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What’s The Biggest Problem With Modern Horror?

That headline isn’t a question I’m going to answer in this piece, it’s a question you’re going to answer.

2013 was the best year for horror in quite some time, and it was certainly the best since I started here at BD in 2011. This was the first year where I had at least 10 movies I wanted to include in my year-end “best of” list (for the record it had 12, but I could have easily added a few more and felt good about it). My time at the site aside, it just felt great as a horror fan in general. I’ve loved the genre ever since I saw An American Werewolf In London at age 10 and the best scary movies still give me a high, that slightly illicit feeling when something is thrilling me and I’m not sure if the filmmakers (or me as the viewer) should be allowed to get away with it.

This year gave me plenty of that, or as much as I can expect as an adult who sometimes has to remind himself that he’s allowed to be unabashedly thrilled at times. It was also fun to watch you guys have fun with the unexpected surplus of good titles out there. Even more interesting? Watching what you guys didn’t like. There was some stuff I loved that a lot of you hated and some stuff a lot of you loved that I couldn’t really get my head around.

Is this endemic of a larger problem? Absolutely not. The fact is, everyone is different and if we all liked the same shit things would get boring pretty damn fast. I think of it as a blessing that I’m continually blindsided by opinions that I didn’t see coming; opinions I often see a lot of merit in once I really consider them. For instance, it seems like a lot of you guys dislike All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. I myself love (and will likely continue to love) that film. The fact that its characters are all well drawn, fun and fully realized is pull enough for me. I get that some folks were expecting it to reinvent the wheel (this stuff tends to happen when you hear about something for a few years before seeing it), and I can empathize with that first viewing where you have to recalibrate your expectations away from the film that was in your head and towards the film you’re actually watching. Then again, there seems to be a segment of the audience that was able to do that and found that the movie simply wasn’t their thing – fair enough.

In turn, there are also some elements in emerging horror that turn a lot of people on while leaving me cold. I hate it when horror movies are relentlessly dour and brutal with no sense of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I can enjoy some fairly intense, gory and mean stuff in the right context. But there’s an awful lot of stuff out there that seems to be begging to be taken seriously on the sole virtue that it takes itself seriously. To me, it’s the genre equivalent of what started happening to superhero films after The Dark Knight – properties that didn’t need to be mired in gloom were subjected to it anyway and thusly embraced by a fanbase looking outwards for their love to be validated (as if their own fandom wasn’t enough). There’s no need to make something not fun on purpose, even in horror (granted when it’s something like Irreversible and has something to say that’s one thing, but usually we don’t get that kind of urgency), it just comes across as immature to me.

We’re not going to “solve” anything here, one man’s fix is another man’s failure. But it’s always fun to talk. What’s YOUR biggest problem with modern horror (besides the fact that the next Friday The 13th will be found footage)?



  • CaptainHowdee

    My biggest issue with modern horror (and with any other genre, really) is the complete and utter lack of inspiration and creativity. It’s like a majority doesn’t even try to be innovative, and they still make profit from it because there will always be that large group of moviegoers who enjoy whatever movie they watch. It’s why movies like “Grown Ups 2” make $200,000,000+ in profit while many far greater and masterfully-made films hardly break even. Viewers have grown custom to enjoying movies that are ideas regurgitated and spat out again because it’s what the industry spoon-feeds them. The film industry is only trying to appeal to the market, and if the market wants a bad movie, then they’ll supply viewers with a bad movie, and that applies to every genre.

    • Nothing333

      First post pretty much nails my feeling exactly. I’m tired of endless remakes, sequels and unoriginal ideas. Major film thinks it’s a risk to offer an original property so we get all of the above and possession and haunted house films. There are literally no horror films released by a major studio that didn’t fall into one of the categories i mentioned. Indies are a bit better. We had Jug Face, American Mary, Berberian Sound Studio, Antiviral, etc. One may find those films terrible or great but at least you have to admit that they wanted to tell an original tale.

      • While I agree it would be nice to see some more Indies get wide releases. it is important to remember the amount of sequel remakes are not as overpowering as we normally think. only roughly 10% of films widely released each year are in that category. the reason most people myself up until very recently included think that there are so many is because they are advertised more prominently. and they get the advertisement because the original film or series has made a boatload of money for the studio so they can afford to put up that investment.

        basically they make more money so they are advertised so much more so we think that there are more than there are. I remember the exact numbers anymore but it was something like in 2012 8% of the movies were sequels and remakes. that 8% made 65% of the box office gross that year(roughly).

        this is a business 1st, art 2nd. there is no changing that and until franchises stop making money and movies similar to others stop making money (never going to happen) we will never see the the end of this feeling of Hollywood is out of ideas. when the truth is they have ideas. We as a society just aren’t paying to see them.

    • SonOfVoorhees

      A lot of horror is studio based so their is zero soul in the movie. Gone are the days when a horror movie was made by a group of friends with a camera, £20,000,a great idea and the passion to get it done.

    • Chrissie-Watkins

      I completely agree. Remakes and sequels, plus, if something is even remotely original and done well, then it gets done TO DEATH. I’m thinking found footage, for example.

  • authorgirl74

    Biggest problem with today’s horror? IT’S NOT SCARY!! I agree with CaptainHowdee that there is a lack of imagination. However, movies that critics and audiences claim to be “the scariest movie ever” have lacked what I am seeking. I can’t remember the last time I have watched a horror movie that truly left me feeling afraid-like-needing to sleep with the lights on and leap to the bed from the doorway so I don’t get grabbed by the monster under my bed scared.

    I feel like the remakes of horror classics have also been something I have continued to be disappointed by.People claim they are scary, but I believe that’s because it’s what they are expected to say…Kids today have no creativity, so for them, even watching a movie that lacks some basic creativity seems mind-blowing.

    Someone needs to bring the scary back to horror movies.

    • feck

      amen authorgirl. For me, it’s all about the SCARY. There were a few creepy parts in Conjuring, so that was okay. But I haven’t been truly creeped out since the first PA. And that was a pretty original movie (which has since be regurgitated)

    • CaptainHowdee

      I agree! At this point I’m so desensitized to horror movies that they don’t scare me at all, but even I can tell the difference in the fear older horror movies made me feel and the complete lack of feeling modern horror makes me feel. I mean, modern horror just relies on cheap jump scares to frighten you — which is awful since it’s more like a, “Ha, you jumped!” feeling rather than actual fear.

    • When were you last scared by a movie and what age were you?
      there are plenty of movies that are scary but none that can be creative as to get to me as much as when I was a kid. because to get to what is really scary to the human psyche you would have to copy something that has already done this. are brains work a certain way. I can’t make a movie that will scare me the way nightmare on elm street did. why because that fear of sleep which is terrifying, has already been used. I can’t be afraid to go in the woods in a movie anymore because of all the cabin movies, and the last really scary movie to get me.”The Blair Witch Project” one of the best movies of 2012 was “Cabin in the Woods” but it made like no money. was it scary not really but it was creative which is something very difficult to do after over a hundred years of films and 50 years of Horror as we now know it.

  • callum_h123

    1 of the problems I find is not with the film being produced itself but the fact that the horror genre doesn’t seem to be taken seriously in the media industry. I always felt that horror movies are shunned by people because of bad-word-of-mouth. Another problem I fins is that so many horror fans bash other horror fans for liking and not liking certain horror films. People rave about The Exorcist, I personally do not like it. People hate Insidious, I love them both! I never understood why fans of a genre that is under fire by so many people, argue and hate on each other for liking different styles of horror films. Love horror movies so much and hate that they are not seen as worthy of recognition and hate that fans argue with one and other about what is better and worse. Accept that horror is such a diverse genre and love that fact that there are so many horror fans out there.

    • joeshmo447

      I wish everyone thought like you! That’s the same thing I was thinking.

      • callum_h123

        glad i’m not the only one :3

    • feck

      I find it shocking that a horror fan does not like the Exorcist. To each his own, but that remains the all time best horror movie. and one of the few that is truly frightening and unsettling. The way a horror film is supposed to make one feel

      • djblack1313

        @feck, i actually prefer THE EXORCIST III much more than i do the first film. part III is easily one of the scariest movies i’ve ever seen.

