Hana Shafi The Need To Get Scared Shitless

Good horror movies ceased to exist after the 80s. 

I can admit there are certainly some exceptions, and a distinction should be drawn between major motion picture horror films, and some of the lesser known indie or foreign horror films. But even so, the 70s and 80s were a glorious time for scary movies and with the exception of some early 90s gems like "The Silence of the Lambs," and "Scream" in 1996 (because I’m a sucker for the "Scream" trilogy), most horror movies post-80s took a slow and sad descent. 

And most people would assume that this wouldn’t happen, in fact, that the opposite would come true- that with improved CGI and special effects, the 2000s would be making a new brand of horror films that are exceptionally scary and realistic in a way that the horror films of the past couldn’t even fathom. Fantasy movies of the 2000s certainly caught onto that (can you imagine the Balrog of Morgoth as some shitty puppet?), but in the horror genre, improved special effects was actually the downfall. 

Because they can now make blood and guts and limbs being cut off look super realistic, the other aspects of these scary movies are being completely half-assed. I think the makers of the scary movies in the 70s and 80s (as well as before that, shout out to "Nosferatu") were aware that their special effects may have not been 100% realistic; but rather than obsess over how to get the blood to be the right shade of red, they substituted this for an excellent and original plot, brilliant cinematography, well thought out character development, and a psychological element to the horror that leaves you feeling uneasy for most of the night (or the next month and a half). Not to mention, some damn creepy scores that set the entire atmosphere of the film (see the opening of John Carpenter’s "The Thing"). 

Nowadays I can hardly find that in major motion picture horror films. Sure, all the blood and guts looks real enough, but they rarely ever make original scores, the dialogue is cheesy and stupid, the plot is often times either predictable or just some mindless torture-porn shit, and the most they can get at character development is a really random sex scene plopped right in the middle of all the scary stuff. I might scream a bit at the parts where something pops out at you from out of nowhere, but besides that I’m not getting the chills for the rest of the night, or the emotional satisfaction at watching a truly well done horror film. 

And if you think special effects can make or break a horror film, then you don’t know jack shit. The most special effects in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of "The Shining" were the rivers of blood flowing out of the hotel elevators, and yet that movie is arguably one of the most terrifying horror movies of all time! Until the current directors of mainstream horror films understand this, I will continue to live in the horror genre of the 70s and 80s and indulge in countless John Carpenter marathons. 

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