Horror film

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Horror films are a movie genre seeking to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus they may overlap with the fantasy and supernatural genre. Horrors frequently overlap with the thriller genre.[1]

Horror films deal with the viewer's nightmares, hidden worst fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Although a good deal of it is about the supernatural, if some films contain a plot about morbidity, serial killers, a disease/virus outbreak and surrealism, they may be termed "horror".[1]

Plots written within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage, commonly of supernatural origin, into the everyday world. Themes or elements often prevalent in typical horror films include ghosts, torture, gore, werewolves, ancient curses, satanism, demons, vicious animals, vampires, cannibals, haunted houses, zombies and serial killers. Conversely, stories of the supernatural are not necessarily always a horror movie as well.[2]

Early horror movies are largely based on nineteenth-century literature of the gothic genre, such as Universal's Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (also 1931), and the term "horror movie" first appears in the writings of critics and film industry commentators in response to their release,[3] but the term has since been applied retrospectively to similar films from the entire silent period.

[edit] 1890s–1920s
See also: List of horror films of the 1890s, List of horror films of the 1900s, List of horror films of the 1910s, and List of horror films of the 1920s
Lon Chaney, Sr. in The Phantom of the Opera

The first depictions of supernatural events appear in several of the silent shorts created by the film pioneer Georges Méliès in the late 1890s, the best known being Le Manoir du diable (aka, The Haunted Castle, 1896) which is sometimes credited as being the first horror film.[4] Another of his horror projects was 1898's La Caverne maudite (aka, The Cave of the Unholy One, literally "the accursed cave").[4] Japan made early forays into the horror genre with Bake Jizo and Shinin no Sosei, both made in 1898.[5] In 1910, Edison Studios produced the first film version of Frankenstein, which was thought lost for many years.[6]

In the early 20th century, the first monster appeared in a horror film, Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre-Dame who had appeared in Victor Hugo's novel, Notre-Dame de Paris (1831). Films featuring Quasimodo included Alice Guy's Esmeralda (1906), The Hunchback (1909), The Love of a Hunchback (1910) and Notre-Dame de Paris (1911).[7]

German Expressionist film makers, during the Weimar Republic era and slightly earlier, would significantly influence later films, not only those in the horror genre. Paul Wegener's The Golem (1920) and Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (also 1920) had a particular impact. The first vampire-themed movie was made during this time: F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922), an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula.[8]

Hollywood dramas used horror themes, including versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Monster (1925) both starring Lon Chaney, the first American horror movie star. Other films of the 1920s include Dr. Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1920), The Phantom Carriage (Sweden, 1920), The Lost World (1925), The Phantom Of The Opera (1925), Waxworks (Germany 1924), and Tod Browning's (lost) London After Midnight (1927) with Chaney.
[edit] 1930s–1940s
See also: List of horror films of the 1930s, List of horror films of the 1940s, and Universal Monsters
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster
in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

During the early period of talking pictures, the American Movie studio Universal Pictures began a successful Gothic horror film series. Tod Browning's Dracula (1931), with Bela Lugosi, was quickly followed by James Whale's Frankenstein (also 1931). Some of these blended science fiction films with Gothic horror, such as The Invisible Man (1933) and, mirroring the earlier German films, featured a mad scientist. These films, while designed to thrill, also incorporated more serious elements. Frankenstein was the first in a series which lasted for many years, although Karloff only featured as the monster in Bride of Frankenstein (1935), again directed by Whale, and Son of Frankenstein (1939). The Mummy (1932) introduced Egyptology as a theme for the genre. Make-up artist Jack Pierce was responsible for the iconic image of the monster, and others in the series. Universal's horror cycle continued into the 1940s, these included The Wolf Man (1941), not the first werewolf film, but certainly the most influential, as well as a number of films uniting several of their monsters.

Other studios followed Universal's lead. Tod Browning made the once controversial Freaks (1932) for MGM, based on "Spurs", a short story by Ted Robbins, about a band of circus freaks. The studio disowned the completed film after cutting about 30 minutes; it was unreleased in the United Kingdom for thirty years.[9] Rouben Mamoulian's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931), remembered for its use of color filters to create Jekyll's transformation before the camera,[10] Michael Curtiz's Mystery of the Wax Museum (Warner Brothers, 1933), and Island of Lost Souls (Paramount, 1933) were all important horror films.

By now, some actors were beginning to build entire careers in such films, most especially Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Karloff appeared in three of producer Val Lewton's atmospheric B-pictures for RKO Pictures in the mid-1940s, including The Body Snatcher (1945), which also featured Lugosi. The titles of these films were often imposed on Lewton by the studio, but Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie (1943) rise above this limitation.
[edit] 1950s–1960s
See also: List of horror films of the 1950s and List of horror films of the 1960s

With advances in technology, the tone of horror films shifted from the gothic towards contemporary concerns. Two sub-genres began to emerge: the horror-of-armageddon film and the horror-of-the-demonic film.[11]

A stream of usually low-budget productions featured humanity overcoming threats from 'outside': alien invasions and deadly mutations to people, plants, and insects. In the case of some horror films from Japan, such as Godzilla (1954) and its sequels, mutation from the effects of nuclear radiation.