      • callum_h123

        I think The Exorcist is a well made film, brilliant effects and well acted. But it just didn’t scare me ): I was hoping it would because I heard so many good things about it and it just didn’t. I don’t know why it didn’t but it didn’t. See I find ‘Alien’ and ‘The Descent’ to be a truly unsettling and frightening film, maybe cause I am extremely claustrophobic but like you said, each to their own!

  • cid

    There’s the even more frequent problem of teen and ‘young adult-aimed’ movies getting the taste of adults and genre fans, like the awful ‘Warm bodies’.

    Found footage films still insist, and they still have a lot of space, but I guess specially 2013 marks the resurrection of narrative horror films, like ‘The conjuring’ and the follow-up to ‘Insidious’. A few characteristics of this new-age of narrative could be the rigour, the maturity and the concise directions, with little condescendence to appeal for a younger audience. Ironically, James Wan, one of the main protagonists of the dusk of torture porn years, is once again the responsible for shaping the face of horror to a narrative-driven, non-found footage style. At least in the US.

    • WineandWatch

      I actually enjoyed Warm Bodies quite a bit. I think because it was based on a YA novel, they didn’t really need to make it really gory or scary. Plus, it was a romance. I supposed I can see why you didn’t like it but I pretty much had a smile on my face the entire time while I watched it.

      • djblack1313

        @WineandWatch, i agree w/ you. i loved WARM BODIES.

        @cid, i agree that aiming/re-imagining horror movies for the PG-13 tween/young adult crowd has ruined many a movie (remakes like PROM NIGHT, THE FOG, etc) but WARM BODIES wasn’t really a horror movie. it was a romance with horror elements. i’m grateful for that movie because it was excellent.

        • cid

          Definitely, I don’t think ‘Warm bodies’ is horror, but even though, it managed to reach more than one of the Best Horror Film lists here in BD. I think this buzz and appeal, in the horror community, contributes for a blandness in horror itself, as other straight horror films were discarded for a YA romance (maybe it’s as if BD had chosen ‘Twilight’ on their Best Lists a few years ago). I also think that horror comedies, specially zombie comedies, should be taken with caution. After ‘Shaun’, there was a swarm of zombie comedies. In my perspective, zombies are a very serious theme, and that makes the act of doing a comedy (or a romance) zombie flick even more difficult. Most of the comedies – and that’s not the case of ‘Shaun’ – bets on the easy response they generate in the audience of zombie/horror fans, and pop culture aficionados in general.

          • djblack1313

            @cid, have you seen the BBC zombie show/series IN THE FLESH? it’s not a comedy at all. season 1 only has 3 eps but it did so well that an 8 ep season 2 is forthcoming. it’s excellent! that and DEAD SET are just awesome! 🙂

  • dpcraig

    I think one big part of it is a lack of understanding that “suspense” needs to be utilized and how. Especially in remaking everything that people already know when/what/where things will happen, it is lost almost entirely. What occurs is then the classic story changing to try and generate suspense, but it then fails on other levels, not in the least being how scripts aren’t given time to meet quality standards in the first place because they rush production so fast. The base problem is making movies for money only and not making them with any kind of passion besides the passion for profit. This is why indie films are more memorable the last 15 or so years. They take their time to not insult audiences out of pure passion, but they also do it because they know they may only get that one shot at proving themselves to viewers, too.

    Being a film fan, film study and indie writer/artist, it pains me how so many films fail…with all the money and supposed schooling the production teams have behind them…they still rarely get it as right as they did in my youth. I think anything of any kind of importance should be given the time to make it right the first time. That goes with anything.

    • djblack1313

      @dpcraig, excellent post! i agree w/ you.

  • Abes

    My biggest problem is music. I am not talking about OST. I am talking about sounds. Modern horrors are not trying to make some atmosphere, not a little bit. Only thing you can be sure is there will be some scare (frighten) moment wich will be accompanied with !explosion of sound! This sound will be mostly sound of oversized string instruments. This is the biggest problem for me, I know there are deeper problems related with originality of story or need to turn effort into money… BUT THIN OVERSIZED SOUND IS MY BIGGEST PROBLEM.

    • djblack1313

      @Abes, i agree! the movie HIGH TENSION used sounds/sound effects/music but not music/etc, perfectly. they were used to create palpable dread and…well, tension! 🙂

    • feck

      Insidious and Drag Me to Hell both used classic sounds in their music, and are good examples of music done well recently

    • Taboo

      I agree that the music is VERY important. Most of today’s horror films have decent music.

  • Kyle

    There’s no passion in horror anymore. The same money-making ideas are being recycled over and over again and people are going to see them because they know exactly what they’ll get. You could argue franchises like Halloween and Friday the 13th did this too, but at least they branched them out in different (albeit, sometimes poor) directions. Nobody wants to be made uncomfortable or shook up when watching a horror movie – they just want jump scares so they can tell their friends how much they screamed. I can’t wait for all the ‘ghost/demon’ stories being told in Hollywood to run thin and start losing money so that we can get someone who has an original idea to make a horror movie.

    • Abes


  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    this is an easy answer to me. it’s a lack of effort/dedication/hard work that destroys most horror movies. even the dumbest ideas can work if you put in the effort. just look at movies like Dead Silence. such a ridiculous idea but it was well executed and became a pretty entertaining movie to watch IMO. i think a lot of film makers just wanna be the next Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity and do everything on a micro budget but they end up half assing the whole thing and a lot of times, so do the actors. of course there’s always just the lack of film making knowledge too.

  • Blood-Sicles

    I’m tired of low-budget Hollywood films with cheap jump scares. Insidious 2 and the the latest Paranormal Activity films pack in about as much story and production value as a haunted house attraction. A lady with cheap white paint on her face screaming at me won’t keep me up at night.
    I will say “Afflicted” is an excellent found footage movie (with only a 300k budget?!)- But I’m ready for the return of cinematic horror. I really wanted to like The Conjuring but it looked way too cheap, and the story/acting weren’t all that great. I think the last time a movie truly terrified me was the 2009 film The Eclipse. It was almost entirely a drama with a handful of cleverly placed spine-shitter-scares. No jumps, no screams- just disturbing imagery and a brilliant score.
    But unfortunately, most people don’t want to see something new. The entertaining-as-hell You’re Next bombed at 19 million, so I’ll continue to get my horror fix at film festivals. Here’s hoping that Oculus gets a proper release (and doesn’t turn into a franchise).

  • SaltSlasher

    I don’t know what modern films anyone is talking about, but when I think of modern films, I think of a very chilling atmosphere, quality camera, quality music, and decent acting. Which is opposite of what I would say about 80’s Horror.

    The only beef I have, that is kind of two way street, is that film makers spend way to much time trying to make everything “as real as possible”, and on Lost Footage, they cram it down your throat.

    Modern Horror is always out to try and make it “real”, but everyone knows the best stories are twisted and heightened, outside regular rules of life.

    For example. A movie is 100% “real based”, everything is as it would be in real life, which I like and now expect from Modern Films, but, then later they toss in things like ghosts. The second they toss in the ghosts/demons/etc, they need to spice it up, instead they continue to try to make things even more real.

    Trying to invent stories of “fake” things, based in a modern setting, and in real life. To me, it is like seeing someone trying to re-invent the wheel, but in the end it is still a wheel, whether they went small or big.

    I am mostly targeting where they use “logic” and “science” to try and make you believe that this could have happened.

    When it comes to Modern Horror, I have to believe that the peoples lives are real, outside that, I want a roller coaster ride, to get away from daily life, which is what I got back in the day, reality never seemed to be an important factor. I don’t want to be shown how someones daily life can be effected by ghosts/killers etc., I mean that is a cool subject, but I am wondering how it got implanted into modern horror’s themes.

