For some unknown reason, we all love horror movies. Whether it is for plain entertainment or to satisfy the monster that lives in our mind, horror movies are always in demand. That said, the genre has evolved considerable over time. Ranging from supernatural horror to modern torture porn, horror movies stands out as an effective and exceptional method to test someone’s spirits. Here, I’m focusing on this growth of horror movies, from sub genre to sub genre, one movie at a time. There are a lot of sub genres that I haven’t included, like Giallo films, since my concentration is on pop culture. So consider this as an honorable mention to all those classic international horror films. Let’s take a look at 5 of those memorable movies that still fill us with terror.
The Exorcist (Supernatural Horror)
I still remember my father’s experience of him watching this movie back in the days, from his words. Back then, it was the scariest movie of all time. Its classical status is not an exaggeration, considering the subject it was handling. A supernatural horror film featuring religious ideas and conflicts always has a spark of interest. The Exorcist took it to the next level by questioning the faith itself. Bagging numerous Academy Award nominations, The Exorcist became the first horror movie to do so. With pure horror and a realistic setting, this film still disturbs its viewers, and it is proven to be the best example of classic horror.
Night of the Living Dead (Zombie Horror)
If any horror sub genre that has influenced pop culture the most, it would be zombie movies. From comedy to tragedy, the undead have walked through almost everything we have seen. From Movies like Dawn of Dead, to TV series like The Walking Dead, and comic strips including a twisted version of zombie Avengers, pop culture adores this genre. We can’t ignore the Romero classic that introduced us to the flesh eating dead men. Night of the Living Dead was a critical and commercial success, which spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs. A fresh wind from the conventional horror flicks, Night of the Living Dead is considered a classic for its innovative idea.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Slasher Horror)
Independent director Tobe Hooper spent $5000 to tell the story of a chainsaw wielding, cannibalistic killer, and it was the beginning of a nightmare. Inspiring the fan favorite killers like Jason and Freddy, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre spawned a new horror genre that we call the slasher. As horror films started to explore new ways to scare their audience, one of the effective methods was to create monsters out of people. With realistic treatments, these characters started to have their existence in the mind of audience. Later, the creators drew real-life inspiration for their characters, and it gave a terrifying personality to slasher flicks. Even today, Hollywood produces numerous slasher films and they prove to be successful.
Videodrome (Body Horror)
As the creators placed their focus less on ideas and more on scary elements, the significance of gore proved to be essential. The spattering of blood and flesh was disgusting all along, but marketable too. Guilty pleasure or not, many of these movies have a lot of followers. Still, aside from torture porn, body horror provided some classics in the genre, and Cronenberg’s Videodrome is an example. The surrealistic take on subliminal messaging and mind control wasn’t a success at the time of its release, due to excessive violence and gore, but no one can deny how influential it was for the genre. Along with Scanners, Videodrome paved the path for movies like Saw and it’s like.
It Follows (The New Wave?)
At the start of the new decade, audiences had enough of gore and started to ask more. Ideas that break new grounds were always in demand and this year’s It Follows might be the answer to the current dilemma in the genre. It’s more of a prediction, but the influence of independent movies in the genre points to the same conclusion. Most game changing horror flicks have started as independent movies and they created a platform that was essential for their followers. It Follows is a well-crafted horror thriller that is relevant in today's age. Unlike lot of other recent horror movies, it tried and succeeded in catching our attention, rather than blowing us away with gimmicks. I sincerely hope this will be a new beginning, or a renaissance in the genre.