I love horror movies. I rarely miss a theatrical release if I can help it, I have a collection of promising trailers saved on YouTube, and waiting for The Babadook to get a US release nearly killed me. I spend entire paychecks on Halloween décor. I write for a website called iHorror. I am a rabid horror fan, which is why it pains me to say
Horror fans are snobs.
Are you rolling your eyes? Do you feel self-righteously indignant? Did you read this out loud to a friend and then insult my mother? Let me just throw a word out at you: remake.
Ridiculous, how could they, what are they thinking, don’t touch it, etc. We’ve all heard it/said it before. We’ve all gotten more than a little crazy when a studio announces a remake of a beloved, or hell, even a universally despised, horror flick. Does anyone else remember the absolute madness than ensued when it was announced (The) Evil Dead would be remade without Ash?
Throwing around the R-word with horror fans is generally guaranteed to lead to screaming, yelling, maybe a few tears, and an all-around headache. I definitely count myself among those who have, on occasion, thrown a hissy fit over a movie being redone (ok, but really? How many times do we need to see Carrie? IT NEVER CHANGES) even if the end result is pure gold. “Well, it was good, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the original.” It’s like we have an instinct to arrogantly align ourselves with whatever came first and simultaneously announce to the world that we are so entrenched in our freaky passion that all our devotion has been set aside for “the classics.” By declaring our loyalty, we establish that we are superior enough in our genre knowledge not to be won over by shiny new effects or a fresh spin on an old story. We were there before they became “mainstream.” Even if a remake is more gory, more intense, with better acting and cinematography, we won’t ever turn our backs on The Almighty Original. I agree, sometimes the remake is sucko, but not every time, guys.
And the R-word isn’t the only grenade to be thrown. Although not likely to incense as many fans, “sequel” is another sore subject with many devotees. Not necessarily because we think they shouldn’t be done; after all, Horror is a genre know for it’s franchises as the most arguably notable killers (Myers, Krueger, and Voorhees) each have their own, but because one film clearly has to be a standout, and everyone obviously has their own opinion on which film that is and why, and of course no one can ever agree on which one it is.
Shyamalanian twists? “I saw it coming sooooo stupid #yawn.” A PG-13 rating? “Not unless I’m babysitting LOL.” Seriously, are any other genre fans as uppity as us? To be fair, the seemingly endless amount of sub-genres expand the fan base by a significant amount, which may account for some of the cattiness. In a big ocean, there’s bound to be more than a few pissed off fish. But at least we’re all in this together, right? Except oh wait! Because we can’t even agree on what Horror is. Psychological-horror, supernatural-horror, B-movie horror, creature features…at some point, the line gets blurry. Not too long ago, several writers from this site had a discussion on whether ‘The Shining’ and ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ were horror. Surprise, surprise: we didn’t all agree.
Personally, I don’t know that “horror” can be defined. It’s more of a “you know it when you see it” kinda thing. A lot of people have taken to placing horror in a very clearly defined box, with rigid parameters. The rule seems to be: “If it doesn’t scare ME, then it isn’t horror.” And that’s some harsh law to lay down, because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everybody is going about this “growing up” business. At some point we start fearing curfews over killers, bills over the Boogeyman, and mortgages over machetes. The fact is, horror demands a suspension of disbelief. It requires us to tap into our inner child and believe that the baddest of bad things are real and they live under our beds.
I do it all the time. I still haven’t seen ‘Ouija‘ because it’s rated PG-13 and I thought I shouldn’t even bother. But every time I watch the trailer, I’m intrigued. I need to check my own ridiculous prejudices, because there’s an extensive list of PG-13 movies that I’ve really enjoyed, and I definitely don’t want to miss out on a potential goldmine. ‘When a Stranger Calls’ is one of my favorite movies to throw on when I’m home alone. ‘Insidious’, ‘The Possession’, ‘They’…there’s a lot to be appreciated out there if we chill the fuck out and just enjoy these movies for what they are: someone’s version of a campfire story. Let’s sit back, shut up for once, and enjoy the “Boo!”
Except for ‘As Above, So Below’ because what the shitty shit shitburgers was that bullshit?
Sorry. Old habits.