  • FormerHuman

    Lack of imagination, bravery, curiosity, reflection, and too much greed. There will always be good work, but as it has always been, it will always be out of the mainstream to begin with, so I will always be hopeful because people will always be responding to the world we live in with art, and horror films are a big part of that process. It just won’t look like Saw, or Friday 13th part XXVIII, or a Serbian Film, or whatever crude, stupid, insipid cash-in comes crawling out of a big or small studio next.

  • dr.lamb

    As already pointed out, there is a lack of passion to be seen.
    There is also not enough variety. I demand less Zombie movies and less torture porn and more movies about black magic, demons, Voodoo and monsters.

    • FormerHuman

      Yes, because black magic, demons, voodoo and monsters haven’t been covered in horror much before. They are just as overused as zombies, or scenes of torture. And besides, its’ not even so much about the form it takes as it is how you use it. It is still possible to have a great zombie story, or a great ghost story, because these types of stories are just frameworks for compelling stories, or at least that is what it is meant to be.

      • ImPetrified

        Honestly I think he has a point though. Zombies have been done to death*. There literally is nothing else to say with regards to that subject matter. World War Z and Warm Bodies maybe mined the last kernels of truth by turning zombies into an allegory for climate change, and feeling awkward talking to a smoking hot chick, respectively. There’s just not much more to say.

        The demons and spirts that occupy James Wan’s Conjuring films defintely peak my interest. There’s a looot of story potential that hasn’t been tapped into.

        More to your though, good writing and visual conceptualization is key to just telling a good story. It almost doesn’t matter what story you’re telling, as long as it’s well told.

        *Op! Op! You saw what I did there!

      • dr.lamb

        I absolutely agree about the thought that the execution is more important than the overall theme. You’re also right about the fact that those proposed topics have been used many times in the past. I just think that like any genre, horror is characterized by trends- a wave of zombie movies is followed by waves of ghost movies etc., or whatever. Which is fine. But at the moment, the ongoing trends (like the Zombie movie) have overstayed their welcome. The time for some different horror subgenres should have come some time ago, but Hollywood gets more and more risk-averse. From time to time, a certain subgenre needs a rest, so it can be picked up again later, because a certain distance is good for infusing new and fresh ideas into it.

        • djblack1313

          @dr.lamb, i understand where you’re coming from. isn’t the current wave demonic possession though? there seems to be tons out and tons more coming out. just wonderin’.

          • dr.lamb

            @djblack: Yeah, there are a lot of possession movies right now. But not enough movies about demons in the vein of “Hellraiser” or the anime “Wicked City”.

  • abone114

    There are lots of issues with modern horror. I think one of the main ones however is they aren’t “saying” anything. There are no lessons to be learned. Most horror films these days consist of a sequence of cheap plot points strung together in a paint by numbers way with zero thematic resonance. Horror films need to say something that we can relate to on a HUMAN level. Bring the humanism back to horror and they will be scary again.

  • LilBastardFromHell

    In some of the best horror movies you don’t really see that much, because the weirdest and craziest monsters exist in your own mind. These days, people have access to a sick amount of incredibly realistic cgi, and that ruins a ot of movies in my opinion.

    • bigbudda

      yeah, did you see Mama? horrible movie but even worse with those cgi kids and mother.. it doesnt look scary at all because i can see the lightning effects and stuff on it.. yeah for cgi it looks realistic, but as a gamer i can see the difference and so can the the rest of the viewers probably.. i also hate it when at the end they destroy the demon or creature. and he explodes with some huge cgi bang with lens flares and stuff.. it looks so cheesy.

      • authorgirl74

        Agreed. Mama would have been soo much better if they had decided not to show what she looked like. Ruined the entire movie for me!

      • sweetooth

        Actually, Mama wasn’t CG and neither were the kids. Mama’s hair was enhanced with CG, but otherwise it was a guy in makeup (same dude who played the creature at the end of REC). The kids’ real bodies were slightly thinned down by CG, but otherwise that was a physical performance you were watching.

        Personally I thought Mama was one of the best horror movies in the “ghost” genre lately precisely because it did have some actual creature effects to it.

        • sweetooth

          Just for completeness, I realize some shots were complete CG, but this was only used for a couple of the jump scares where the camera work would’ve made it impossible to do it any other way.

      • LilBastardFromHell

        No, haven’t seen it yet, i expected exactly what you’re describing. Too bad, the short movie was actually pretty creepy. The same problem with all the lighting effects was from my opinion in the thing-prequel. How are you supposed to be scared if you see all the monsters complete in the light of day…?

  • kNalledge

    Like any other genre of art (sculpture, literature, paintings, video games, etc.), film is constantly evolving due to the engagement the medium requires from audiences and the culture surrounding the relationship between filmmaker and viewer. Horror, more than any other film genre, is dependent on how deeply engaged and immersed the viewer is with the events occurring onscreen because the ultimate goal of a horror film is to incite fear, the most powerful and infectious of emotions. That being said, I don’t think there is a single problem with the genre itself; I do not claim to be an authority on horror film, but what I see is the continuation of a cycle where people become adjusted to the concepts of fear horror filmmakers attempt to capitalize upon. When audiences begin to recognize consistent motifs being utilized over multiple films, the genre as a whole suffers because the studios depend on the predictability of audiences’ reactions to said motifs or else a film will struggle to receive the necessary funding it needs in order to meet the filmmakers’ visions. The motifs are constantly changing to adjust to the culture of the time: the objectivity of camera uses in found footage films such as the Blair Witch and the Paranormal franchises; everyday household appliances being used as vehicles for murder by killers in the Ring and Scream franchises; and most currently the ironic playfulness/humor in gore utilized in popular horror flicks such as Cabin in the Woods, The World’s End, and You’re Next which mocks the traditional notions of horror and fear just as the evolution of social media mocks traditional concepts of human interaction. In my opinion, I don’t see a single thing wrong with horror films today as the genre has always appealed to a select demographic of individuals with a persuasion towards the exposure of the darker, more elemental and primitive aspects of the human psyche through the film genre. You will always have people who prefer Hitchcock over Corman, Carpenter over Craven, and Wan over Whedon. If there is a problem, it is not with “horror films” or the genre as a whole but more with the expectations horror film fanatics hold their filmmakers to in order to instill fear and administer that adrenaline rush which has kept us all so loyal to the only film genre with the ability to maintain a consistently reciprocal relationship with audiences.

  • I’m going to say the opposite of what many have stated, and blame the audience. It’s us. We’re the problem. I see plenty of passion in horror films. That’s why they’re still being made (you think “You’re Next” wasn’t a passionately made film? Or “The Conjuring?” “Stoker?” “Battery?”). I see a lack of imagination from the audience. When an original, strange, off-kilter film comes out, too many people avoid it. Why? Because it’s different. It’s too “out there” to enjoy it. It doesn’t make enough money, hence more films like it don’t get a shot, and you get stuck with your generic slasher that we all tear apart in talkback forums. Start seeking out the smaller productions and buying them On Demand, or actually buying the Blu-Ray. When the boys over at A&D put their Kickstarter campaign out for “The Harbinger” film they want to make (a film that was only going to use practical effects, something that is CONSTANTLY bitched about not being used enough by horror fans), I noticed they barely made their goal. If we truly cared, we’d have helped them raise ten times the amount they wanted. But we didn’t. We bitch and complain and whine about everything coming out being too mainstream, but we don’t support the strange, the weird, the micro-budget, the experimental enough. Until we start actually doing something about it, besides whining/arguing/complaining, nothing will be done. Start boosting sales, start calling theaters and constantly asking why a certain movie isn’t brought in, start finding and attending film festivals to show support. I have made it a must to find a theater showing Ti West’s “The Sacrament” once it hits limited theaters because I want to support a filmmaker that I really admire, and see his film on the big screen. Eventually Hollywood will listen, because as always, money talks louder anything.

    • undertaker78

      Finally someone else who gets it. I completely agree with everything you said.

    • kNalledge

      Well put.The filmmakers aren’t the only ones involved in the process; it also takes fans–a community of people supporting the genre as well as the individuals seeking to reinvent new ways to scare the shit out of us.

