We all know the feeling. You are sitting there, watching the television, and suddenly the hairs on your arm start to stand on end, and an explosive chill rushes up your spine. As you begin to grip the arms of your seat and clench your teeth, you wonder…why did I watch this film. The answer is simple, you watched it precisely for this feeling, for this exhilarating adrenaline rush that forces you to hide behind your cushion until it is over. This is the beauty of the horror genre
I have recently been thinking about what the benefits of being a horror fan are. We obviously buy/watch horror films because that is the genre which we enjoy, but there is a difference between our films and massive blockbuster films. Whereas popular movies will have gone through the cinema and then landed on the DVD chart, only to stay on there for months on end at a ridiculous price. Although some are put onto the chart, a lot of horror films, especially low-budget ones, are straight-to-DVD films which you can pick up quite cheap. I know, and I’m speaking from experience, there are a lot of these films out there which are passable. But every now and then you will come across a little hidden gem, that you just happened to grab out of the £3 bargain bucket. It is in that moment, after you have viewed the film, that you realise the benefit of horror films. You’ve got an enjoyable film, and have saved a few quid.
Audiences might pass off horror films as being ridiculous and just made up of over-the-top gore, but in my opinion, horror films portray more truth than many other genres. Ruggero Deodato – director of Cannibal Holocaust – explained that the reason he makes films about things that aren’t nice is because he likes to make films about real life, and real life usually isn’t nice. People may try to bury their heads and look past the horrors of everyday life by watching more typically made happy-ever-after films. But the truth is the seedy underbelly of civilisation which is portrayed in horror films, is all too real, and we need to take it head on to get ourselves ready in case we are forced to experience it first hand.
However where there are positive points about a certain subject, negative ones will surely be there too. There is a big concern that I have about the general public when it comes to horror films, and that is that a vast majority do not take the horror genre as a professional one; and this is from listening to people in person. The fury which boils under the surface is hard to contain when an audience just look at what is on the surface of a horror flick; the shaky camera or the cheesy acting. When will they learn that more often that not more hard work will go into creating one of these films; some of the costumes, make-up and scenery that I have seen – which have been made from scratch – are unbelievable, as oppose to some high-budget Hollywood blockbuster that sheds out a load of money for CGI.
Although a lot would complain that all they see is the typical horror storyline over and over again; and I’ll admit it has been done to death. But because the story line has been done over so many times, you are able to focus on other aspects of the films, such as the music, the effects and character development. Meaning that if the movies have an effect on you from these aspects, then the film makers have put in that extra bit of effort to ensure every characteristic of the film is up to scratch.
The horror fan base is still over-whelming, and I can’t see it decreasing any time soon; it’s just a pity that the genre has to be looked down upon from certain audiences who can’t open their minds to try to enjoy a different type of film. Like I said before, there are horror films in the chart every now and then, but that only ever seems to be movies which have starred big Hollywood actors. Such as Sinister; this film starred Ethan Hawke and to be fair it had a great plot and a great ending, but there have been so many horrors that have gone straight the DVD which would walk all over Sinister.
I wrote this because as I strolled into HMV the other day to have a gander at the horror section, I noticed that it wasn’t where it normally was. No, it had been pushed aside to make room for a section called ‘General Interest’. I mean for god sake, surely those films would come under ‘Feature Films’; the section was barely full anyway, there was no need to move such classics as The Exorcist, Hellraiser and Rosemary’s Baby.
This may come across as me just having a rant about the fact that I think horror films are the best genre, that is far from the truth. I adore the majority of film genres, horror just needs the recognition it deserves.
Maybe they’ll be sorry that they didn’t watch them and learn how to fend off evil when the next person reads from the Necronomicon, and the Deadites rise. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.