If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I love horror movies. However, I feel some horror movies rely too heavily on shock value or being too graphic. A prime example of this is the Eli Roth film GREEN INFERNO. That movie is, in essence, a gory snuff film. I think slasher films rely too heavily on blood, guts and gore.
Me personally? I like psychological horror movies. In other words, horror movies that just mess with your mind. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is a great example of this. There is very little actual physical violence or jump scares. Mentally though, the movie is scary as Hell.
Stephen King is a whole ‘nother genre of horror all together. Mr. King is the undisputed master of horror. And yes, I am aware of the fact that Stephen King is an author. But since most of his books have been made into successful movies, I am including him. Depending on the director, Stephen King movie adaptations can be mentally terrifying or shocking visually. One example of such an adaptation is THE SHINING. Stanley Kubrick’s Shining, though hated by Stephen King, is a horror movie classic. I mean, the “Heeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!” and “All Work and No Play Make Jack A Dull Boy” scenes are so synonymous with horror nowadays. And really the same could be said about the Overlook Hotel as a whole.
IT, both the 1990 made-for-TV miniseries and 2017 are both visually and mentally scary. I mean, Pennywise the Dancing Clown is a driving force as to why people view clowns nowadays as just plain spooky and terrifying.
If you want even more prime examples, look no further than the “original” horror movies of the 1930s…the granddaddies of them all. Nosferatu is easily one of the most terrifying German films EVER…and even today is considered one of the scariest movies ever made. Universal Studios absolutely DOMINATED the horror industry. Bela Lugosi’s DRACULA is just so infamous nowadays. Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the Monster or Creature in FRANKENSTEIN is probably as iconic as Hollywood itself. I guarantee whenever you think of Frankenstein or Dracula, Karloff and Lugosi immediately come to mind. The two are pretty much one and the same…the person is the character.
Those are, in my opinion, absolutely perfect examples of what I look for in a good horror movie…no “real” violence, no blood (though Dracula relies on it to live), no guts and gore, no bad language…just terrifying, timeless, and just enjoyable. They are just purely good movies.
So where does the “too much” fit in? Look at movies like EVIL DEAD or the SAW franchise. Blood, guts, gore, f bombs, and killing for no reason left and right…and I basically just gave you the premises of both those examples. Don’t hate me. This is just my opinion. If you like those kinds of movies, that is perfectly fine. Grotesquely fine. To others like myself, I find them off-putting. It’s no rhyme or reason for the killings and carnage. “Oh, let’s just kill people for the Hell of it”. Even those genres of horror movie are a dying breed.
I think a “good” horror movie can have a mix of both. I mentioned IT as an example. I have no issue with blood and gore, but I have some conditions on that. It can’t be too over-the-top and senseless. There has to be a reason. I think some exceptions to that are movie adaptations of books. There are some things in books that are too off-limits. There is a very adult scene in the book version of IT. This scene, thankfully, was omitted from all the cinematic versions.
Foreign horror films are just complete madness. They don’t have the same rating system as the United States. They can almost be classified as murder-porn, depending on which film you watch. OLD BOY, the original, is a great example of this. Same with a lot of Japanese horror films. I cannot think of any off the top of my head, but believe me…they’re messed up.
So in closing, how do you like your horror? Psychological, gory, bloody, fun and entertaining? Or maybe all of the above? Thanks for reading!