      • FormerHuman

        It’s a nasty combination of greedy studios, complacent film-makers and audiences with diminished expectations, all rolling under the wheels of PR and marketing machines that manage to convince consumers that they should put value in things which deserve none, namely sequel after sequel after sequel, of films that never really rocked the boat to begin with but are marketed well enough to get bums in seats at least the first time around. Hence the success of Saw, which I went to see the first time around on the strength of the trailer, but came out laughing at how bad it was.

    • ImPetrified

      Preach! Preach!

      He speaks the fuckin’ truth, brothers! (And this time I’m not being facetious!)

      The only reason Hollowood* pumps so much money into safe genre ventures is to appeal to a wider audience. Maybe it’s the studios fault for conditioning us to view mainstream dribbish as “professional” and “well made”. Maybe (probably!) it’s our own damn fault for being fuckin’ close-minded sheep.

      *Op! Op! Caught me, I did it again! Someone arrest me, I’m a repeat offender!

    • Darkness69

      Well said! I also love the fact that you’ve mentioned Harbinger!!! I can’t wait for it.

    • djblack1313

      @DB35, you bring up good points. i have to add that (for me and many people i know, at least) the economy has a lot to do with our going to the theaters as well as our openness to risk wasting (if the movie turns out to be crap) money on more original/untested movies. at least on dvd it’s only a couple of bucks i’m out if the movie is bad but to take that risk and spend a minimum of $10 ($10 and up per ticket) on a crappy movie that i can just watch on DVD 2 months from the theatrical release isn’t a risk i can afford these days.

  • bigbudda

    The utter lack of creativity! sometimes i think while watching these garbage movies that i can write a script way better than that.. jumpscares and horror cliche’s everywhere!
    Why is the girl always so afraid yet when she hears something spooky she always goes investigating and ends up dead because she always falls on the ground while being chased.. i also hate these stupid mysterious kids..they always draw big black circles.. or the family with some ghost next to it who is his ”friend” these things are just not scary anymore (if they ever were) because they have been done SO many times.. i watched the trailer for the new paranormal activity.. the one with the guy who’s looking in the mirror, and as soon as he reached for his eye i knew there was going to be a string of hair coming out.. it has been done in atleast 2 other horrors ive seen.. is it really that hard to come up with something original.. or a new genre? why is it always ghosts, demons, vampires, zombies etc… those creatures are thought up by people so why cant they invent some new ones?!

  • undertaker78

    Maybe it’s not so much the movies and just an audience that is becoming harder to please. You take a lot of the “classics” for the 1970’s/1980’s and they would be loathed today.

    Another thing to account for is the ever-growing social media. Everybody is a critic today and they’ll make sure you hear about it.

    • Taboo


  • abone114

    I have to disagree with the posts about the audience being to blame. The audience has no control over what is put into a film. The MOST important job for a film maker is to REACH that audience. It is up to them wholly and completely. If they fail to reach their audience then they have failed at making a compelling film. Simple as that.

    • abone114

      Just wanted to add that an audience will always inevitably change. The world changes constantly whether it be political hot button topics or the current state of affairs globally. There is no stopping it. It is the film maker’s responsibility to be able to evolve with those changes and know what buttons to push dramatically.

    • undertaker78

      Sometimes reaching an audience is impossible, when that very audience refuses to give the film a chance. They would rather complain about something trivial than focus on the positive aspects.

      Every generation expects something different and it’s why the genre evolves each decade. There are some truly magnificent movies that get made but do not get seen, not because the film maker has failed, but because the absent audience and lack of proper promoting.

      • abone114

        I Agree to disagree.

        • djblack1313

          @undertaker78, you are 100% correct.

          @abone114, what are you disagreeing about? you don’t think some amazing horror movie gems go unnoticed while tons and tons of sub-par blech horror movies unjustly reap rewards?

          what is there not to agree about in undertaker78’s comments?

    • dudesareawesome

      I think you’re missing the point about the audience being at least partially responsible. The point is that when a rad, well-made horror film is actually released in theaters, no one goes to see it. And then everyone flocks to see Nightmare on Elm Street being raped by Platinum Dunes. The studios are at fault for not giving a shit about art and solely focusing on money, but if enough people went out to support good modern horror films on one of the rare opportunities presented, that would make studios money and then studios would take more chances.

  • Ghoulstille

    The main issue i have is that they market these movies as utterly terrifying! when in fact they are not scary at all. Over-used video of a movie audience in Night-vision screaming and over-reacting is not gonna sell me on said movie. In all honesty none of the movies released in 2013 i have gone out of my way to see most looked so bad from the trailers i just ignored them… i guess i am just a purist and think that the 80’s was the best decade for horror.

  • Baphochrist

    ATMOSPHERE: So few modern horror films have it. Everything has to be uber fast paced and feature mtv/reality show A.D.D. editing.

    MUSIC: Again so few modern horror films feature any.You either get supposedly ambient soundtracks that are in fact just a whole lot of boring nothing or some really tired orchestrated crap. So few movies today feature memorable music.

    JUMPSCARES: I actually appreciate them from time to time but it’s getting seriously out of hand.

    FASHION MODELS FOR ACTORS: The thing I liked about horror from the 80’s and before was that it was commonplace to feature COMMON PEOPLE in horror thus we the audience could be like “dang jethro that COULD happen to me!”. I’m not saying you can’t have some of the “beautiful people” featured but goddamn seems like the entire cast of any given horror movie is comprised of Abercrombie And Fitch types.

    DULL CINEMATOGRAPHY: Everything from the look of the film to the camera work. Where’s the creativity? Where’s the unique look? Seems like every modern horror (mainstream or otherwise) uses the same post production color correcting process. They almost all look the same.

    FOUND FOOTAGE: I’ve appreciated some but they’ve more than worn out their welcome.

    REMAKES: Need to fucking stop NOW. With the exception of Maniac I can’t think of a single fuckin’ one that’s been worth a shit since the whole trend sprang up. Now this is my opinion but I think it’s fair to say that yeah some in the horror community like the random remake here and there but by and large the majority get crapped on….for good reason.

    TOO MUCH COMEDY: Most new movies spend like 70% of the time trying so hard to be cutesy or meta or anything but scary. IMO horror comedies so rarely work.

    LACK OF NEW IDEAS: Or rather lack of funding for new ideas.

    PG-13: Again just my opinion but a horror movie should almost never be PG-13. Even decent one still seem watered down to fit this demographic.

    • SonOfVoorhees

      Remakes dont make much sense to me. I remember one time in Blockbusters hearing two teens talking how amazing a certain movie was. An i just wanted bang there heads together and tell them to watch the original. lol.

      Also, with the Dawn of the Dead remake, it was ok, but why not just use the budget to make an original zombie movie. Im sure their are loads of scripts they could use.

      Agreed on the “every character is a model” comment. Movies used to have a group of people of different sizes and looks. Now even the nerd looks like a model an every one has abs etc its unrealistic and takes you out the movie abit.

      Maybe some of these new directors should put their movie synopsis on kickstarter with a demo reel. Even if this website could come up with a way to make it work so only the best idea for a movie got funded.

  • IsacTheRed

    I dont really have a problem with horror films, I think there is a wide variety of everything out there. The problem I see is about expectation, everyone is waiting for the next big film, the next big film maker to come around and show us something we have never seen before. We have seen everything, everything has been done, theres nothing really to do now that isnt already there in one shape or form. Take cabin in the Woods for example, A lot hated it, a lot loved it. It had one thing that makes a good horror film, it had expectation, everyone new what the film was about, it wasnt trying to be something that it wasnt, in my opinion delivered on that. The maniac remake, with Elijah Wood was amazing, did we know how it would end, sure, did we know what he would do in the film, to an extent yes. Did that keep it from being a great film, no way. It had an amazing performance and was directed very well. There are plenty of films out there that are amazing and truly give us what we want in a horror film, I think everyone here is more focused on the more known horror films. Should the conjuring have made as much money as it did, no way, I thought it was predictable and had a genre predictable ending. That doesn’t mean the actors did not do a good job and it wasnt directed well. Thats why it did so well at the box office, the acting and direction was good. The story was bland.

