Submitted for your approval

It’s no secret that I like Cracked.com. Occasionally, though, I get a little annoyed with some of their bits, which are about 50/50 brilliant satire and holier-than-thou preaching, with maybe a splash of ethnocentrism thrown in for good measure.

This one is interesting for obvious reasons–and true to form, I’m about halfway on board with it. (Of course I unequivocally reject #1 on the list, though.)

What do you all think? Is there truth to this? What would you add to the list?

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8 thoughts on “Submitted for your approval

  1. I generally love Cracked, but I’m not on board with this list. It comes off sounding a little pompous for my taste. I first got into horror through 80s slashers and it was a genre that was pretty much reviled by more serious horror fans. It’s okay, and I don’t really need someone to explain to me why they’re inferior. Their faults are pretty plain to see. The thing is, I actually really enjoy their faults. I love the formula. I love it when it’s done well and I even enjoy it occasionally when it’s done poorly. I just love slashers from 78-84…

    Modern horror has very little appeal to me. Starting with Scream in 96, they just weren’t made for me anymore. Scream is technically very well done on just about every level. I just find it annoying. There’s a place for it though, just not on my shelf.

    I love to talk about what doesn’t work for me, but I don’t want to be a complete curmudgeon just yet.

    I didn’t go through the list like I intended to. I’d like to do that a little later. I think I had to get it off my chest first that I don’t think the horror genre is necessarily broken. If they made movies to please me, the genre would not be profitable.

    • Well said. I’ve never been a big slasher fan myself, but I’m with you in spirit. I find myself arguing again and again that “originality,” this mad push to do something You’ve Never Seen Before, is not the only metric of success.

      And I also agree that much contemporary horror isn’t really my bag. I think one reason I’ve been such a fan of Asian horror is that in many ways it feels like a return to some of the classier, atmospheric, Gothic stories of earlier films. That just happens to be the flavor of horror I like best, but I suspect it holds true for other tastes as well.

      The only thing I’ll add is that I do make a distinction between films that successfully deploy a given formula, and those that lazily or sloppily hide behind it. I like supernatural horror the best, and I tend to find many post-Paranormal Activity films–those films made Under the Wanfluence, as I like to say–tend to fall into the latter category.

      • I agree with everything you said. There is a grey area between tired retreads and a fresh voice. Slashers are the notable exceptions. I generally enjoy even the worst of that era. This has more to do with nostalgia than it does quality. I have a high tolerance for nonsense in this regard.

        Asian horror of the last 10-15 years has always sounded interesting but just left me feeling a little cold. I haven’t seen much and I’m sure I’m missing some of the best though.

        It’s not like when I was first introduced to Eurohorror in the 90s. I felt like a was discovering a new world.

        I’m getting off topic. The video urged Hollywood to stop making horror. It does that periodically and sometimes it’s better for it. The fans who need horror can still find it. The early nineties was horror-lite, mostly due to the burnout of slashers and the big franchises in general. In that time, we got some stronger movies from outside Hollywood like Dead Alive and Cemetery Man.

        Horror did eventually catch on again, but it just wasn’t the type of horror that I was into. For those of us that felt a little alienated by the genre at that point, I think the onus fall on us to seek out and support something that is exciting and interesting, if not fresh. The good stuff is out there, I don’t really like to get angry at Hollywood for following trends. It’s like getting mad at people for liking pop music. If you don’t really care about music and just want something catchy, the radio is probably adequate for you.

        You mentioned jump scares in your post. I don’t have a problem with them and think they belong in horror, but I can see where the writer gets tired of them. They belong in a certain type of film. I wouldn’t get mad at a roller coaster for having sudden drops. It’s what most people seek them out for.

        That said, I get tired of false alarm scares. It does come across as lazy if you do it too many times.

        As for blood & guts, I think he directing that at torture porn. Again, it’s not a genre I prefer, but some of the make up is pretty amazing. Sometimes it’s refreshing to see physical effects throughout a movie. Still, I don’t like any of the movies in this genre enough to watch them more than once.

        Gore is relevant on its own though. In this case I’m thinking of Peter Jackson’s splatter movies or something like Street Trash or Re Animator. They all have more going on than just gore, but the gore was integral to the effect of the movie. Fulci at his best turned gore into a style and an atmosphere.

        This video is obviously worth the time since it has sparked some interesting discussion and prompted me to revisit what I value about the genre. Thanks for the post!

      • Thank you for being interested enough to comment!

        Again, I can only agree with you.

        Some jump scares are great. Clever misdirection, things looming out of the background: these can be fantastic devices. What I hate is the tendency to play a dissonant violin chord really really loudly every time anything other than the protagonist moves. Cranking up the volume on a cheap sound effect is not the same as an effective scare. But there are some GREAT jump scares in the annals of horror. I like the ones where there’s little or no sound at all, actually, where the shock comes from realizing there’s something there you didn’t initially detect. Having trouble thinking up an example off the top of my head, but hopefully you know what I mean.

        I generally shy away from gore for its own sake, but of course the horror genre as a whole almost couldn’t exist without at least IMPLIED violence. I appreciate clever uses of violence and blood, rather than the overt stuff that makes up the torture porn genre; but even out-and-out bowel-ripping has its place in some contexts (World War Z annoyed me for a lot of reasons, but a major one was that it really was a zombie movie without anybody actually getting eaten by zombies).

        Hurray interesting discussion! Thanks, Cracked!

      • The best jump scare that jumps immediately to mind is near the end of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre when Sally is pushing Franklin in the wheelchair and Leatherface cuts through the brush. It’s a great jump and the intensity ramps up from there. The execution of that entire sequence is especially effective.

  2. Not approved! As a horror nerd. I take exception to this video. The main problem here is this guy’s definition of horror. He and a majority of people assume horror filmmakers’ intents are to scare them 100% of the time, and that’s the only criteria they use when evaluating a horror movie’s effectiveness. If you look at the definition of “horror” (something he included, but failed to read, I guess?) it’s not only described as fear, but shock and disgust. He claims blood and guts aren’t synonymous with horror. By definition, they are. He’s also forgetting that horror movies aren’t necessarily bound to incorporating horrific things (the same way every scene of an action movie doesn’t have to be full of action, and every line of a musical doesn’t have to be sung), they can tell a good story, some try to make people laugh, and still some are so bad they’re enjoyable in an ironic kind of way. He complains that too many horror movies follow the same formula, then says they need to be more like The Shining and Alien. Contradictory much? I’m not sure why The Exorcist is equated with jump scares, and his ninth argument lost me. However, I do agree with point three — people love tits.

    • Hah! I agree on all points. This one was off the mark. Your point about shock and disgust is really a good one, too. I don’t prefer that end of horror myself, but you’re right, that’s definitely a part of it.

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