I admit to watching bad TV on a regular basis and one thing I know from watching bad TV, is that you can never win a reality show (especially a reality show about shitty singing) by doing something easy. The same I think, can be said about horror movies. I've been seeing this more and more as I expand my horror reserves and I've noticed that a lot of movies are getting scare cred by doing very easy things. Easy things and jump scares- but since we know that jump scares are my arch enemy, we can skip that part for now. So what is easy? Now, now, put your B list celebrity jokes aside kids, I mean business. Easy are things that are so naturally scary, that it's almost impossible to mess it up. You've heard it in joke form before, "It was a dark and stormy night....blah blah". Well, here is a short video of naturally scary things that perfectly represents what I'm talking about.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? is yes a scary (kids) show- but it's title credits speak largely on traditional horror. A misty night with a rocking canoe, a lone swing swinging on it's own, a scary clown in the attic, footsteps in the dark, the list goes on and on. If you don't find yourself the least bit scared due to a primal or innate sense of fear burrowing within your soul, then I'm sorry but you might be dead. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little tired of horror movies taking on such imagery and using these typical scare tactics. A horror movie that really makes me jump out of my skin? Something that isn't supposed to be scary but scares the living daylights out of me. It's called originality and it's refreshing and delightful. And P.S. I miss it.
Yes there are quite a few movies nowadays that step away from the popular kids and wear a different outfit to school. Movies that go for thrills during the day as opposed to the night, movies where horror happens in crowded places as opposed to old abandoned houses and possibly (at least I hope), and someday maybe, a movie where the cute little old man next door is actually a brutal monster.
Hey, a girl can dream OK?
I guess I'm just sick of seeing clowns in movies. What isn't scary about a clown?
For the majority of people who still have a pulse, a clown is scary. Period. Squeaky swing sets in an abandoned playground? Actually squeaky, creaky noises in general are scary. Nighttime is scary. Sure scary largely has to do with what we each personally find to be scary--but you have to realize at some point that there are things universally accepted as scary right? Right. Not only that, but since I equated naturally scary things with jump scares, I'm starting to think that these typical tactics are just tricks like jump scares. Is what the director showing actually creating a level of fear or are we just made to feel scared because it's so easy to equate spookiness with a haunted house?
And yes I do realize that there are a lot of movies that take those typical things and take them to different and original places. But, I'm largely speaking to most of the mainstream garbage that I've been seeing a lot lately. I'm not saying that if you use a fat and scary clown in your movie you are cheating and forcing people to find your film scary---but well no, I guess I am saying that. Whoops.
So, I will now ask you to take a step back and think about if what you are watching truly is scary- or if what you are seeing is just so naturally scary that it's almost too easy. That it's making you feel fear for reasons that have little to do with the actual movie and more to do with our deepest, most natural fears.