  • NSturm

    Practically everyone has said something valid. I think what we need is for someone to make a movie in a style that either no one has seen before, or that hasn’t been seen for a long time. Why not revive Expressionistic Gothic Horror with the benefit of modern technology and modern willingness to show the nasty parts?

  • ImPetrified

    The problem with modern horror (which I take to mean in the last 15 years or so)?

    There are two of them, really. :/

    Problem A) Modern horror fans, young and old alike, idolize the same set of horror flicks from the 70’s and 80’s, propping them up on a pedestal undeservedly. Sorry, Texas Chainsaw Massaucre isn’t scary; and its only moderately fun to watch. Any “modern” horror fill automatically has gigantic shoes to fill simply for being in the same genre as Halloween. They’re set up to fail by the very fans they seek to please.

    Problem B) Shit writing.

    No, really, it’s as simple as that.

    “Hey know what would be a GREAT plot reveal!? In a movie about sexual assault and STD’s, let’s have the protagonist’s best friend admit to selling ruffies AT A PARTY to shady-looking guy, and then play off the scene like it’s FUNNY! Oh! And let’s make him FAT too! Fat people are funnier!” Co-writer: “You’re a GENIUS, PUT THAT IN THE SCRIPT NAO!!”

  • HorrorFancy

    There are good and poor examples of any decade — as long as Horror builds upon the past instead of repeating it, something really good will eventually jump out from underneath the bed.

    Personally, I would welcome less monster show and more unknown tension in general.

  • Damienthorn

    The biggest problem of modern Horror is……….


    We have every kind, every budget, every country. All at ours fingers tips.

    Long live horror!

  • XrabbitX

    My biggest problem with horror is American studios are afraid to take risks. Everything inventive is coming from overseas or independent filmmakers.

    My only other problem is that I feel like there is room in horror for more films with a lot more intellectual depth. It’s such a malleable genre that I think filmmakers could be doing a lot more with it.

  • Optiluiz

    The problem isn’t with horror, but movies in general. Studios don’t take risks anymore. If something new works, they milk it do death and then remake something else. And it’s getting harder and harder to scare the newer generations. Found footage can be good, but they’re mostly making it because it’s cheaper, and most new horror movies are just homages and nods to older, better ones that they already know we like. No risks, no new ideas, the movies become stale.

  • MadMac

    What I think they are missing for the most part these days is character development. Don’t give me ” If I want character development, don’t look to horror bs”! The scariest movies of all time are steeped in it. You have to really feel for these people your watching or who gives a shit what happens to them? I want to laugh with the characters then I want to actually feel something when they are fighting for there lives. When Damien Karras found his faith in time to combat the forces of hell and give his life to save a little girl we sat on the edge of our seat because we really cared about all involved. Even the meanest cuss to captain a ship Quint gave you enough into his background to make your butthole tighten when he was trying to kick away from that GD mechanical shark. The Conjuring worked for the same reason. But now its overlooked a lot. Remakes can be great if they have something new and different to add example: Evil Dead, Last House, The Crazies, Fright Night, Dawn Of The Dead. All had great characters.

  • diapers

    I have ZERO PROBLEMS with modern horror. It is as diverse as it ever was, there is something for everyone. 2013 was as good as any year since my young mind was blown by F13 on VHS in the early 80’s. Sure, there is shit I like less than others, but there is more than enough to go around. Especially my favorite cranny of the genre, good old fashioned SLASHERS. Fuck it!

  • lucscs100

    The biggest problem, for me, are the own horror fans. We (yes, we) settle for something they can’t deliver. We idolize horror films from the 70’s and the 80’s like there is no way a film can be that way anymore. We bitch about things that have always been used in the genre, even in the films we love. We bitch about CGI, but the main reason horror films didn’t use them in the 70’s was because they didn’t have access to it. Example? Poltergeist, it uses as much CG as most horror films nowadays. We complain about “torture porn”, but I don’t see a reason for the extreme gore effects used in films life Friday the 13th. the fact is that we don’t want something different, we want something like the films we are told to love. Proof? The Conjuring seems to be loved by most horror fans this year, and what was the main reason given for the love? It throws back to older horror films. So, I see hundreds of fans asking for something original and then bashing Insidious for being too different. It’s a joke!

    • Kwonkicker


    • dr.lamb

      Some truth there.

    • Mr.Mirage

      *cue: Handel’s Messiah*
      There it is. I would like to add, then: the critical community for laying down on the job. Subtext exists, and the critics seem to not understand that. God, bring me the soul of Pauline Kael….

    • djblack1313

      @lucscs100, INSIDIOUS was different? i somewhat enjoyed the movie but there wasn’t very much in that movie that was original or different. just sayin’.

      and regarding CGI, yes, back in the 70’s/80’s they didn’t have CGI like they do today but that just meant that the FX masters used their talents to create these monsters/etc. would you really prefer the Queen alien in ALIENS to be CGI over brilliant Stan Winston’s 99% practical fx masterpiece?

      THE THING 2011 would have actually been a good movie had they not fucked everything up with atrocious CGI. so regarding us horror fans wanting something they can’t deliver…yes, they CAN deliver a good movie (to most people). if they can make good movies (with good fx, whether CGI or practical) since they started making films way back then, then there is no reason why they can’t make at least a better ratio of good to bad movies.

      • lucscs100

        I understand you don’t like Insidious, but yes, I do believe it was different. The movie was going slow and setting up as a slow burn thriller until BAM, it changed completely and became unexpected and, in a way, “original”. Not that I think it’s a perfect film – it has many flaws – but people keep saying the problem with it was that the film was too “crazy” and they wanted the serious atmosphere of the beggining.

        I am not saying I would prefer or not, it’s just that, if the Queen Alien could’ve been done all in CG using the technology they had, it probably would’ve. Why do I think that? For the simple fact that the alien contained in Prometheus, – which is from Ridley Scott himself – was CG.

        The Thing was CGI’d simply because it’s cheaper and easier, so yes, that’s really an example at your favour.

        No, they can’t deliver, I’m sorry. Every single film that comes out now has a wave of people complaining about for many reasons. People bitch about it not being original, about it being “torture porn”, about it having too many jump scares, being a remake, trying too hard, not having development enough, being too slow, too humorous, not humorous at all, trying too little, being too fast, too pretentious, too overrated, overhyped, and there we go forever and ever.

        Regarding originality, people need to understand there isn’t such thing as original, and that every piece comes from past pieces and using past elements is a part of art itself.

        • djblack1313

          @lucas100, i never said i didn’t like INSIDIOUS. and people have been bitching about movies since the first movie was ever made (i’m sure). lol. there’s never going to be a movie that EVERY SINGLE PERSON loves. the reason why you/we are aware of all these different opinions is because of the internet. everyone has a voice now and often times it’s a vocal minority (in some cases) that dislikes/bitches about a movie whereas those who are happy with said movie don’t necessarily voice their views.

          • lucscs100

            You did, you have said many times that you liked the serious tone of the first half and disliked the crazy second half.

            I understand and know that people have always complained about films, and there’s no such thing as a film everyone loves. Although, it is clear that there has been an enormous amount of hate towards every single horror film coming out now, among both horror fans and regular movie fans. And the reasons given for the hate are pretty much the same (the ones I listed above, for example).

  • Daniel

    Found footage is a stupid gimmick. The Blair Witch Project did it best, and that was more than a decade ago. Please stop doing it/supporting it.

    The anthology movies we’ve seen have been stupid as well. I had high hopes for V/H/S, but it sucked. V/H/S/2 and ABCs were even worse. These anthologies are not real horror, they are little jokes or gags to get viewers to smile, with enough sex and gore to make them feel edgy. Real horror evokes dread.

    Horror fans need to stop accepting garbage. In my opinion, horror is the most money-driven genre. Crap movies are churned out to audiences that accept them just because they have “sweet kills.”

