Along with Zack Halko (one of my best college buddies) I am writing/filming a documentary as I speak. We are sort of writing it as we go, it's artsy, it's experimental, it's guerrilla, get over it. Let's not forget I am currently in the MPU program, so you can say I'm pretty busy at the moment. As I was doing some documentary work tonight (temporarily titled Where You At: The Real Story) I took a step back and realized I don't know what I'm doing. I've made short films, that's it. I've never made something BIG. I looked over at my TV stand to see illuminated the spine of an older book I have The Filmmaker's Book of the Dead: How to Make Your Own Heart-Racing Horror Movie. So I picked it up and figured if I take away the horror aspects of it then I can make it apply to this documentary. As I take out the book out of the tightly packed space a Blu-ray fell into its place. It was The Babadook.
As I opened the special edition cover and the pop-up Babadook fluttered out of the cover I had a sudden thought, "horror movies suck now." Granted we have the rare exceptions like The Babadook, It Follows (yeah, haters I said it), V/H/S, and Wolf Creek but that's pretty much it. We were welcomed with crap-fests like:
- Cabin In The Woods
- Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
- The ABCs Of Death 2 (the first one was okay)
- Insidious: Chapter 3
- Knock, Knock
- The Crazies
- Firday The 13th (remake)
- Chernobyl Diaries
- The Lords Of Salem
- The Pact (both 1 and 2)
- Any Paranormal Activity that isn't number 1
- Storage 24
- Dark Skies
- The Last Exorcism 2
There are many more bad horror movies from the past few years, these are just the ones I personally think were the worst. The biggest thing that I think is wrong with films today is SHOCK VALUE. They are just trying to shock us into being scared by using excessive nudity (it's okay, but excessive), jump scares (which are ineffective), and an insane amount of gore (we can give Hostel a pass here, it was pretty good).
As viewers we are systematically being desensitized by senseless shock on the screen and it leads to negative viewing for film goers. We are being shown films sloppily put together by companies for a quick buck, and it works. Every time I see a trailer for a new horror film I get excited, I'm excited because I think the horror genre is coming back. I get excited (cough cough The Gallows) and I see the movie. I'll get a bunch of people together and hype up the movie (cough cough The Gallows) shut all the lights off and put it in. And then because the movie (cough cough The Gallows) actually was just studio schlock I look like an idiot in front of my friends. Thanks The Gallows.
Now we do have the occasional gem that comes out and blows us away like:
- Goodnight Mommy
- It Follows
- Wolf Creek
- Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse
- Saw (the first)
- The Witch/VVitch
- The Babadook
Is there one thing strange you notice with this list? With exception of Scouts Guide these are indie films. What does that say about current cinema? That almost all of the best horror films coming out are indies? This calls for a revolution!
As indie film viewers AND filmmakers we owe it to our fans and to the filmmakers we view to demand more independent horror films. It takes a viewer to make a good film, and it seems Hollywood companies don't actually watch horror films. One of the best things indie films have is brain. Indie filmmakers don't pander to the audience, they make the film they artistic way THEY want and they urge the viewer to actually think while being scared. When you're scared it's hard to think straight, which requires a second and third viewing of the film so you can fully understand every artistic element meticulously put in there by the filmmaker for the film viewer.