This week alone we will see the release of Halloween Kills, the Slumber Party Massacre remake, the premieres of the new Chucky, Day of the Dead, and I Know What You Did Last Summer series. As well, we will be seeing further entries into the Paranormal and Scream franchises in the next few months. Frankly, it is a great time to be a Horror fan, but what is it about this genre that seems to have such an enduring legacy and fanbase?
The previous is a genuine question by the way. I am amazed by how many actors, directors, composers, special effects masters, and so many people in the entertainment industry got their start in the horror genre. Some of the most recognized stars of the present jumpstarted or reinvigorated their careers with a horror film or series. Beyond that, horror seems to be one of the few places in entertainment that actually is attempting to be innovative in its approach to story, atmosphere, and overall narrative design. Hell, the only successful existing interconnected cinematic universe outside of Marvel comes from horror (The Conjuring universe), and, to be fair, horror was actually the first to have such a thing decades ago.
Further, horror is the one genre that still consistently takes chances and risks, creates new intellectual property (IP), and attempts to evolve and progress the technological methods of making film. The found footage and first person perspective films have become horror mainstays, and the film through web chat services (Zoom, Chat, etc.) is the modern equivalent that arose during the ongoing global pandemic. Obviously, horror does dive into its history and reuse old characters and properties; as I stated earlier, there are several reboots, sequels, and remakes coming out in the next few months. However, horror has also created brand new monsters, slashers, heroes, villains, and properties in the last few years that have exploded in popularity and carry potential for interesting stories, far more than other genres have managed at least.
So, far all that the genre manages including the massive amounts of money and devoted fanbases it makes, why is Horror still seemingly considered the “red-headed stepchild” of the film world? And, perhaps more significantly and impressively, how does it manage to do all it does while being considered so?
Genuinely curious for answers to this, so leave a possible answer below. Or, if you are more inclined, a horror recommendation. Trying to see as many as possible this Halloween season.
One thought on “Horror: An Ever Enduring Legacy”
Horror is a genre that spans all generations and it is all encompassing good. True horror fans love and appreciate all the history it has given us. From the Golden Age classics like Frankenstein and The Raven, to schlocky Silver age sci-fi horror in The Thing From Another World or The Deadly Mantis. To hard core Bronze Age masterpieces like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser and Gremlins. Even the dark age 90s has great films that speak volumes and introduced the meta horror tactic that is definitely seeing a come back with films like Tucker & Dale Vs Evil, Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Malignant and Cabin In The Woods.
All horror old and new still does what it was intended. To give us certain intrigue and evoke particular emotions. While it can entertain with the gore and the mystery. It can also make us think because horror has always capitalized on social issues. Night of the Living Dead is as much about racism and segregation as it is zombies. Brain Damage is just as much about a smooth talking monster slug as it is drug addiction.
But horror also plays on fears. They made radioactive ant movies because people feared nuclear power and scientific ingenuity in the 50’s. People feared the “others” and so the cannibal family from Texas was perfect. People fear demons and Satan so we get the Exorcist. Horror has always played on our fears and continues to do so, which is what makes it such a popular genre. A genre that is never fully appreciated by the mainstream because after all… it is about the killing and gore.