What happened to horror films?
In the spirit of Halloween, I've been watching quite a bit of horror films — one of my favorite genres of movies. I've recently watched classics like "The Shining," "The Exorcist," "Alien," and "Scream." However, I started to notice that most of these movies were made decades ago, and almost none were made in the last 10 years. It got me thinking, why it that?
Now, I'm not saying that there haven't been any good horror movies in the past few years, but even the best ones recently don't strike me as instant classics. "Sinister," for example, came out in 2012, and is still watched and discussed today. But, in my opinion, it isn't even comparable to a film like "The Shining." "A Quiet Place" is probably the most well received "horror" movie recently, but feels more like a thriller than anything. "Get Out" is probably the only real notable recent mystery, thriller films. Even that has mostly gained its credit through social relevance and political commentary than pure fear value.
Most people may say that it might be due to a lack of demand for these films, which I do not believe to be true. A lot of the time if a genre has lower demand it stagnates and starts to become of poorer quality. But recently, even very poorly reviewed horror films have done fairly well at the box office. Take for example "The Nun," which was horrid in my opinion as well as many others, grossed $360 million worldwide on just a $22 million budget. So, I don't think it can be that.
My personal assessment is that large studios are afraid to touch the genre after it was pretty much killed in the 2000s because of all the poorly reviewed trash that came out of it. But, I think these studios fail to understand that many of the slamming reviews came from lazily done and outright disrespectful remakes of classic horror films. During the 2000s there were horrendous remakes and reboots of almost every highlight horror franchise. "Friday the 13th," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Halloween," and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" were terrible remakes of classic films during this era. Of course these were berated with hate, which I think studios took as a shot against the horror genre, and not as a shot against their corporate tactics. Because of this, major studios aren't releasing many horror movies at all. However, I think it's finally coming around and people will start to innovate once again in the coming years.
If you want to watch more recent and fresh horror movies this Halloween season, instead of just sticking to the obvious classics, I have some recommendations. "Trick 'r Treat" (2008) is one of my favorites, especially around Halloween. It is much lesser known too. "Hereditary" (2018) came out recently and got much less attention that I would've liked because it's very good. Finally, "The Witch" (2015) is easily one of the most terrifyingly well done horror films I've ever seen and a classic in my book. Beware though, it's not for the faint-hearted. I hope you have a great Halloween and enjoy some great horror films.
Tate Ericson is a senior at Wilsonville High School.