unique tropes and rules, rules that again broke boundaries. The stories were original and often times unpredictable.
Those days, the glory days, are now long gone. Slasher figures, the same that decades ago inspired fear, are now the laughing stock of the film community. Those broken boundaries are now the norm, those rules are now cliche, and those stories are all just the same, predictable mess.
Remakes, which should conjure hope in a renewed age of glory, always fall short. Whether they try too hard to recreate the original material, or try too hard to be original and end up ruining the following that the movie enjoyed. Where did we go wrong? What happened to the slasher genre?
Now don't get me wrong, these days, most horror movies are poorly received, predictable, etc. But honestly, the fear that we find in horror, or at least for me, is the thought that it could ACTUALLY HAPPEN TO YOU. Slashers always seemed to be more real to me. I've encountered some crazy people who would probably kill me without a second thought, I've been to a couple of places where you don't make eye contact with anybody, you don't open your mouth, and you better be ready to run. That's where you need to be able to connect with the characters in a movie. If you can relate to the fear that they have, then the movie hits home in a completely different way.
So then the question needs to be asked: how does the slasher return to promise, how do we save the slasher? Well we're in luck, I have some tips and pointers that could actually bring back the thrill of the slasher.
Tip 1. PLOT
Nobody wants to see the same story over and over and over again. So, in order to avoid giving them the same story, find a new one. This will require doing some homework. Some of the best stories that have stuck with us from the very beginning are the legends and fables that we all learned at a very young age. If a story could be found that hasn't been retold a thousand times, then a lot of people would go in to the theaters not knowing what to expect.
Tip 2. Settings
As with plot, you don't want your audience to start the movie knowing exactly where it takes place. Don't try to set it in the woods of some summer camp in New Jersey, that's been done and done over a billion times! Try a small town in Texas. Try the middle of the ocean. Try the jungles of Southeast Asia. But don't give me what I expect!
Tip 3. Characters
Let me guess. She's the brunette virgin who survives, she's the blonde slut who dies, he's the jock that gets hacked to death off screen, that's the black best friend who never survives, that's the main character's love interest who is either going to survive or be the last to die, and that's the one who dies, but has some untapped potential that some big name director sees, get's more work, and then proceeds to forget that they were ever on the set of a horror movie. Those two bang and get impaled....tell me when to stop... Okay, so maybe all of the tips should just be re-titled "Be original" but seriously, throw some variety in there! What if the entire cast is black? Then what? Who is the survivor? Is there one? By mixing up the cast of characters, the audience will be pleasantly surprised by the time the credits role, as they didn't predict the direction of the story.
Tip 4. Writing
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S GOOD, GET A WRITER WHO KNOWS WHAT THE HECK THEY'RE DOING! A certain level of corn is appreciated, but come on, this isn't Iowa! Yes, writing is crucial, it makes the characters seem a little more believable, if that happens, then the setting is set, the plot then continues to develop. All in all, the writing is the key to it all. Maybe the writing would seem better if Jamie Lee Curtis was delivering the lines, but we should all accept that not all horrors can have a JLC. I could try all day to get my point across, but seriously, get a writer who knows what they're doing. There are plenty of talented writers on this very website. Maybe a couple of them should try submitting a transcript to Hollywood...
Tip 5. Cast
This should really just be tip 4.1, but as I alluded to earlier, sometimes a writing is only as good as the people delivering the lines. So the only advise I have here is hold auditions and make the script the audition material. See how likable or unlikable a certain actor or actress is. Make sure you have a clear rubric of what you're looking for in these cast members. Some of the best actors got their start on a horror set. Kevin Bacon, Johnny Depp, John Travolta, George Cloony, just to name a few. And actresses....uh.....Jamie Lee Curtis......that's all I got.....sorry.
Okay, that's my list. Who knows, maybe somebody will see this and actually make a movie that can bring this genre back to life. But as it stands, I don't see it happening in the next year or two (maybe three though). Well, thank you soo much for reading my post! Did you like my tips or did you think that I didn't know what I was talking about? If you have any criticisms, let me know! Again, thanks for reading, this is my first post, and if it goes well, I'm open to suggestions for future topics!