The Hollywood directors and producers sometimes found ample opportunity for audience exploitation, with gimmicks such as 3-D and "Percepto" (producer William Castle's pseudo-electric-shock technique used for The Tingler, 1959). Some horror films during this period, such as The Thing from Another World (1951) and Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), managed to channel the paranoia of the Cold War into atmospheric creepiness, .

Filmmakers continued to merge elements of science fiction and horror over the following decades. A "pulp masterpiece"[12] of the era was The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), from Richard Matheson's existentialist novel. While more of a science-fiction story, the film conveyed the fears of living in the Atomic Age and the terror of social alienation.

During the later 1950s, Great Britain emerged as a producer of horror films. Peeping Tom (1960), directed by Michael Powell, concerns a serial killer who combines his profession as a photographer with the moments before murdering his victims. The Hammer company focused on the genre for the first time, enjoying huge international success from films involving classic horror characters which were shown in color for the first time. Often starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and drawing on Universal's precedent, these films include The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), and Dracula (1958), both followed by many sequels, with director Terence Fisher being responsible for many of the best films. Other British companies contributed to a boom in horror film production in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, including Tigon-British and Amicus, the latter best known for their anthology films like Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965).

British born director Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), was the first '[Slasher film|slasher]]' movie,[13] while in the same director's The Birds (1963) menace stems from nature gone mad. In France, Eyes Without a Face (1960), continued the mad scientist theme, while in Italy director Mario Bava began his own series of horror films.

American International Pictures (AIP) made a series of Edgar Allan Poe–themed films directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price, which ended with The Masque of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia (both 1964). Some contend that these productions paved the way for more explicit violence in both horror and mainstream films.[citation needed] In collaboration with AIP, Tigon produced Michael Reeves' Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm, 1968). The tale of a witch hunter in the English Civil War, based on the historical Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price), was more sadistic than supernatural.

Ghosts and monsters still remained a frequent feature of horror, but many films used the supernatural premise to express the horror of the demonic. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961) based on the Henry James novel The Turn of the Screw and The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963) are two such horror-of-the-demonic films from the early 1960s, both made in the UK by American studios. In Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968), set in New York, the devil is made flesh. Meanwhile, ghosts were a dominant theme in Japanese horror, or 'J-horror', in such films as Kwaidan, Onibaba (both 1964) and Kuroneko (1968).
Zombies in Romero's influential Night of the Living Dead.

An influential American horror film of this period was George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968). Produced and directed by Romero, on a budget of $114,000, it grossed $12 million at the box office in the United States and $30 million internationally. This horror-of-Armageddon film about zombies blends psychological insights with gore, it moved the genre even further away from the gothic horror trends of earlier eras and brought horror into everyday life.[14]

Low-budget gore-shock films from the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis also appeared. Examples include Blood Feast (1963), a devil-cult story, and Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), a ghost town inhabited by psychotic cannibals), which featured splattering blood and body dismemberment.
[edit] 1970s–1980s
See also: List of horror films of the 1970s and List of horror films of the 1980s

The end of the Production Code of America in 1964, the financial successes of the low-budget gore films of the ensuing years, and the critical and popular success of Rosemary's Baby, led to the release of more films with occult themes in the 1970s. The Exorcist (1973), the first of these movies, was a significant commercial success, and was followed by scores of horror films in which the Devil represented the supernatural evil, often by impregnating women or possessing children. The genre also included gory horror movies with sexual overtones, made as "A-movies" (as opposed to "B movies").[15]

'Evil children' and reincarnation became popular subjects. Robert Wise's film Audrey Rose (1977) for example, deals with a man who claims his daughter is the reincarnation of another dead person. Alice, Sweet Alice (1977), is another Catholic themed horror slasher about a little girl's murder and her sister being the prime suspect. Another popular Satanic horror movie was The Omen (1976), where a man realizes his five year old adopted son is the Antichrist. Invincible to human intervention, Satan became the villain in many horror films with a postmodern style and a dystopian worldview.

Another example is The Sentinel (1977 film), in which a fashion model discovers her new brownstone residence may actually be a portal to Hell. The movie includes seasoned actors such as Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith and Eli Wallach and such future stars as Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum.

The ideas of the 1960s began to influence horror films, as the youth involved in the counterculture began exploring the medium. Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)[16] recalled the Vietnam war; George A. Romero satirised the consumer society in his zombie sequel, Dawn of the Dead (1978); Canadian director David Cronenberg featured the "mad scientist" movie subgenre by exploring contemporary fears about technology and society, and reinventing "body horror", starting with Shivers (1975).[17]

Also in the 1970s, horror author Stephen King debuted on the film scene as many of his books were adapted for the screen, beginning with Brian De Palma's adaptation of King's first published novel, Carrie (1976), which was nominated for Academy Awards. Next, was his third published novel, The Shining (1980), which was a sleeper at the box office, with mixed reviews, but eventually began to be considered a classic. Carrie became the 9th highest-grossing film of 1976. King himself did not like The Shining, because it was barely faithful to the 1977 best-seller novel.

