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The Death of Mainstream Horror This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I eat, breathe, and sleep horror. The genre is my entire life. I write and read the stories, watch the movies, and eat “Count Chocula” breakfast cereal. Unfortunately, right now the future of the horror industry is not very bright. I can’t remember the last time a horror movie was at the top of the box-office charts, let alone an original horror movie. And face it, with the economy people don’t want to go to the movies as much and when they do, not too many people want to sit through an hour and a half of tragedy,


Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s now like all modern horror flicks don’t make any money and it’s not like they haven’t topped the charts in decades. The blockbusters usually make back what the spend and then some. It’s just that the mainstream Hollywood horror movies haven’t been the highest grossing in probably a year or two. What about straight-to-video horror, though? With the dawn of the D.V.D and demise of the video store, it’s harder for those unknown and indy horror films to get noticed. Some filmmakers tote their movies around to festivals and conventions only to spend even more time and money and have to face continuous rejection and failure. On the flip side, they could get a devoted fan base and a cult following, but that doesn’t pay the bills, now does it?


Another problem with the genre I hold dear is the utter lack of originality. The most original movie I can think of in the last five years in “Repo! The Genetic Opera”. You may have heard of the blockbuster movie “Repo Men”? Same concept, just made a few years earlier and set to industrial metal. Horror fans are continuously fed the same thing over and over. It seems to be either a remake or a sequel of a movie from the 1980’s. Or the ever-so-popular vampires and werewolves. In my humble opinion, they’re overplayed. From “Underworld” to “Twilight” it’s the same thing. Forbidden love and blood-sucking aristocrats versus humanoid canines. It’s become completely ridiculous. Most horror movies in the past year have been remakes, though. “Halloween”, “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “The Wolfman”, “Predators”, and “Piranha”. The upcoming “The Last Exorcism” is an awful lot like “The Exorcist” mixed with “The Blair Witch Project”. If you’re going to redo something, at least pull from something that’s not a cliché.


The major problem with horror today is people aren’t into it as much as they used to be. Adults have better things to spend their money on than a silly movie, let alone one that will make them (it the movie’s done right) feel horrible afterwards. Teen these days just want to watch hilarious, quotable comedies like “Step Brothers” or “The Hangover”, not remakes of the slasher movies their parents watched. Today’s youth is cynical and desensitized to violence anyway, and most simply don’t have the imagination to put themselves in the position of the victim to get the glorious feeling of terror.


Here’s the thing though, I can type away at my keyboard all day and complain about how horror is going down a slippery slope; thousands of other bloggers do the same thing. Very few people do a damn thing about it. We all keep forking over the ten dollars to see more remakes, redos, and reboots every time a movie hits theaters and we all keep whining about how much they suck. But some of us are making a stand (well, as much of one that can be made) and helping out those talented unknowns with brilliant, new ideas. Directors like Ti West, who did “House of the Devil” deserve praise. The movie “Black Waters of Echo Pond” was a hit on the film festival circuit. Horror fans need to stop complaining about what Hollywood is throwing at us and need to look harder for the gems that don’t get the recognition they should.


Horror in the mainstream may be dying out with MGM and The Weinstein Company going bankrupt and horror heavy hitter Lionsgate slowing down their genre input (slowing down, not stopping altogether, thank God), but I don’t think something with such a passionate fan base can ever really go extinct. With my ranting about modern horror, I do not in any way want to discourage you, dear reader, to stop going to the cinema. “Piranha 3-D” looks like a fun time and “The Last Exorcism” looks promising. I’m saying if you love this genre like I do, get up and do something original!




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