What Are The Things You Dislike most about Modern Horror Movies ?

Horror an comedy I think are the hardest things to film (or write about). Generally the purposes of a movie is to entertain and (sometimes) to inform the viewer; sit back and enjoy the ride. Comedy and horror are different, because they have to exact an emotional response from the viewer; and the issue with these two subjects is that we all have different things that elicit these responses.

Personally I found the first Blair Witch to be innovative, interesting and quite scary in parts. But since this time the genre has been done to death, and there are few (if any) that are worth more than a cursory glance.
 
Horror an comedy I think are the hardest things to film (or write about). Generally the purposes of a movie is to entertain and (sometimes) to inform the viewer; sit back and enjoy the ride. Comedy and horror are different, because they have to exact an emotional response from the viewer; and the issue with these two subjects is that we all have different things that elicit these responses.

Personally I found the first Blair Witch to be innovative, interesting and quite scary in parts. But since this time the genre has been done to death, and there are few (if any) that are worth more than a cursory glance.

Didn't The Blair Witch get parodies in one the Scary movie films?
 
I think there should be more focus on performance.
It's easy to underestimate how much spookiness can be generated from just acting.

I.e. in Jaws, the Indianapolis story. That's like a ghost story being told. There's a little music with it but otherwise it is all based on words and the single performer.
I was thinking of a scene in The Legend of Hell House where someone is possessed and she's acting really creepy while speaking to Roddy McDowall.
It is is entirely without special effects and yet one of the creepiest scenes. Also, same movie, where McDowall explains what happened to the previous team of investigators.
It helps establish a spooky atmosphere if you can believe in the sincerity of the performances and not have it disrupted by too much music, editing, or spfx.

My favorite scene in Lord of the Rings is when Gandalf is facing the Balrog and shouts, "you shall not pass!" It sells the scene as much as the cgi because he behaves so passionately-you can believe he is really seeing this giant creature in front of him.
 
It Follows This one got raves. I finally got to see it and found it to be both dumb and not scary .
 
I think there should be more focus on performance.
It's easy to underestimate how much spookiness can be generated from just acting.

I.e. in Jaws, the Indianapolis story. That's like a ghost story being told. There's a little music with it but otherwise it is all based on words and the single performer.
I was thinking of a scene in The Legend of Hell House where someone is possessed and she's acting really creepy while speaking to Roddy McDowall.
It is is entirely without special effects and yet one of the creepiest scenes. Also, same movie, where McDowall explains what happened to the previous team of investigators.
It helps establish a spooky atmosphere if you can believe in the sincerity of the performances and not have it disrupted by too much music, editing, or spfx.

My favorite scene in Lord of the Rings is when Gandalf is facing the Balrog and shouts, "you shall not pass!" It sells the scene as much as the cgi because he behaves so passionately-you can believe he is really seeing this giant creature in front of him.

Yes, Robert Shaw was magnificent in that movie, and in particular with his telling of the Indianapolis.

For me the Balrog scene in the book is memorable because it is the only time that we see see pure fear from any of the Fellowship. "Ai! Ai!" wailed Legolas. "A Balrog! A Balrog is come!" Of all the creatures in Middle-earth from mountain trolls to ring-wraiths to Sauron himself, never is a sense of fear and peril instilled in the reader than in that moment. Quite possibly (with the destruction of Smaug) the most dangerous living creature in the whole of Middle-earth.
 
I'm not a fan of newer or older horror films. They generally make me anxious and the world does a great job of that all by itself. I have no desire to bring more anxiety into my life especially during my leisure time.
 
"The true horror film (I use the abominable description) has its roots in the fairy tale, and the fairy tale has its roots in the soil of humanity....For the audience, this kind of film is a release--a bizarre world outside ordinary experience where the tensions are enjoyable."
Boris Karloff
 
Yes, Robert Shaw was magnificent in that movie, and in particular with his telling of the Indianapolis.
His presence added a kind of Gothic/Romanticism to the movie that would not have been there if Lee Marvin or someone else American was Quint.
They were using UK actors in key blockbuster movies--Star Wars obviously and Superman and even Halloween used Pleasence in a similar way. Ian Holm in ALIEN as well. Like an anchor for the story to be taken seriously.

Shaw almost did the Amicus film THE BEAST MUST DIE. He was going to take the hunter role before JAWS came. I bet if he had, a monologue about wolves would have been likely!
 