John Carpenter created Halloween (1978). Sean Cunningham made Friday the 13th (1980). Wes Craven directed A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). This subgenre would be mined by dozens of increasingly violent movies throughout the subsequent decades, and Halloween became a successful independent film. Other notable '70s slasher films include Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974), which was released before Halloween, and was another start of the sub-genre.

In 1975, Steven Spielberg began his ascension to fame with Jaws (1975). The film kicked off a wave of killer animal stories such as Orca (1977), and Up from the Depths. Jaws is often credited as being one of the first films to use traditionally B movie elements such as horror and mild gore in a big-budget Hollywood film.

Alien (1979) combined the naturalistic acting and graphic violence of the 1970s with the monster movie plots of earlier decades, and used science fiction. The film was extremely successful at both box office and critical reception, being called "Jaws in space", and a landmark film for the science fiction genre.

On similar note, John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) was also a mix of horror and sci fi, however unlike Alien it was neither a box office or critical hit. However, nearly 20 years after its release it was praised for its ahead of its time special effects and paranoia.

The 1980s saw a wave of gory 'B-Movie' horror films - although most of them were panned by critics, many became cult classics and later saw success with critics. A significant example is Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movies, which were low-budget gorefests but had a very original plotline that was praised by critics later on. Other horror film examples include cult vampire classic Fright Night (1985) and The Lost Boys (1987).
[edit] 1990s
See also: List of horror films of the 1990s

In the first half of the 1990s, the genre continued many of the themes from the 1980s. Sequels from the Child's Play (1988) and Leprechaun (1993) series enjoyed some commercial success. The slasher films A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween all saw sequels in the 1990s, most of which met with varied amounts of success at the box office, but all were panned by fans and critics, with the exception of Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) and the hugely successful Silence of the Lambs (1991).

New Nightmare, with In the Mouth of Madness (1995), The Dark Half (1993), and Candyman (1992), were part of a mini-movement of self-reflexive or metafictional horror films. Each film touched upon the relationship between fictional horror and real-world horror. Candyman, for example, examined the link between an invented urban legend and the realistic horror of the racism that produced its villain. In the Mouth of Madness took a more literal approach, as its protagonist actually hopped from the real world into a novel created by the madman he was hired to track down. This reflective style became more overt and ironic with the arrival of Scream (1996).

In Interview with the Vampire (1994), the "Theatre de Vampires" (and the film itself, to some degree) invoked the Grand Guignol style, perhaps to further remove the undead performers from humanity, morality and class. The horror movie soon continued its search for new and effective frights. In 1985's novel The Vampire Lestat by author Anne Rice (who penned Interview...'s screenplay and the 1976 novel of the same name) suggests that its antihero Lestat inspired and nurtured the Grand Guignol style and theatre.

Two main problems pushed horror backward during this period: firstly, the horror genre wore itself out with the proliferation of nonstop slasher and gore films in the eighties. Secondly, the adolescent audience which feasted on the blood and morbidity of the previous decade grew up, and the replacement audience for films of an imaginative nature were being captured instead by the explosion of science-fiction and fantasy, courtesy of the special effects possibilities with computer-generated imagery.[18]

To re-connect with its audience, horror became more self-mockingly ironic and outright parodic, especially in the latter half of the 1990s. Peter Jackson's Braindead (1992) (known as Dead Alive in the USA) took the splatter film to ridiculous excesses for comic effect. Wes Craven's Scream (written by Kevin Williamson) movies, starting in 1996, featured teenagers who were fully aware of, and often made reference to, the history of horror movies, and mixed ironic humour with the shocks. Along with I Know What You Did Last Summer (written by Kevin Williamson as well) and Urban Legend, they re-ignited the dormant slasher film genre.
[edit] 2000s
See also: List of horror films of the 2000s

The start of the 2000s saw a quiet period for the genre. The release of an extended version of The Exorcist in September 2000 was successful despite the film having been available on home video for years. Franchise films such as Freddy vs. Jason also made a stand in theaters. Final Destination (2000) marked a successful revival of teen-centered horror and spawned five sequels. The Jeepers Creepers series was also successful. Films like Wrong Turn, Cabin Fever, House of 1000 Corpses, and the previous mentions helped bring the genre back to Restricted ratings in theaters.

