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New Horror?

Has the Horror Movie Genre Taken A Step Back?

I was born in 1980, and I saw my first two horror films when I was three. They were Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis, and my personal favorite Friday the 13th Part 3.  I was introduced to Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees who were the two most feared horror movie villains at the time. By the time I was seven I had seen every Friday the 13th, Halloween, Fright Night, Vamp, and many other horror movies that would come out during my childhood. Now, in 1984 a movie called A Nightmare on Elm Street came out, and introduced a new kind of scary. A supernatural serial slasher named Fred Kruger was killing people in their dreams in their sleep. This would cause me to have nightmares, but that did not stop me from still loving and watching my favorite horror movies.  

One thing that fascinated me about these horror movie villains is that they all had a "calling card" on how they would kill their victims, and they could only be defeated a certain way.  Jason Voorhees was a big, tall, stocky, and powerful killer, and could kill you without saying a word. Michael Myers was a stocky, relentless, and yet powerful presence, and would kill in the most brutal of fashions. Fred Kruger, better known as Freddy Kruger was the cynical, humorous, and sinister killer who would yell, laugh, and even joke while killing his victims.  The franchises of Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween would grow into household names in the horror movie genre, and became very popular, because the old days of the black and white Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, and Frankenstein movies has began to fall away as classics. After all it was those movies that paved the way for the Friday the 13th, Halloween, and the Nightmare on Elm Streets of the world. Horror movie producers and directors like Wes Craven, Stephen King, David Kirschner, and Sean S. Cunningham began to get more and more creative, then you saw films like Child's Play, Shocker, Pumpkinhead, Hellraiser, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original went through a series of remakes). The more horror films that came out as I got older, the less scary the movies would get. For example, Freddy's Dead: Nightmare on Elm Street 6 was more of a comedy than slasher/horror film, just as Jason X and Jason Goes to Hell, and Halloween 3 was just a flop movie about pumpkin halloween masks, but all these movie series would later get back on track as if they did not miss a beat.

Now, there were a bunch of demon or evil spirt films like, Evil Dead, Carrie, The Exorcist, and Poltergeist just to name a few that were popular very briefly, but they just did not have that scare factor that the big named horror titles.

The Era In Horror Films

A character from a mid to late 2000s horror film

In the 1990s you began to see spinoff TV shows based off of the blockbuster horror films, but these shows did not do as well as the movies did, and would often lead to remakes of the films that went away from the original themes of the movies. Then, the late 1990s and early 2000s brought out fresh new movies such as Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Jeepers Creepers, Urban Legend, and It just to name a few.  The ones just named were the more popular and lasting franchises of the 1990s and early 2000s. It was the mid 2000s when writers and directors felt like they could recreate an old film, and make it better with remakes of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and even Carrie. These remakes did not have same scary effect as their originals did. These remakes were more bloody, not as scary, and had more comical dialogue than horror. Then, came the Paranormal Activity films that came out, and they drew a lot of popularity, because they are based off of true events. The series was popular, but at the same time; if you grew up on Jason, Freddy, and Michael Myers, you were not scared of these movies at all, and even laughed at the way people died in these films. 

Horror movies nowadays means if it has a bunch of blood and gore that translates into a "good" scary movie or horror film, which I do not believe, nor do I condone. The horror films that are coming out, or that have came out over the last decade or so are far less creative than the previous horror films of prior decades. Horror movies are not scary anymore, but thanks to comedic actor Jordan Peele, the writer and director of the two award winning films Get Out and Us. Due to his movies, he has constructed a new genre of horror films called Psychological Thrillers. Peele's films are a step back in the right direction, making horror movies scary again, but more of these movies need to be made, and they also need to do well for the real horror movie fans to be happy and appreciate them. 

Read next: The Dawning
A.J. Jones
A.J. Jones

6'5 Saxophonic Poetic Minister.  Writer, producer, poet, and independent artist. College Athletics Wage Advocate, ADOS, advocate for reparations, advocate for HBCUs, Advocate for Arts in the Schools, and Advocate for Black Church Musicians 

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New Horror?
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The Dawning