    On the bright side, there is a lot of talent in the horror movie making business. We have Ti West, Adam Wingard, J.T. Petty, Ben Wheatley, Mike Flanagan, and many more. These guys have all proven themselves, and I have no doubt they will continue to make great movies.

    There were very few good horror movies released in 2013. It was a bad year for the genre.

  • MrGrimm

    Modern horror relies too much on cheap gimmicks like found footage and jump scares. Found footage just needs to die out, it’s been done to death and rarely any found footage films are even worth watching they’re just cheap to make and for some reason people flock to see them so they make a profit and that’s why Paranormal Activity 5 is coming out. I would like to see a return to slower more suspenseful horror movies. Look at a lot of classics like Psycho and The Shining they’re not in your face horror and they don’t rely on cheap tricks they are slow suspenseful movies that build up terror in the viewer. Now I don’t have a problem with in your face horror, I love ridiculously over the top horror and wouldn’t mind seeing more of that. I thought the Evil Dead remake while obviously isn’t as good as the originals was a really fun movie to watch and Dead Snow is one of my favorite movies (btw if you haven’t seen Dead Snow do yourself a favor and watch it.) Another problem alot of movies have now is they lack fun. Everything is all dark and serious and movies forget to have fun. Im gonna talk about the Evil Dead remake again because it’s not a light hearted romp, it’s a dark movie but at the same time it’s an extremely fun movie. So there’s my 2 requests for modern horror return to suspensful film making and return the fun to horror (not in the same movie unless you can make it work)

    • djblack1313

      @MrGrimm, i agree w/ you 100%. 🙂

  • 1. Jump Scares- Somewhere else, I read an article about finding the “Next Horror Icon,” and in the comments section, someone wrote this (paraphrasing): “The Next horror icon? We already have one! It’s the jump scare!!!”

    Sad, but true in a lot of ways if you think about it. It’s one of the main reasons why Paranormal Activity is dogshit, because they CONSTANTLY rely on jump scares.

    Jump scare patterns now a days are so easy to telegraph (stealing this from djblack in another post. sorry, dj. lol):


    After a while, it’s just repetitive, tedious, and annoying as shit. And the stupid mirror jump scare is the worst one:

    **Protagonist looks in mirror, nothing**

    **Protagonist opens mirror, or bends down to pick something up**

    **Protagonist closes mirror, or they stand up again, and surprise! Someone, usually a ghost, vision, or some shit, is standing behind them**

    2. Too many Found-footage films

    Enough already. The horror genre is over-saturated with too many fucking found-footage films, and 90% of them are shit.

    3. Too many unnecessary sequels & spin-offs

    I died a little bit inside, when I logged on here one day to read the news about The Conjuring spin-offs and Insidious 3. The Conjuring and Insidious is taking the Saw path.

    So many of us praised the originals, but I can guarantee you, when 2018 or 2019 roll around, and we’re on Insidious 4,5, or The Conjuring 3 or 4 (I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t happen), and the spin-offs, we’ll all be bitching and begging for both series to die, because they’ll be way past the expiration date with shitty films.

    Two or three films MAXIMUM is enough for any horror franchise. We don’t need an endless barrage of money-grabbing sequels and spin-offs.

    • Kwonkicker

      Every horror film uses jump scares. Every. Single. One. Without question. Yes there are numerous ways to scare an audience but be real: The number one way to get someone to jump out their seat, shouting bloody murder is to have some shit blow up in their face on the screen.

      As for endless sequels: My only issue with endless sequels is that you can only drag the story on but for so long. Not because it gets less entertaining or anything necessarily, but you have to end it at one point.

      But even on that end all of us have binged on every single Halloween, every Saw, every Friday the 13th etc. Yeah people will complain, but we’ll all be lined up there to see it.

      • “but be real: The number one way to get someone to jump out their seat, shouting bloody murder is to have some shit blow up in their face on the screen.”

        Yep. Realism is crucial for a true jump scare. It’s kind of hard to be caught off guard, when you KNOW something is coming, and being in a theater full of people makes it worse. Either a lot of people start yelling and screaming at once before the “jump scare”, so they spoil it. Or everyone in the theater is quiet to the point where you could hear a pen drop, because again, everyone knows what’s coming.

        As far as the sequels go, yeah, we’re all gluttons for punishment, and I’m including myself. lol. I promised myself I would stop after Saw 4, but I went to theaters to watch 5,6, and 7. I dunno. I just wish they wouldn’t ruin a good thing for another easy profit. I was hoping Insidious would be a one and done deal, and I didn’t have a problem with Chapter 2. To clarify , I didn’t have a problem with one sequel, because you could say they needed to tie up some loose ends for the cliffhanger. The movie itself? I thought it was shit. And now they’re going to beat the dead horse with 3.

      • djblack1313

        Kwonkickder, no one is saying that a jump scare here and there IN A MOVIE THAT HAS ALREADY ESTABLISHED DREAD/UNEASE/ATMOSPHERE/etc isn’t worthy but when jump scares (most of them are lazy, cheap. it takes no talent to jump scare someone. none) are the only thing going for said movie and it’s the sole objective by the film’s makers, it is doing a huge disservice to the genre.

    • djblack1313

      Zombie-Killa, YES! YES! YES! YES!! i agree w/ you WORD.FOR.WORD!

      • Thanks!!!! 🙂 After all, I used your formula to explain lame jump scares! lol.

        • djblack1313

          @Zombie-Killa, LOL!! i thought that

          “nothing…nothing…nothing….BAM!” thing looked familiar! LOL. 🙂

  • ThunderDragoon

    Not enough originality, plot, character development, and suspense. And there are too many jump scares. Look at The Exorcist, a movie I believe is the scariest of all time. The thing that made it so scary was the realness of the characters and how they were developed so slowly and smoothly throughout the whole film. It was the innocence of this young girl being slowly torn away and it was terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies that are relentless and in your face all the time too, but my favorites are the slow burn, chipping away at your sanity types of films. Those really get, and stay, under your skin.

    • Chrissie-Watkins

      I agree, but that takes a lot more work than “A bunch of sexy College kids on vacation find themselves tortured in the most brutal way possible for some reason that we’ll think of after we film the torture scenes”.

  • Joe Mama

    Everyone here has some excellent points. The main of which is the lack of ideas.

    A problem I would like to add is that trailers give away way too much of the movies these days, so you know what to expect and they tell way too much of the story.

    But like the music industry, good music is not dead. You just have to know where to look!

    There have been a lot of great horror movies in these modern times. There are modern horror movies that I’ve seen in the past 5 years that rank up there with the best I’ve ever seen. Cabin In The Woods was great! Drag Me To Hell was excellent. I was blown away by The Dead (and am looking forward to the Dead 2).

    Going back a little further, the Ring (US version; not the crappy Japanese version) was great. As was Hostel, Shaun Of The Dead, and the 28 Days/Weeks Later movies.

  • viking1983

    the fact that hollywood likes to take something roiginal and then make a franchise out of it thus ruining the effect of the original (saw, hostel, insidious, paranormal activity) also the fact that a lot of low budget horror film makers get turned away by the industry, and that shock value has turned just completely into making film disgusting with no actual plot (human centipede), really terrible hollywood budget meta films (cabin in the woods) and americans being too lazy to read subtitles so they make poor remakes (ring, quarantine) I am just thankful that aja alexandre seems to have his head screwed on and is the king of modern horror and remakes

    • undertaker78

      Did you just call The Ring a “poor remake”? Seriously! I’m guessing there is no such Thing (hint hint) as a good remake in your opinion.

    • djblack1313

      @viking1983, please don’t blanket statement all of us Americans. many of us love foreign films and have no problem or issue reading subtitles. 🙂

  • dr.lamb

    It also needs more cowbell. You gonna want that cowbell, belive me !

  • SonOfVoorhees

    Regarding your comment on Mandy Lane, i saw it in Londons Fright Fest back in 2007. No one had heard of it and the overall opinion after its screening was that its a crappy generic slasher movie.