Some pronounced trends have marked horror films. A French horror film Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) became the second-highest-grossing French-language film in the United States in the last two decades. The success of foreign language foreign films continued with the Swedish films Marianne (2011) and Let the Right One In (2008), which was later the subject of a Hollywood remake, Let Me In (2010). Another trend is the emergence of psychology to scare audiences, rather than gore. The Others (2001) proved to be a successful example of psychological horror film. A minimalist approach which was equal parts Val Lewton's theory of "less is more" (usually employing the low-budget techniques utilized on The Blair Witch Project, 1999) has been evident,[citation needed] particularly in the emergence of Asian horror movies which have been remade into successful Americanized versions, such as The Ring (2002), and The Grudge (2004). In March 2008, China banned the movies from its market.[19]

There has been a major return to the zombie genre in horror movies made after 2000.[20][citation needed] The Resident Evil video game franchise was adapted into a film released in March 2002. Three sequels have followed. The British film 28 Days Later (2002) featured an update on the genre with The Return of the Living Dead (1985) style of aggressive zombie. The film later spawned a sequel: 28 Weeks Later. An updated remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) soon appeared as well as the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead (2004). This resurgence led George A. Romero to return to his Living Dead series with Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2010).[21]

A larger trend is a return to the extreme, graphic violence that characterized much of the type of low-budget, exploitation horror from the post-Vietnam years. Films like Audition (1999), Wrong Turn (2003), and the Australian film Wolf Creek (2005), took their cues from The Last House on the Left (1972),[citation needed] The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974),[citation needed] and The Hills Have Eyes (1977). An extension of this trend was the emergence of a type of horror with emphasis on depictions of torture, suffering and violent deaths, (variously referred to as "horror porn", "torture porn", Splatterporn, and even "gore-nography") with films like The Collector, The Tortured, Saw, and Hostel, and their respective sequels, frequently singled out as examples of emergence of this sub-genre.[22] The Saw film series holds the Guinness World Record of the highest-grossing horror franchise in history.[23] Finally with the arrival of Paranormal Activity (2009), which was well received by critics and an excellent reception at the box office, minimal thought started by The Blair Witch Project was reaffirmed and is expected to be continued successfully in other low-budget productions.[original research?]

Remakes of earlier horror movies became routine in the 2000s. In addition to 2004's remake of Dawn of the Dead, as well as 2003's remake of both Herschell Gordon Lewis' cult classic 2001 Maniacs and the remake of Tobe Hooper's classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there was also the 2007 Rob Zombie written and directed remake of John Carpenter's Halloween.[24] The film focused more on Michael's backstory than the original did, devoting the first half of the film to Michael's childhood. It was critically panned by most,[25][26] but was a success in its theatrical run, spurring its own sequel. This success led to the remakes, or "reimaginings" of other popular horror films and franchises with films such as Friday the 13th,[27] A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010),[28]Children of the Corn.[29], The Amityville Horror (2005), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Black Christmas (2006), Prom Night (2008), The Wicker Man (2006), My Bloody Valentine (2009), The Wolfman (2010), and House of Wax (2005).
[edit] Sub-genres

Body horror - In which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create 'monsters' out of human body parts. David Cronenberg is one of the notable directors of the genre. Some body horror films include, The Invasion, The Fly, Rosemary's Baby, Eraserhead, The Thing, Re-Animator, The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Cabin Fever, Virus and Teeth.
Comedy horror - Combines the elements of comedy and horror fiction. The comedy horror genre almost always inevitably crosses over with the black comedy genre. The short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving is cited as "the first great comedy-horror story".[30] Examples include The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Gremlins, Bad Taste, Beetlejuice, Arachnophobia, Scary Movie, Eight Legged Freaks, Shaun of the Dead and Slither.
Gothic horror - Gothic horror are stories that contains elements of goth and horror. At times it may have romance that unfolds in the setting of a horror tale, usually suspenseful. One of the most earliest horror movies were of this sub-genre. Examples include universal horror films like, The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. Modern gothic horrors include, Sleepy Hollow, Interview with the Vampire, Underworld, The Wolfman, From Hell, Dorian Gray and Let Me In.
Natural horror - A sub-genre of horror films "featuring nature running amok in the form of mutated beasts, carnivorous insects, and normally harmless animals or plants turned into cold-blooded killers."[31] This genre may sometimes overlap with the science fiction and action/adventure genre. Examples include, The Birds, Jaws, Mimic, Deep Rising, Them!, The Swarm, Pet Sematary, Lake Placid, Primeval, Anaconda, Snakes on a Plane, The Cave and The Ruins.
Psychological horror - Relies on character's fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music, emotional instability and at times, the supernatural and ghosts, to build tension and further the plot. Examples include, The Uninvited, Dark Water, Gothika, The Ring, The Exorcist, Session 9, Silent Hill, The Others, The Mothman Prophecies, The Blair Witch Project, 1408, The Shining, Stir of Echoes, The Innocents and The Sixth Sense.
Science Fiction horror - Often revolving around subjects that include but are not limited to killer aliens, mad scientists, and/or experiments gone wrong. Examples include Alien, Predator, Pandorum, Event Horizon, Apollo 18, Pitch Black and It Came from Outer Space.
Slasher film - A type of horror film typically involving a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a knife or axe. Slasher films may at times overlap with the crime, mystery and thriller genre. Examples of this genre include, Black Christmas, Halloween, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Friday the 13th, Child's Play and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Splatter film - Often called torture porn, they deliberately focus on graphic portrayals of gore and graphic violence. These films, through the use of special effects and excessive blood and guts, tend to display an overt interest in the vulnerability of the human body and the theatricality of its mutilation. Not all splatter films are slashers, and not all splatter films are horrors. Examples include, Cannibal Holocaust, Piranha 3D, The Midnight Meat Train, The Final Destination, Saw, Guinea Pig series, Hostel, Borderland, Audition, Wolf Creek, Captivity, Martyrs, Inside, Antichrist, The Collector and A Serbian Film.
Zombie film - Zombies films have creatures who are usually portrayed as either reanimated corpses or mindless human beings. Distinct sub-genres have evolved, such as the "zombie comedy" or the "zombie apocalypse". Examples include, Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Evil Dead[32], I Am Legend, Land of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Quarantine and The Return of the Living Dead.