I think my two biggest problems with modern horror movies are the following:

1. The urge to explain. Oftentimes a film has a somewhat effective atmosphere, or particularly unsettling imagery, but then squanders it with banal exposition. Generally speaking we really don't need the monster's back story, or an explanation of the precise mechanism by which a curse is activated and its motivation.

This is true. Horror is best when it's mysterious. (Looking at you Prometheus / Alien Covenant) The xenomorph was more effective when it was unknowable.

2. "It's actually about real life." All horror touches on "real life," duh. Shoving this realization in the audience's face does not actually make the horror feel more relevant, just less effective. So many promising films get ruined by the filmmakers' desire to shout "This is actually a metaphor for losing a parent/ cancer/ divorce/ loneliness, guys! We're not just a genre movie, we're serious stuff!"

Horror is never really about real life. Schindler's List isn't a horror film, even though the things that happen in that film are beyond anything in any mainstream horror. Same thing with Come & See - probably one of the most true depictions of real life horror ever committed to celluloid.

I think you can split horror into two broad categories - the fairground ride and the encounter with the ineffable.

The first is about cheap jumps, gross-out visuals and evoking disgust - nightmare on elm street, jason, saw, hostel, buckets of blood, skeletons flying over the audience etc.

The second is about mood, atmosphere, expectation, the psychological - gothic castles, the strange, the uncanny, madness - they're about reckoning with history (writing the wrong, or the way the past haunts the present) or the unknowable.

I guess the above two points could be subsumed into one: A fear of ambiguity, irrationality, and loose ends- all of which feature heavily in a lot of effective horror.

I think it's more that modern audiences are desensitised to so much. There is gore in teen shows nowadays that would have been 18 certificate 30 years ago.
Another problem is the MST3K attitude--there's a mocking attitude towards a suspension of disbelief nowadays and I think it hinders the ability to appreciate straight horror stories, especially economical made ones with an imaginative theme.

Agree - we're much more self conscious nowadays than we ever were.

I really hate found footage films though.
I despise them because the lack of traditional narrative structure and musical scores and photography---it's not a boon for horror to do everything like a news documentary.
I really hate them.

Found footage was a novelty. Blair Witch was good at the time, I thought. It did bring something new to the table - both in terms of marketing and in the way it was shot. The iconic scenes of the harsh lighting and the performance of the lead actress very much sold the terror.

I watched Scorcese's Cape Fear for the first time yesterday. Even in 1990 it was a period piece - Scorcese is trying to channel Hitchcock (as was the original on which the film is based). But the sheer creativity in the editing, the use of camera, blocking really was fantastic - but having lived for twenty years now with over the shoulder shots and documentary style shaky cam, it also looked bizarre.

I was also watching something about film editing, and they were saying that modern films cut almost every second because they're concerned audiences will get bored - instead of letting a scene play out they make up for the deficiencies in script and performance by putting the most obvious musical scores on them to signify YOU SHOULD FEEL SAD HERE. THIS BIT IS DRAMATIC. THIS GUY IS AN IDIOT. etc.

One of the things I objected to about Jackson's LOTR was the score. Other than the use of the execrable Uillean pipes and the trite "oi'm from oireland, talooraloora" cod-folk melodies (much better was Bakshi's score), Jackson uses it like a crutch - as a bed under every scene. It's like the performances weren't good enough, so here, FEEL THIS.

Going back to Cape Fear - I LOVE LOVE LOVE Bernard Hermann. The score is fantastic, but it's much better used sparingly. Towards the very end of the movie where it somehow manages to push melodrama through the veil of comedy, the music does feel too much. That vein of Debussy and Rachmaninoff that Hermann is cribbing from seems out of place now we're accustomed to the generic Hans Zimmer / Junkie XL sparse music score.

It's not so much that the ability to suspend belief isn't there - but that the boundary is diminished because so much music / tropes have been reified by other things - adverts / films / comedy. etc.
 
Horror is never really about real life.

Interesting. I take the opposite opinion, in terms of the horror mcgubbins being a metaphor for something IRL. There's also (again, for me) a large element of being the monster oneself/the outsider and when I grew older I realised why and how I was drawn to horror.

