This is about old Horror movies (70's & 80's) compared to New Horror movies (2000's)
I sort of feel like an old man here, maybe you can tell me if I’m being a stick in the mud square here, or if I’m dead on balls accurate.
I first want to start off by saying that I like a good gory movie death, and love female nudity. But movies these days are leaving me cold.
I have a few theories.
1. Being that today’s women making appearances in these Horror Films seem to be more like under age hoes who are a little too eager to flash anybody and their brother at the drop of a hat. The nudity feels forced to me, and transparent, like it is simply put there just for some sort of cliché angle, not because anyone actually enjoys it.
I feel that women of yesteryear were a lot more real, not physically fit girls who have no qualms about undressing because they are psychologically damaged party girls. But Women with a little bit of meat on their bones, a natural build to them, the kind of woman that when she undresses you feel like she is really just interested in having a good time with her boyfriend and not playing to the audiences. I’m also a lot more turned on by them.
2. Gory deaths these days are also lacking, it seems that the directors in the game these days are trying to be more sadistic with their killings. Trying to make audiences squirm with torturing the victims a little before killing them. This in my mind is a mistake, I always felt that you could be as gruesome with a kill as you want as long as you do it in such a way that dehumanizes the victim. 3. Digital is way to shaky takes me out of the movie. 4. Lighting in pictures these days sucks, everything is way too dark can’t see anything. Gives me the impression that the director is trying to hide something and he doesn’t have enough confidence in his story, direction, or movie effects to scare everyone. 5. and finally actors these days are just not all that interesting of people.
Anyway, if you could stand to read all of this, I would be much appreciative if you answered whether or not I have something here or I am becoming an grouch at my young of early twenties.
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By way of introduction, I have been a horror film fan nearly all my life, over four decades. I wrote a research project on Hammer Films in the sixth grade as well as other term papers for college film courses that I took. :-) I have a large collection of now-mostly-out-of-print academic books on horror films, as well as an extensive collection of VHS and DVD horror films from the 70's and 80's. I have seen many, many--if not most--horror films of that era, often in grindhouse theatres across the United States. In the 1970's, I worked as a drive-in projectionist. I used to be an on-line film critic. I have friends in the film industry, and for many years in the 2000's, I went to the Toronto International Film Festival and took particular joy in viewing the horror films during the Midnight Madness section. With that, a response to your interesting post... I, too, find most horror films made in the past 20 years to be boring, uninspired affairs, far removed from the much better horror films of the 1970's and 80's. In the order of your theories...
1. Yes, I, too, prefer the starlets, ingenues, and B-movie queens of the old movies. To me, they were more real and likable than the interchangeable damsels of today. Two examples: Jenny Agutter, who graced screens in a bunch of movies (usually beneath her talents) including the classic "An American Werewolf in London" and fellow Brit Linda Hayden, who was in "Taste the Blood of Dracula" and "Blood on Satan's Claw." Neither woman in their heyday would have been considered perfect compared to the silicon injected/cosmetic surgery starlets of today: Agutter was pleasantly zaftig, and Hayden had a slight figure. Yet both were exceedingly attractive, at least back in the day to a young guy like me. They were gals whom you might see on the street, pretty--but not ostentatiously so--and sweet and adorable, but most of all: accessible. It was easy for me to imagine actually having a chance with these gals. Not happening today... :-)
2. Most horror films today are geared to the PG-13 crowd, so they take no chances. And then there is the small genre of torture porn stuff like the Hostel and Saw films. To me, they aren't really developments of the U.S. horror film industry but rather attempts to copy Japanese and Asian films of an earlier vintage, just way behind the times. Anyway, gore for gore's sake is as boring as anything else. I had to stop reading Fangoria magazine years ago because it was just too disheartening--few articles on really well-made horror films and more print about gore-soaked pieces of trash showcasing only what all the kids of today want to see: the make-up/CGI effects. It's sad.
3. The technology of today's digital video is both a blessing and a curse, a blessing in that folks now can actually have inexpensive tools to create things, but a curse in that a lot of the camcorder stuff shot and released today is beyond amateurish. Another comparison: Back in the late 60's, the NY husband and wife team of Michael and Roberta Findley made a series of incredibly sleazy grindhouse films, the "of Her Flesh" trilogy ("Kiss," Touch" and "Curse") They are outrageous on so many levels and were soundly criticized by mainstream critics as trash, yet if you look at them closely and objectively, the crisp black-and-white cinematography of the films is beautiful. Compare that to a critically acclaimed indie film "Open Water" from a few years back. It was shot on camcorder, very badly, and was the worst looking thing that I've ever seen projected in a theatre for admission, and I've seen a lot of junk. When folks had to spend actual cash to make a film by buying film stock, renting a Bolex camera, editing the film by hand, etc., there was dedication. Today, any moron can grab a $149 camcorder, use some cheap software, and viola, wind up with a "feature film." That's really sad. And one more thing: Stop with the faux documentaries like "The Last Exorcism" and their shakey cams. That stuff went out with "Cannibal Holocaust."
4. Bad lighting today in horror films? Yes, on most of the digital video junk. The mainstream studio horror films of today actually look pretty slick and good to me, but that defeats the purpose. How can Marcus Nispel's tired remake of "Friday the 13th" invoke fear when it's shot and edited like a perfume commercial? The scrappy, grimy look of the older films really made the difference. If you don't believe me, compare the original "Last House on the Left" to the new remake, whch is actually quite good. The new one's problem is that it's way too slick and technically proficient. The original was scary because it looked like it was filmed by lunatics.
5. I agree that most of the horror films today have interchangable CW Network kids who look pretty but can't really act. Just take a look at David Hess in the aforementioned original "Last House," Michael Moriarity in "Q, the Winged Serpent," Neville Brand in "Eaten Alive," or the original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" cast, especially Marilyn Burns. These folks gave real performances, fantastic performances all, the kind "serious" film critics ignore, but no less worthy than the Oscar-nominated ones of the time...
70's and 80's vs. 90's and 00's. It's not even close...
[ 08. September 2010, 06:57: Message edited by: Crash ]
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