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We all know most horror films are fiction, but isn't it the thought of the unknown that makes them so thrilling? It is for me.

When it comes down to a horror movie being based on true events we all become sympathetic, and let's just say it makes them 'that much scarier'.

But as a huge fan of the movies that make your heart race, your eyes squint, the ones that make your pillow your best friend...I have to ask: where has all the suspense gone?

Don't get me wrong. You can toss me a horror movie and tell me to watch it, and I will. I'm always down for watching a film that could quite possibly scar me for life. But these days, due to Westernization and the changing perspective of new generations, some horror films have really lost their art.

I mean, suspense is something that a horror film should feed off of. It drives an audience into deep anticipation as they anxiously await the strike.

In older days, horror films thrived on suspense with the good bits happening at the end (although being 17 it was very annoying having to wait as I'm a person who enjoys thrills from start to finish, with as much blood and gore as you can possibly pack in). A lot of modern day horror films just aren't stepping up to the plate.

I'm not asking for suspense from start to finish, but there should be a decent amount of it to really make the film successful. Too much is boring, too little is lazy. I'm talking about films like Scream which has a great balance of thrills and suspense. That's what made it successful!

So I say - bring back the suspense! And strap yourselves in for a night of thrilling artistry!

No More Frights???

What has happened to good old scary watch with the lights out movies? I remember watching "The Changeling" in my attic room and not being able to sleep. It had few special effects and lots of scares like the hearing of the tape after the seance. How about the original "The Uninvited" w/ Ray Milland (if I am correct) lots of skin crawling moments in that movie.

Isn't it time we saw a movie that had lots of chills but little gore? Gore doesn't scare but the unknown does. One modern movie that did chill me was "The Gravedancers", but hey this only my opinion. Have a Horrific Halloween and leave the closet door open.

The Horror of the Horror Remake.

Well... I just visited IMDb where I found info on a remake of Friday the 13th. Now supposedly, it's a remake of the original, yet the movie poster and tag indicates Jason's presence. I'm normally all for any exposure for my all-time favorite franchise villain, but due to some recent remakes of horror classics I grew up with... please, say it ain't so!

I'd like to do a run through of some of the remakes I've seen... they aren't all bad but the odds are against Jason's reemergence being a successful one.

"The Fog" -- Lousy acting...lousy CGI...lousy remake. Pretty much pointless. I can't remember most of it though it's not been that long since I've seen it...dull...but I remember enough to know that I'll take the cheesy creepiness of the original over the bland prettiness of this film.

"The Amityville Horror" -- The original wasn't all that great but it did have some memorable moments. The only thing I remember from seeing the remake was a feeling a loss for the money I spent to see this crap. I did think the little girl was a little creepy.

"King Kong" -- Remade a second time, Peter Jackson's version was over-long, over-blown, and over-exposed. It would have made Michael Bay proud. I felt like this film would ever end. The effects were cartoonish. Compare the dino's in this film to the ones in "Jurassic Park" from 15 years ago. Question: How many times can an actor do the "slowly I turned" routine in one movie? Answer: When said movie is over 3 hours long...as many times as they want to.

"Day of the Dead" -- To be fair I didn't make it through this remake. But that was because what I did see was shit. There is no nicer way to put it.

"Night of the Living Dead" -- No attempt should have been made to remake this classic. That said...director Tom Savini, special effects genius and obvious lover of the genre, handled it fairly well, changing very little until the end. Mainly, he just upped the gore factor.

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre" -- This remake wasn't a total waste of time. The deaths of the hapless victims are much more graphic although the girl on the meathook bit in the original is still a grimace inducer.

"Dawn of the Dead" -- If it weren't a remake, this would be more widely considered a great horror film. Unlike most other remakes, this one was made with respect for the original. Good casting...and great choices of songs, namely the opening theme by Johnny Cash and Richard Cheese's hilarious re-do of Disturbed's "Down with the sickness".