    Horror films in general seem focused on the teen market these days, its where the money is. I dont expect them to be scary, as its difficult to scare a person who has been watching horror for 28 years. But i do expect a bit of originality and good script writing and not cookie cutter movies. Even old day slashers had something different between them. Now its just copying what was successful to make money.

    CGI, is the biggest mistake for modern horror. Amount of movies with CGI blood that looks awful. Is it really that expensive to just squirt fake blood across the set?

    Found footage filming style, the idea of found footage is good. But i think its both over used and not used properly in any meaningful way. I think people just use it to make their movie cheaper and hide everything with lots of shaking.

    Originality is the main issue. You can use a similar directing style or generic plot (like slasher with shaky cam) but add your own unique spin to it. Instead of a ghost in a house, how about filing it on your way home and the ghost is stalking you through the dark streets.

    • dr.lamb

      Agreed to your last point: Why has every subsubgenre to be played out in the same way ? Every movie about possession tries to emulate “The Exorcist”. That was a great film, but its dramaturgy is limited. I am sure one could do a movie about possession without resorting to the same stylistic means all the time.

    • dudesareawesome

      Yeah, and Mandy Lane has been torrentable for years. It’s really not very good and the praise heaped on it is weird.

  • Mr.Mirage

    With respect to all, malice to none, I just Ctrl (end) and started this. While I love the found footage film, the fact is that so few films of this nature use the notion itself for something far more interesting. IMHO the best remains Diary Of The Dead, it being a constant and growing use of found resource footage and in so doing opens the film a little more every time. That said, most ff films are poorly done mockumentaries. In DotD, closer to the mockumentary than ff, it starts as a heavily edited video diary, so by definition, the footage is not found. The reason I love it so is because horror IMHO is best served raw, close to the bone. Making them fast and cheap serves the genre by offering so much, and allowing us as audience to weed out the merely interesting and find something wonderful…

  • djblack1313

    Evan, please tell me instead of…

    “besides the fact that the next Friday The 13th WILL be found footage”

    you meant…

    “besides the fact that the next Friday The 13th MAY be found footage”.


    • djblack1313

      my biggest complaint i have with horror these days is the lack of genuinely scary/spooky/creepy atmosphere. i didn’t love the movie but THE WOMAN IN BLACK did have excellent atmosphere and really gave a rich, spooky-ish feeling about it. my all time favorite horror movie 1980’s THE CHANGELING has incredible, palpable atmosphere (along with an awesome cast, awesome score, etc) that still to this day whenever i watch the movie often tends to have me turn the lights on at some point. lol.

      the other and bigger complaint i have is the god awful PARANORMAL ACTIVITY type lazy, cheap jump scares that now constitutes what horror movies are (to many many people). yes, jump scares make one….JUMP but it takes NO talent to create them and it bums me out that it’s now (not with every movie, of course) what too many people expect and want out of their horror movies. a jump scare here and there in a movie that has already established good atmosphere/tone/dread/etc is fine but using jump scares as the main objective (again, like the PA movies and their ilk) have done a huge disservice to horror movies (that and their “found footage” formats AND 3D. 3D is one of the worst things to happen to horror films).

      • undertaker78

        I couldn’t agree more that 3D is one of the worst things to happen. I wouldn’t care so much if the theaters gave you the option to watch 2D or 3D 100% of the time but we all know that is not the case.

        Jump scares can work if done sparingly but I agree that this is an extremely overused effect. I suppose it’s done so often today because this generation likes that (I sound old and am only 31).

        • tbaio

          Guys, I’m on the fence about 3-D. When you watch a movie shot in native 3-D, especially a horror movie, its a blast. Friday the 13th part 3 for example was so much fun when it came out & is still a great watch today in 3-D. Give this one a shot as well as the last 2 Final Destination movies…….kick ass!! 3-D, in my opinion fails when its presented as a post-conversion; its just not as fun or worth the extra ticket price. In these cases I can fully understand the disappointment.

  • sawfan3

    As many other people have stated the problem starts with the audience. From what I have seen from my experience, there is no respect for the genre. I get called weird for loving horror movies, maybe it’s just me. The mainstream audience is too busy paying money to see the famous actors/directors they like or sequels/remakes. That doesn’t leave much room for that awesome horror movie you’ve really been wanting to see to make it to the theater. Horror gets the same treatment as every other genre: famous people = money, special effects = money. Filmmakers cater to this and have no problem as long as they’re making money. That’s why independent filmmakers exist. Someone has to make the movies that a big studio wouldn’t dare take a risk with and I am so thankful for them. I think now more than ever it’s up to us to spread word of mouth and to get people to see these movies that the mainstream has “never heard of.”

    • Chrissie-Watkins

      The last time I told someone I love horror films, they replied “You mean like Twilight?”. This was not a teenager. Disturbing.

  • lhcameron

    Honestly? I think we need a new Icon for horror. Going back to slashers. The Collector tried but didn’t stick well enough, the Hatchet series is great but Victor Crowley isn’t scary enough. We need a new age Jason/Freddy/Michael and i guarantee it will give the horror franchise that kick it needs

  • tbaio

    I honestly do not believe that there is one definitive answer to the question that the title of this post asks. Ironically, one of the “problems” with the genre is the very thing that helps it succeed: the audience. None of these bad movies would be made if there was no audience to pay to see them, either at the theater or DTV. I understand that this is strictly a matter of opinion, but I really believe movies such as Saw, V/H/S, & anything Eli Roth or Ti West put together would have been labeled as bad movies 25 – 30 years ago. Now, these same films have sequels made of them. People’s taste in what is regarded as good horror is not the same… all. Another example: How does Twilight redefine the vampire & werewolf myths (as many articles stated)? Its a different ballgame. Who knows? 15 – 20 years from now, it may go back to what was considered good horror back when I started watching the genre. Its no different than any other trend.

  • djblack1313

    (sorry about the repost)…i have to add that (for me and many people i know, at least) the economy has a lot to do with our going to the theaters as well as our openness to risk wasting (if the movie turns out to be crap) money on more original/untested movies. at least on dvd it’s only a couple of bucks i’m out if the movie is bad but to take that risk and spend a minimum of $10 ($10 and up per ticket) on a crappy movie that i can just watch on DVD 2 months from the theatrical release isn’t a risk i can afford these days.

  • Jack

    More than likely, I want to watch a horror movie that scares me. I like being scared. It makes me feel human. Sometimes I feel like watching a horror movie that takes me on a left turn towards crazy town that I never saw coming.

    Horror nowadays just feels all the same. I’ve very rarely been scared of horror movie lately. I have watched a few that made me have to think about what I just saw. I still believe that horror genre can finally get it’s shit together eventually.

  • itsnickkarcher

    Like many of the users said on here, my main problem is lack of creativity. Ever since the original PA became a hit in 2009, all that Hollywood has been churning out is ghost/demon stories. Don’t get me wrong, I loved PA (as well as PA3 and TMO), The Conjuring, and Insidious but it’s getting quite old. The poor box office receipts for PA4 show that general audiences think that as well, as does the disappointing opening for PA:TMO. The Conjuring was genuinely scary to me and got great reviews from critics and audiences alike, so that was obviously the exception but even Insidious 2, I seriously doubt without the Friday the 13th date it would’ve opened nearly as big.
    I’ve always liked slashers more than paranormal stuff cause for some reason I think the idea that anyone of us could just snap with a knife in hand is scarier than a ghost. That last good slasher we got was “You’re Next”. The only thing I can remember before that is the 2009 remake of “Sorority Row”, I know a lot of you guys hated that but I just loved how fun it was with humor, bitchy characters and gore.

    I’m honestly just waiting for the ghost/demon stories to have run dry and stop turning profits so we can see what the next “Scream” will be.

  • itsnickkarcher

    Forgot to mention “Scream 4”, which was a fun slasher but also flopped at the box office along with “You’re Next” and “Sorority Row”.

