Friday, March 15, 2013

Where Is Horror Going?

A friend of mine, a film buff, recently proposed an interesting question: where is horror going? Various ghost stories have been popular in the last few years, though they are not necessarily indicative of the future of the genre. To be clear, horror films always have been and will always continue to be diverse, but some sub-genres of horror gain greater popularity for periods of time. For example, slasher flicks have been generally popular between the 70s and 90s, cheesy b-horror movies were trendy in the 80s, and zombie films made a big return in the 2000s; the question is, where will horror continue from here? What is the modern man afraid of?

If you haven't seen "Twilight": don't.
It's practically basic human knowledge that the way to kill a vampire is to drive a wooden stake through its heart, and knowing that is a comfort you can mull over when driving home from a late night vampire feature. Part of the reason stories about vampires and zombies are so popular are because the cultures surrounding those stories provide clear-cut solutions for the protagonist and viewer's own personal safety. By now, every American between the ages of 6 and 60 should be able to tell you that the way to kill a zombie is to remove the head or destroy the brain; someone with extended knowledge of zombies could tell you that the ideal weapons to defend against reanimated corpses, on a basic level, are a machete and a titanium crowbar (as opposed to a shotgun, mainly because blades don't need reloading). Many horror films don't provide "tools for survival," arguably because clear solutions could reduce tension, but these types of stories have a wider appeal to audiences who may not have otherwise been interested in horror movies.

Despite our surviving the great Mayan apocalypse of 2012, my prediction is that apocalyptic themes will become more popular in years to come. With anxiety-inducing reports of global financial crises in the news each day, whispers of a severe recession—or worse, a complete economic collapse—seem to be new sources of fear. Continuing in the popularity of the zombie sub-genre, movies in the next 10 years may place heavier emphasis on themes of survival. Aside from the undead, some topics one could expect to see may include viral outbreaks, post-government society (state of anarchy), extraterrestrials (alien invasions, experiments, & conspiracies), and devastating natural disasters. Many will still flock to the cinema for a good fright, but future moviegoers will be attracted to the idea of seeing [generally] realistic solutions demonstrated in an entertaining way.


TravisPflanz said...

Nice read! I shared this on the Slasher Nation Facebook page and via Twitter.

I know where horror is going - Check out Patrick Rea's Nailbiter!

Ramsey said...

Hey Travis, thanks for sharing the article with the Slasher Nation!

Nailbiter definitely looks cool; it's interesting how they use monsters in a natural disaster setting. I'm looking forward to seeing that, thanks for recommending it.

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