"John Carpenter's The Thing" -- This remake came out so long ago that I'm sure some studio is considering a remake of the remake by now, but I had to include this one because when something is done right, especially in Hollywood, it should be noted. The original black and white about a giant space carrot may have been thrilling for it's time (before MY time)but the remake was a great movie for all time. Carpenter paced this film well, letting the suspense build before nailing us with mind-blowing creature effects. Today's cgi don't compare with the effects of this film and another 80's remake of a black and white film, "The Fly". Both superior in every way to the point that they don't even compare. As a matter of fact, I guess these are more "updates" than remakes.

Remakes I never want to see:

"Last House on the Left" -- It looks like it was shot as a documentary almost. The low budget works well for this movie.

"The Evil Dead" -- There are rumors of a remake helmed by the director of the original, Sam Raimi. I don't know if Raimi would put his heart into it like he and the rest of the cast did for the original. They thought what they were doing was "groovy" and it showed on the screen.

"Jaws" -- Another movie rumored to be remade. What could one possibly do with this? Give the shark wings? Rabies? How about genetically inhanced intelligence? Been done. Oh, I know, make the shark out for revenge for it's fallen bretheren by making it a personal vendetta against the Brody family who should think about maybe moving to Nebraska. Leave it alone. How can you do better than making people think twice about swimming in the ocean?

"Friday the 13th" -- back to the subject at hand. I love the original and the series but nothing I can say can justify it's existence other than it was a cool movie about random killings. It didn't aspire anything more than to make a few bucks. It, and it's sequels, through sheer relentlessness, made Jason Voorhees an icon. Once again, leave it alone.

Humans, The Real Monsters

Just recently, in Tsmania's capital city Hobart, a stabbing took place in a target department store resulting in the killing of a twenty six year-old man. This got me thinking on a view I have pondered for a long time; when it comes to horror movies, just like in real life, the people are the true monsters, sometimes even those that at one stage seem to be the protagonists. The creatures, aliens or deformities, whatever they may be, are simply a backdrop to what really goes on inside the human psyche.

Picture the scene from Frank Darabont's absolute master-piece adaption of Stephen King's 'The Mist.' You're trapped inside a half destroyed super-market, there's no power, monster aliens from another planet waiting outside and the body count is growing. You think things couldn't possibly get any worse? Think again. After only 2 days cabin fever seems to pop up its ugly face and the majority of people have formed a type of religious sect and are planning on killing and sacrificing your only son... The next thing that runs through your head is how much you would love to be outside with the giant spiders and sky-scraper high monsters.

Other examples of this philosophy are George Romero's 'Dawn of the Dead,' where marauding Indians attack the cow-boys ranch, that just happens to be filled with a few zombies going about their daily business, (by Indians I meant bikers, by cow-boys I meant survivors and by ranch I meant shopping mall... obviously). 'Night of the Hunter,' where a man that you would normally associate with love and compassion hunts down and tries to stab and kill a young boy and his even younger sister. 'Resident Evil' where a man's betrayal and true intentions are far more dangerous than any zombie, or red queen. 'Suspiria,' I don't know whether or not you could actually refer to witches as human or not, but none-the-less these violent and psychopathic ladies are a force not to be messed with... unless your an American ballet student.

Maybe it's because humans know what goes on in the mind of others so they can pin-point their fears, or maybe it's because they are the same as us and it's the fact that we can relate to them that scares us. But mainly, I believe the reason that humans are more scary than any monster is the fact that they exist, and some are in fact very evil and tortured... we see it on the news every day.

Humans may be naturally civil and proper, but some things that occur in the world; greed, power, poverty, change that completely...

Why We Like Horror Movies!

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Why We Like Horror Movies!

There is not one single answer to "Why We like Horror Movies". Our passion for Horror stems from a combination of many things. Best-Horror-Movies.com shows the evidence of our passion by showcasing a series of articles that cover the why, the how and the "very cool" of horror movies and the genre that we love.

Whether your interest lies in a academic description of why we like horror movies or in a particular element of horror that tickles the slasher bone, the BHM article bank has just what you are looking for. Or does it? If not then we NEED you!

This section of Best-Horror-Movies.com is a collection of horror-related articles, submitted and published by BHM contributors, guest writers and site visitors just like you! �Everything from the "highly heady" to the "stupid but fun" is fair game.

The year, 1959. I am five years old. Our neighbors are taking their kids (ages three and five) to see a Disney film and I am invited along. The movie is Snow White.

As the lights go down I am treated to the Evil Queen, the huntsman who is to cut Snow White's heart out, the creepy scary forest, the queen's transformation into a hag and the hag getting hit by lightning. Nice family fare. The three year old spent the majority of the film crying in the lobby. Frightened, but also getting an adrenalin rush, that was the beginning of wanting to be scared, and that escape from reality in the darkened theater.

