Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why Hollywood sucks at making horror movies

I haven't seen 1 Hollywood produced film that has scared me enough to keep me awake for a week. Sure, Stephen King's "It" has given me nightmares but I was 9 when I first watched it. Kids get scared pretty easily back then.

I'm not exactly a film connoisseur but i know a scary movie when I see one. And save for some movies that involved killers suffering from severe eodipial complex and other behavioral problems, a whole lotta blood and gore, an element of surprise and cannibalism,most, if not all movies made in hollywood have yet to scare me awake. Even more disappointing is that they have to murder original asian horror masterpieces with a crappy remake.

I'm not exactly that hard to scare. Anything could make me jumpier than a cat on a caffeine high. But seriously... Is it just me? Or has hollywood become sloppy with horror flicks by the minute?

And here are just a few elements I have discovered after some pondering and a little examination of the scary movies I have seen lately.

1. Too much special effects

Since the advent of CGI's, hollywood has utilized special effects on bringing ghost stories and horror movies to life, in the hopes of making it scarier and more realistic. As a result, you end up watching Casper over and over again with every horror movie they make. And who the hell would find Casper scary right?

The thing is, special effects doesn't add to the horrific quality of a horror movie. It instead takes away its natural ability to scare people. Anyone more than 5 year old can tell it's not a real ghost but a CGI. Heck, even a 5 year old can tell it's a CGI. This sort of mezmerizes, if not, disenchants movie goers with the whole experience instead of scaring them, which is, the original purpose of watching a horror flick. Try comparing the original Ringgu or Ju-on with the hollywood remakes and chances are, you're bound to find the former more effective in scaring people. Why, you may ask? Because they make use of natural elements like the lighting and make up. Top it off with an eerie but subtle background music and Presto! You got yourself a shriek fest of less blood and gore and a more traumatic horror flick that could guarantee you nightmares for the rest of the week. Philippine cinema has (again copied) i mean, utilized this tactic with hits like "Feng Shui" and "Sukob" and has achieved the same effect as its predecessors. Though Kris is still a crappy actress (albeit a little improvement since her previous performances), I must admit, I couldn't sleep alone in my room for 3 freakin days, even with the lights on. I think Hollywood should learn to use less special effects to achieve more with scary movies.

2. Seen one and you've seen them all

A hollywood film maker starts a horror flick about a roadtrip gone bad to worst and hollywood instantly starts off with that theme. As a result, everybody already knows what to expect on each of this flicks with the same pattern or format. Take "Scream" for instance. they have once again resurrected the trend of Teen Horror genre starting with "I know what you did Last summer" and hits like "Urban Legend" and "Final Destination". Though I must admit, the whole blood, gore and suspense kept me at the edge of my seat, still, they end up being too predictable at times. Why is that? Because the element of surprise is no longer there. People already know what to expect, no matter how much you create a different ending for each flick.

3. Music

The problem with most hollywood movies, horror flicks or otherwise, is their reliance on music to achieve effect. Sometimes, too much music kills the effect of movies. Because the whole queue of scary music at the beginning of a suspenseful scene has already been used alot of times, it no longer shocks people already.

4. Too much blood and gore

There's nothing wrong with gut spills and blood spurts but too much of it? You have gotta be kidding me. It no longer borders to scary and horrific but that already has gone past the threshold of disgusting and lurid. But don't get me wrong. I enjoy the sight of blood and guts spills and decapitated heads and murdering mad men with an appetite for human flesh but that doesn't scare me the hell much. But the point is, horror is all about scaring people, not grossing them out... well, partly... but here's the deal. A horror movie must focus more on scaring people though the grossing out part would be a good addition. Once again, try getting inspiration from the likes of Ringgu, Amytiville and even the Poltergeist franchise.

5. Their desperate attempt to recreate Asian horror flicks

First, it was the "The Ring" and then "The Grudge". Though they tweaked the story a bit just so it won't appear like a glorified rip off, still, it has failed to attain the success these films made. They have failed to scare people over and over again. Though they may, I must admit, have done it the first time, it no longer scares
people if they watch it again. You know what my kind of horror movie does to people? It scare them over and over again. The more they watch it, the more they watch their back for the fear that they're not alone in that very moment. And the more they watch it, the more they have to look under their sheets so to check that some scary chic with long black hair isn't there to snatch her away to God knows where. Most, if not all hollywood movies were not able to achieve this.

6. Stupid horror themes

The Blob, The thing, They Nest, Anaconda. The list goes on. What is the point with all these movies? Is it to scare people that there are 40 foot snakes in the jungle or the possibility of some blob from some galaxy far far away attacking a whole community of oblivious townsfolks, or just to show the whole world the hollywood's knack for showcasing their ability to awe audiences with their know how on making aliens and monsters look realistic (sic) thanks to CGI's? Hollywood should do away with this kind of theme coz first of all, NOBODY BELIEVES IN MONSTERS ANYMORE. Secondly, the whole Alien from outerspace or mutated creepy crawlers gone awry theme is so 1950's. Sure, it scared Grandpa back then but we know better. And lastly, INSECTS ARE NOT SCARY! Well, thanks to bug spray anyways.

And last but not the least:

7. They've become too predictable.

I'm not just talking about movie remakes of 1970's shockers and Japanese horror flicks. I'm talking about hollywood movies in this category. I've said it before in #2 and # 5 and I guess I'll have to say it again: They're all goddamn the same! You watch the first 2 minutes of the film and you already know what's gonna happen and why the antagonist kills. I could lay down a bazillion most common reasons why the killer grew up to be totally psycho: An overbearing and overly zealous mother, an abusive father, he's an alien, he's a cannibal and the list, again goes on.

Enough already! If you can't do something different to sink our teeth in, then stop making horror movies.

That's why I steer clear from horror flicks in the movie theaters. Not because I'm a big scaredy cat but because I fear I may be wasting my 70 bucks on something I'm just gonna sleep through anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We were actually talking about your article on our forum..

Good Work!

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