  • Chrissie-Watkins

    Too much hype, all the money is spent on marketing and special effects. I haven’t seen a mainstream horror film in years where I actually cared what happened to any of the characters. Seems like in the past few years, its all been about who can think of the most disgusting way for someone to get killed, now let’s hastily build an entire 90 minute movie around that scene.

  • Stine25

    After reading this entire thread I feel like there are quite a few points to make. One of my biggest issues I frequently face is, honestly the fans. Horror has always been my passion, and this includes any and all revolving it. What I find more often than not, is this elitist mentality when I encounter other fans. I’m always hearing people bashing one another and in a sense comparing dicks when it comes to films. It’s incredibly frustrating to have a conversation with a person who blatantly disregards your opinion because they believe they are the ultimate all know-er of everything horror.With that said this bleeds into another point, like a good majority have pointed out, it’s the audience. With social networking and Netflix, everyone believes they are a critic. Once “bad” word of mouth goes around about a film now days, its doomed. At this point it doesn’t matter if the movie isn’t as bad as it was being let off, people are already going in with the preconceived notion it’s going to suck. Sometimes that’s hard to get passed no matter how great the film really is. Another really bothersome point is I feel that, sorry to be frank, but this generation is downright stupid. I say this because I’ve seen it happen all too many times. I go into a theater, see a FANTASTIC film, and EVERYONE is saying it sucks. When asked why its plain as day to see the film went right up and over their heads. I found this evident with Cabin in the Woods and You’re Next. My last comment has to do with the franchise. I am nearly sick to death of hearing people belittle sequels. While some yes, are atrocious, but what I don’t understand is HOW AND WHY most sit there and place films such as Friday the 13th franchise and Nightmare on Elm Street franchise on such huge pedestals when they have followed the same formula. Some of those are so hard to watch it’s ridiculous but dare anyone say they are not fantastic and the fan boys/girls start coming at you with a knife. All that is going now is EXACTLY what happened in the past with horror. It’s being dragged out because there is a following of people and it makes money. If anything all these sequels will be hilarious to watch 20 years down the line. I’m sure people in the past hated some of the sequels as much as we do but now watch them and see a chunk of the past and smile at it. I really think people need to stop pigeon-holding horror. Enjoy it for what it is. It goes through phases much like all other things. Watch anything and everything and formulate your own opinion. If it wasn’t your cup of tea, move on the the next. I guarantee if given the chance everyone will find that modern horror movie they just can’t get enough of.It just takes time and a lot of digging to find that gem. And I don’t know about you all but the hunt makes it that much more fun!

  • Brandon Richard

    One of the biggest problems in my opinion is no emphasis on atmosphere. I also couldn’t disagree more with the notion that there’s too much seriousness in horror;way too many horror movies now have pitiful tone-killing attempts at humor that don’t belong in the genre anyway. Humor in horror is an asinine concept if you ask me.

    I would say the biggest problem is gore. Way too much emphasis on it. Having a bloody death or injury doesn’t make a movie horror yet I can think of countless movies that have somehow been defined as horror for no other reason. At least classic slasher flicks had bizarre characters like Leatherface or a supernatural element to the story like A Nightmare on Elm Street. Now all you have to do is have your villain wear a goddamn bunny mask and you’re good to go. It’s just fucking lazy.

    Come up with some gory death scenes and write a half ass story around them and it can pass as horror nowadays. Then So called genre fans who bitch about the state of horror will give a movie a thumbs up because of a “sick gory death scene.” Baghdad ER is extremely gory and hard to watch, so does that make it horror? Hell no.

  • weeredghost

    Horror films are, and always will be a hit or miss with audiences. I was disappointed when I learned that the new Friday the 13th movie will be a found footage film. I think that’s getting a little played out, but I’m sure I’ll still go see it because I’m a fan of the franchise.
    There are quite a few that I’m looking forward to in 2014, namely “Godzilla”, Devils Due” and “The Human Centipede 3”.

  • Evan3

    My biggest problem is that horror film characters, specifically the killers, have no personality.

    When you look at the truly great horror films – The Omen, Halloween, The Thing, NOES, Exorcist, etc. etc. – the films do a great job of not just investing you in the heroes/victims (flaws and all), but each and every one infused the killer with either incredibly memorable mannerisms (i.e., Michael Myers’ head cock, the horrific fluidity of The Thing’s physical changes) or made them interesting in their enjoyment of being evil (i.e. Pazuzu in the Exorcist or Damien in Omen). Samara from the Ring… and maybe the bizarre demon from Insidious, were the last great horror antagonists – combining unique looks with interesting motives.

    This is totally lacking in modern horror:

    For example, I truly enjoyed Evil Dead and You’re Next this year. But let’s be honest, the reboot deadites lacked any soul. They were joyless and unmemorable, unleashing profanities that were meant to shock the audience. They simply didn’t compare to Raimi’s creations. You’re Next gave us an all-time great “final girl,” but completely worthless killers (and the girlfriend’s attempt to have sex on the mom’s corpse was again, pure shock tactic).

    Horror is driven more by a great villain than anything else. Let’s bring them back.

    • morehorror4me

      You know, I had so many thoughts about this but i think you hit it on the nail and is the reason why I haven’t been so entertained by horror films lately. I’m missing the unique villain, the memorable “evil”. Thanks.

  • DisturBing

    I think a lot of audiences today are impatient, so modern horror movies try to fit in too many scares too quickly without paying attention to plot and character development. My favorite movie from this year was The Conjuring because it had an interesting (if not all that original) storyline and great characters, but it still maintained a good pace, so it was able to appeal to a lot of different viewers.

  • I feel that Horror’s biggest problem (as well as entertainment as a whole) is lack of ingenuity. Whenever talk of “the greatest of all time” or the “top horror movies” comes up, I’m never surprised how the classics are the go-to selections while contemporary offerings are few and far between on these lists. That’s because modern offerings are paltry contributions at best. There’s a reason why the classics are still remembered and it isn’t nostalgia. It is because while John Carpenter’s The Thing and Alien last the test of time, today’s Scary Movies barely make a splash in the shallow end of the pool. What further undercuts the genre as a whole is the exhaustive overreliance on gimmicks and cash-ins. Para-boredom Found Footage isn’t even a genre, Torture Porn burned itself out to a hilarious degree, the Remake safe bet isn’t paying off (let alone contributing anything), and Zombies are so played out it isn’t even funny, or scary for that matter.
    Horror should be the proving ground for innovative and experimental ideas not the test bed for the latest trendy publicity stunt that the Hollywood system wants to force feed us. 3D was being tinkered with on “My Bloody Valentine” and “The Final Destination” before James Cameron misled Tinsel Town into investing billions of dollars into that parlor trick.
    I want to see Horror break new ground, show us something we haven’t seen before, show some creativity, swerve the audience, deliver a great premise, and for God’s sakes give us some interesting characters and good actors who can play them.
    Another issue and to me, this is a particularly dangerous one because of the simple fact that it represents the penalty for originality. The creative vacuum that modern Horror finds itself can be laid at the feet of studio heads and even directors in service of the almighty quick buck. However, the punishment for actually managing to forge something pioneering is the indignity of watching other greedy/lazy impostors rip-off your hard work. Case and point, to date there are three film studios working overtime to copy the “Avengers” formula with their superhero properties. How in Sony’s most gluttonous fantasies do they think they’re going to squeeze out a superhero team-up based solely on the Spiderman supporting cast? I know this is Horror but you get the point. At the close of last year IGN posted an article speaking to how zombies are dead and Lovecraft should replace it as “the new shiny thing.” Are you f#cking kidding me? I stated my case for how awful and idea this is citing my previous example regarding the Avengers. I love the Cthulhu Mythos and it has influenced my own writing. I would like to see it be treated with the respect it deserves and offered the exposure it needs. Nevertheless, what would stop tightfisted suits from milking it and mishandling it the way Zombies have been exploited over the last decade? If that’s what we would have to look forward to with Lovecraft then it’d best be served in the shadows then.
    To reiterate (1) lack of creativity and (2) the overreliance on gimmicks and cheap thrills (3) and the bandwagon effect of fads are my biggest problems with Horror.

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