My next adventure was seeing Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, still around the same age, left alone to watch TV. Back then, TV was considered to be 'good' for you. Here was my introduction to the Universal Movie Monsters - Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman and a non-appearance of the Invisible Man. Here begins the bad dreams and frightmares...a bonus side effect.

The early 60's had classic TV shows like Boris Karloff's Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Roald Dahl's Way Out. There were also a barrage of Sci-Fi horror TV shows hostd by Zacherly and Doctor Shock who were on in the Philadelphia area, later spoofed on SCTV's Monster Chiller Horror Theater with Count Floyd and a not scary film like Doctor Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses.

I remember seeing the first Outer Limits episode entitled 'The Galaxy Being' that had me watching it from the safety of our kitchen. I also watched a lot of shows from the stairway, peering through the railings. There was no such thing as 'parental guidance' back then so my brothers (four and six years older than me) and I watched anything we wanted to.

Horror films became the staple, with me buying every issue of 'Famous Monsters' I could get my hands on. Model kits, 'Creepy', 'Eerie' and 'Vampirella' magazines followed. I was facinated by 'How did they do that?'

Any horror movie at the theaters were welcomed. Village of the Damned (1960) was a total freak-out. The bad films were fun too. No matter how bad, they were still entertaining.

There were the 'spook shows', the Saturday afternoon showing of several horror flicks and also 'See live on stage - Frankenstein and Dracula battle to the death!' Some shows had a magician with them as well as the obligatory glow-in-the dark skeleton that flew over your head scaring the chicken soup out of the younger set. Glow in the dark ghosts flew around the stage, and then there was part of the show where all the lights were turned out and everybody screamed their heads off. The last show like that I saw showed Tales of Terror (1962), The Bees and the highly laughable The Vulture (1967).

I was fifteen when Boris Karloff died and a local drive-in honored him with showing five of his his films. A station wagon full of kids and we saw Die, Monster, Die (1965), The Raven (1963), The Terror (1963), The Comedy of Terrors (1963) and Black Sabbath (1963).

As a teenager, triple bills at the drive-in's rocked. When Night of the Living Dead came out we saw it at the drive-in in the sweltering summer night heat in Pennsylvania. The film was set in Pennsylvania and it wasn't long before we had the windows rolled up and the doors locked, making it even hotter. What fun.

The Exorcist was a blast with lines of people wrapped around the block waiting to get in, the Catholic clergy protesting the film outside with picket signs and a medical team on hand to administer oxygen for those patrons who managed to pass out.

A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Dawn of the Dead were the ultimate horrorshows. I saw Dawn of the Dead twice in a row when it first came out. It was funny seeing people leaving the theater after the zombie getting his head blown off near the beginning. I saw the same reaction to The Fly (1958).

I went to most of the Friday matinees when the new movies came out and I had noticed an elderly man at the shows I'd go to. It took a while, but it sunk in that I would become like him in the future. Now that the future is here, 50 years later, I am him.

When I was in college, for my final English paper, I wrote an essay on the topic, 'Splatter Movies Are Good For You', focusing on the roller coaster adrenalin rush the films give. I got an 'A' on the paper and also a note written on the final page to the tune of 'I suggest you seek psychiatric counseling for the type of entertainment you partake in.'

A Study On Fear And Pleasure In The Horror Film

When I was five years old my brother and I sat down and watched Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), and when the film faded to black and the credits began to roll my brother and I finally regained pigment in our skin.

I have always thought the world of my brother and watching a ‘scary movie‘ with him was a big deal, so when we were watching Michael slice and dice Haddenfield to get to his niece I was unable to turn away - for fear of being caught. I probably could have closed my eyes and he would have never known, but I was amazed at some of the images I was seeing. I may have been scared before watching Halloween 4 but that film gave fear its name, I knew that I was petrified simply because I had watched a movie. I made the connection between the film and the emotion; a rather simple statement now, but when you’re five, fear tends to be correlated with something indefinable, or for no reason at all. Of course, like most kids growing up in the 80's I was told the first day I sat in front of ‘the babysitter’ that everything I saw was make-believe so I wasn’t under any disillusion when I saw Michael Meyers. But even though I knew it was fake, it still evoked an emotional experience that I have been addicted to ever since.

I might be able to pinpoint the moment in which I realized film holds a certain power over its viewers, but now I want to find out why I get pleasure from the horror genre. Is there something innate inside us that finds gratification through dread? Is it curiosity of the forbidden? Is it the ability to live through our greatest of fears, such as death? What is it that excites us when we see a decapitation, or one human eating another? These are questions that have been stirring inside me for years. So I began doing research, collecting different documentaries, books, and articles to find some satisfying answer to these queries.