But then it comes down to the most tedious thing, really doesn't it; Genre definitions. A genre aficionado can discern all the nuances between their favoured genre, but others who don't care for that...don't care. I was recently disabused (by Peat) of my opinion that there were only two or three types of fantasy because I'm poorly read in that genre.

Strictly speaking horror is fantasy, just a darker exploration than swords and sandals or grimdark, for example. The difference is, I suspect, that if you ask the ordinary Muggle on the street what fantasy is, they'll have a good idea (and possibly a wider appreciation of it since GOT), whereas ask them about horror and they might think in terms of blood and gore, as opposed to cosmic or weird fic. I'm constantly defending my genre to Muggles who think of horror as low-brow, low-shelf stuff for disturbed people.

All that relates to literature; when it comes to cinema can you imagine distributors and studios going any further than describing horror as, perhaps something along the lines of 'The thinking man's Nightmare on Elm Street' when discussing, say Paperhouse, or more nebulous fare like Lake Mungo, Session 9, The Babadook, The Lighthouse.

Luckily, with the explosion of globalism and hyper-connectivity and tech, I can now avoid the James Wan or Blumhouse stinkers and seek out the kind of horror I like.

Just like I do with literature.
 
 
Thailand makes great horror.
Do you know of any examples? I'm not surprised they make good horror. Thai people seemed to be obsessed with ghosts and ghost movies.

What did people think of Rec (2007) I saw it recently, a highly rated found footage horror from spain. Thought it was okay. Probably would've enjoyed it more if I watched it 15 years ago.
 
Do you know of any examples? I'm not surprised they make good horror. Thai people seemed to be obsessed with ghosts and ghost movies.
Shutter (2004) is a cult classic. There's a plot twist in the end that is almost in the same level of the one in Sixth Sense (1999). The same director made a movie called The Medium. The community has been talking about it a lot, but the flick is still to premiere in my country.

Bad Genius (2017) is another great Thai movie. It's a thriller based in real-life events.
What did people think of Rec (2007) I saw it recently, a highly rated found footage horror from spain. Thought it was okay. Probably would've enjoyed it more if I watched it 15 years ago.
It's one of my favorite movies, and I rewatch it now and then. I gave a shout0out about this movie here in the forum not so long ago. Some people confirmed it a good movie, but there's a member here that hates it. We went back and forth in a discussion and I wasn't able to convince him o_O
 
I don’t think any movie has creeped me out more than Ringu and yet, by the end of the movie, I was left feeling some compassion towards the ‘monster’. Same with Frankenstein.

With this in mind I think, at least for me, horror works best when it involves pathos because that opens the gate to empathy and the realisation that there’s a little monster in all of us.

What doesn’t work for me are things like the protagonist waking up and realising it was a dream, then waking up and realising that being awake was a dream, then waking up….etc

Once, this kind of scene was probably innovative but now it’s just lazy film making. And that’s the problem with any genre like horror. It’s easier and safer to do it by the numbers but it’s much more difficult and financially risky to come up with a truly wonderful horror movie.

Perhaps the big money thrown around in Hollywood productions makes everybody nervous and play safe, whereas, smaller foreign studios are more likely to explore riskier concepts.
 
Half seeing the monster, menace or whatever because of the use of obscuring shadows . clever and not clever camera angles , quick cut editing and unlikely storyline and plot line twists. ( which had been overdone by everyone to the point of predictable clichedom ) makes for a not very scary or suspenseful movie.
 
The Resident Evil films for example should have been maybe 3 films tops with a definite ending.

Personally I think they should have quit after the second reel of the first one.

For me implied horror is always for more disturbing than body parts flying out at the screen at you. That moment towards the end of Peeping Tom where the girl (Anna Massey) is watching the film of the woman watching herself being killed is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. Sadistic voyeurism at it most oblique yet incredibly powerful. Makes you ask yourself - Why am I watching this?
 
For me implied horror is always for more disturbing than body parts flying out at the screen
Absolutely. There’s a scene in The Haunting (unless my memory fails me) where the camera rests for a couple of minutes on the shot of a door. There seems to be something happening but you’re never quite sure.
 
Absolutely. There’s a scene in The Haunting (unless my memory fails me) where the camera rests for a couple of minutes on the shot of a door. There seems to be something happening but you’re never quite sure.


Yes. What's in your own imagination is far more personal and therefore far more frightening than anything a film could come up with. What the best horror movies and books does is to provoke and encourage your imagination to head in the right direction.
 

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