Is the Horror Genre Treated Unfairly?

For as long as there have been films, there have been horror films. 1922's Nosferatu, 1932's Freaks, 1959's Peeping Tom, and 1960's Psycho have all been defining films in the horror genre, but for all the wrong reasons? Have horror films, and the horror genre in general been given an unfair treatment? Has our Westernized society become so conservative to the idea of violence, or even being scared at this point? 2005's Hostel (in my opinion it was really 2004's Saw) that catapulted the genre now known as "Torture Porn". Torture Porn is defined as incessant violence, minimal plot, almost no character development, and did I mention incessant violence? Examples like the Saw films, the first Hostel, and many others show that Torture Porn, if done correctly, has some merit. But on the other hand, franchises have a tendency to lose their steam after a while. After 7 Saw movies, what else could we possibly talk about? It's things like that that give the horror genre a bad name. Did we really need 9 Freddy movies? 12 Jason movies? 10 Halloween movies? 7 Saws? 6 Leatherface flicks? No, we didn't. Could one or two really good ones have sufficed? Of course. Maybe even three. In my opinion, if you're going to have a successful franchise, the filmmakers need to know where the story is going, keep it exciting, keep it new, and keep it fresh. For instance, The Fast and The Furious franchise is five movies in, still going strong, and getting better if anything. It carved out a new universe for viewers to explore, it made you care about the characters, have fun, and keep watching. Same goes for the Scream franchise. Four movies in and I still want to know what happens next.

The horror genre itself is one that no one wants to admit they like, but most do anyway. People like to be scared, it's just that simple. If they didn't, then why did The Ring gross $250 million dollars in 2002? Or the M. Night classic, Signs with $408 million worldwide that same year! Two classics, Jaws and The Exorcist, have a combined worldwide gross of almost 4 billion dollars! As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Whether the critics want to believe it or not, horror is still a booming business, more so than most genres in the current film industry, inevitably behind action and romantic comedies. The day that those run out of business, we know we're in some real trouble.





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