Re-makes vs. Re-imaginings

There is a distinct difference between a re-make and a re-imagining of a classic horror movie. A re-make amends the characters and/or story while still using nearly the same plotline as the original film. A re-imagining uses the success of the original film and the established title to enlist intrigue yet does not use very much or any of the plotline of the original film. I have realized just recently that while I can usually tolerate re-makes of classic horror films, I absolutely despise re-imagings and here is why:

The term re-invent will be used in this article to describe the general re-make/re-imagining agenda.

Two of my favorite re-makes are Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Night of the Living Dead re-make amended the character of Barbara to take charge of the situation and gave her more of a will to live, the lack of which in the original lead to her death. This made her a stronger, more appealing character. The film also contrasted the characters of Ben and Mr. Cooper to share the blame for their blunders, which rested solely on Mr. Cooper in the original. This made the situation more realistic. The film also amended the climax of the original film by replacing Ben's disparaging attempts to stop the hoard of zombies from encroaching into the house once Barbara had been taken, with a gun fight between Ben and Mr. Cooper. And while the official ending wasn't as haunting as the original in which, Ben, having survived the night of terror is gunned down as he is about to finally escape from the farmhouse, it still offered it's own reward at the stinging murder of the greatly hated Mr. Cooper.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-make amended the character of Leatherface to show more of his scared and misunderstood nature that was only hinted at in the original. The film also amended Erin's namesake for Sally from the original character by making her more of a resourceful and level-headed person. The plot was also amended to give a better reason as to why the teens are killed off, because while in the original they unsuspectingly visit a place near the Leatherface house and are slaughtered, in the remake the suicide of the hitchhiker leads them to wait for the county police force, which they don't know is just the Sheriff from the HeWitt family. Also, the lack of the dinner scene, which admittedly was a let down in the re-make was made up for by the new ending in which Erin is able to rescue a baby the family has captured and kill the greatly hated Sheriff Hoyt.

I admit, these films aren't perfect but they brought to light new characterization and plot points that don't detract from the film itself and don't make a mockery of the original's plot which I believe should be the idea of all re-invents.

Two of my least favorite re-imaginings are Halloween and Friday the 13th.

John Carpenter's Halloween was the highest grossing independent film of it's time and its title is taken in reverence to its many contributions to the horror genre. In the remake, Rob Zombie is fully aware of this and banks on the popularity of the franchise he overhauled and made almost a completely different story. The beauty of the original was the audience's lack of understanding of Michael's motives. Zombie instead makes Michael a misunderstood kid with sluts as a mother and sister and a redneck bad-mouth father figure. And he’s always being teased by elementary school bullies. He then goes on for the first hour of the film counting all the ways why Michael is the anti-hero and why everyone should feel sorry for him. This attitude, whether unintentionally done or not makes the audience realize that any attempt at sympathy for the actual hero of the movie, i.e. Laurie, is moot. This greatly contradicts the original vision where the audience cheered for Laurie. The film goes further downhill when Zombie finally gets to the part in which Laurie and her friends are stalked and killed. In this part of the film all characterization of Laurie and her friends is completely cut out as is every ounce of suspense. This again contradicts the original film which capitalized on both those aspects. The official ending recounts an alternate set of events to the original film in which Laurie hides within the Myers’ house as Michael stalks her. Loomis is killed by Michael and Laurie shoots Michael point blank in the head after being knocked over a balcony in the Myers’ house by Michael himself in his first long distance run – go team!

The original Friday the 13th franchise is one of the highest grossing in the horror industry and the title has released one of the longest sets of films in the horror genre. With this in mind Markus Nispel, obviously misreading his success for the re-make of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for his re-imagining of the ending decided to overhaul the entire concept of the original Friday the 13th film and present a completely new story. The original film’s plot, while a simple one, was intriguing for its use of the slasher cliché as well as the mystery of who the killer is. It's shocking twist ending in which it was revealed that a mother whose child has drowned while at the camp was killing the counselors, trying to prevent the re-opening of the camp, made the movie all it has been cracked up to be. The new plot is nothing more than a couple of kids getting slaughtered because they came to a place being guarded by hermit Jason Voorhees. In the first two minutes of the film, we watch from the sidelines as the ending of the original film is recounted in flashback format (Jason sees his mother being beheaded). There are several nods aimed toward Friday the 13th fans but the way they are worked in doesn’t work for the film itself and the ‘he’s back to stay’ ending was too cliché to even watch.

One reason why I think re-imaginings fail is because they aren't good movies to begin with, so counting on the success of the name doesn’t make up for lacking in writing and direction. Another reason is that writers are too lazy, uncreative and scared to release these re-invents that only resemble their namesakes in title and icon, on their own merit.

Guess what? The re-invents that everyone always defends, the re-invents that everyone always says the best things about, are the re-imaginings of Halloween and Friday the 13th. I just want to know why. When I critically can find everything wrong with the re-imaginings, how is that everyone else defends and enjoys them but yells and screams and completely puts down the re-makes of The Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, films that follow a similar storyline like their namesakes, improve upon certain character and story points, and overall live up their namesakes?