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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
274

New Horror vs. Old Horror
Topic by: Battie
Posted: August 14, 2005 - 10:18 AM PDT
Last Reply: August 18, 2005 - 6:59 PM PDT

author topic: New Horror vs. Old Horror
Battie
post #1  on August 14, 2005 - 10:18 AM PDT  
I was flippin' channels and landed on Sci-Fi today. Pumpkinhead was showing. ^_^ I found it creepy and altogether...GOOD. Which is surprising, since it was shot in the 80s. Even the monster look cool and evil (maybe it was the perptual grin on his face due to the way it was made, not necessarily an expression of emotion).

I've seen just about every horror movie that has come out in theaters in the last six years or so, and quite a few that were Direct-To-Video release (though that's not necessarily a good thing). So why do they seem BLAH when an old 80s horror movie accomplishes its point? I have a few theories...what about you?
JCunningham
post #2  on August 14, 2005 - 5:12 PM PDT  
One thing that makes contemporary horror movies a little more punchy is the sound -- anyone with a home theatre system knows how great it is to be surrounded by dynamic, brain-rattling sound that really puts you "in" the movie. Prior to really good sound, horror movies relied almost entirely on the visuals (as good as they were for the time). And REALLY old horror movies (60s and further back) relied on story line and acting. But of course, what is horror to someone in 1960 is a dud to someone in 1980 (generally) and we're getting harder and harder to scare or impress. One thing that appears lost forever is the power and impact certain low budget horror flicks used to have on a naive nation. You can't achieve the Texas Chainsaw Massacre "feel" again. Can't happen. We're too jaded. Back then, the lack of budget gave certain horror flicks an almost documentary feel. Today if you did it, you'd just be called cheap. But I still have a warm spot for the corny old Hammer horror films. Can't help it. And those barmaids! WHEW!
Battie
post #3  on August 14, 2005 - 5:39 PM PDT  
> On August 14, 2005 - 5:12 PM PDT JCunningham wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> One thing that makes contemporary horror movies a little more punchy is the sound -- anyone with a home theatre system knows how great it is to be surrounded by dynamic, brain-rattling sound that really puts you "in" the movie. Prior to really good sound, horror movies relied almost entirely on the visuals (as good as they were for the time). And REALLY old horror movies (60s and further back) relied on story line and acting. But of course, what is horror to someone in 1960 is a dud to someone in 1980 (generally) and we're getting harder and harder to scare or impress. One thing that appears lost forever is the power and impact certain low budget horror flicks used to have on a naive nation. You can't achieve the Texas Chainsaw Massacre "feel" again. Can't happen. We're too jaded. Back then, the lack of budget gave certain horror flicks an almost documentary feel. Today if you did it, you'd just be called cheap. But I still have a warm spot for the corny old Hammer horror films. Can't help it. And those barmaids! WHEW!
> ---------------------------------

Well, I prefer 80s horror to horror of today. And I agree about the naive audience thing, but at the same time, I don't feel like movies such as Pumpkinhead are really all bad, despite the fact that it "can't happen." In fact, I think the fact that horror movies try to explain themselves makes the movie less scary. Not knowing what the monster is, how it came into being, and how to kill it is part of the fun of a horror movie. Plus, have you noticed that most horror movies these days involve "monsters" like those from Scream and Halloween? Slasher flicks, basically. Where's the fun in that? Pumpkinhead and like creatures...all you can do is run. There's really no place to hide, and no defense against it. Not so with slashers (and, in fact, I'm generally cynical enough to snort when a slasher manages to kill all but one person--odds are against that).

This new generation of horror flicks kind of ruins it for me. Saw, for instance, was a big hit (I know of several people who thought it was AMAZING). But it's horror hinged on the same thing many Japanese horror movies hinge on--which is to torture the characters and make you squirm horribly while watching. And, yeah, there was a few moments during Saw whem my shoulders tensed and I wanted to look away. But it wasn't creepy in the way Pumpkinhead was.
JCunningham
post #4  on August 14, 2005 - 7:15 PM PDT  
> Well, I prefer 80s horror to horror of today. And I agree about the naive audience thing, but at the same time, I don't feel like movies such as Pumpkinhead are really all bad, despite the fact that it "can't happen." In fact, I think the fact that horror movies try to explain themselves makes the movie less scary. Not knowing what the monster is, how it came into being, and how to kill it is part of the fun of a horror movie. Plus, have you noticed that most horror movies these days involve "monsters" like those from Scream and Halloween? Slasher flicks, basically. Where's the fun in that? Pumpkinhead and like creatures...all you can do is run. There's really no place to hide, and no defense against it. Not so with slashers (and, in fact, I'm generally cynical enough to snort when a slasher manages to kill all but one person--odds are against that).
>
> This new generation of horror flicks kind of ruins it for me. Saw, for instance, was a big hit (I know of several people who thought it was AMAZING). But it's horror hinged on the same thing many Japanese horror movies hinge on--which is to torture the characters and make you squirm horribly while watching. And, yeah, there was a few moments during Saw whem my shoulders tensed and I wanted to look away. But it wasn't creepy in the way Pumpkinhead was.
> ---------------------------------

I have to agree with you there. I have no desire to watch slasher anything. I get enough of that real horror on the news. Though I do like the boundary-pushing madness of films like, say, AUDITION, where the director is just daring you to endure the sadism, I don't consider it a horror movie at all. It's just a horror. The supernatural, unexplained or that which requires the suspension of disbelief is a lot more fun. I don't recall liking PUNKINHEAD, maybe I'll give it another looksee. But you're right, today's horror is not as entertaining, though it might be more technically advanced and nerve-assaulting. I certainly never miss an "old" horror movie if it comes on the tube, I don't care if it's one I've seen a bazillion times...they're always fun. Can't say that about contemporary horror ... have to be "in the mood" to submerge myself in the "total experience" first. And I'm not always up for having my last nerve frazzled! :)

ALittlefield
post #5  on August 15, 2005 - 9:52 PM PDT  
PUMPKINHEAD didn't do much for me as I remember, although Lance Hendrikson chewing the scenery is always entertaining!

The big trend with horror these days is really the big trend in Hollywood, and that's to avoid the R rating so the kids can go. THE SIXTH SENSE and THE RING showed how profitable Pg-13 horror can be. 80's horror was a lot more about the gore: such as REANIMATOR, EVIL DEAD I and II, and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, all released unrated, all of which would been sliced into ribbons in the theater if they were made now. Whether that's good or bad is a matter of opinion. Personally, I can enjoy a horror movie with or without the guts as long as it's well made.
Battie
post #6  on August 16, 2005 - 3:01 AM PDT  
> On August 15, 2005 - 9:52 PM PDT ALittlefield wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> PUMPKINHEAD didn't do much for me as I remember, although Lance Hendrikson chewing the scenery is always entertaining!
>
> The big trend with horror these days is really the big trend in Hollywood, and that's to avoid the R rating so the kids can go. THE SIXTH SENSE and THE RING showed how profitable Pg-13 horror can be. 80's horror was a lot more about the gore: such as REANIMATOR, EVIL DEAD I and II, and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, all released unrated, all of which would been sliced into ribbons in the theater if they were made now. Whether that's good or bad is a matter of opinion. Personally, I can enjoy a horror movie with or without the guts as long as it's well made.
> ---------------------------------

Well, Pumpkinhead is by no means a great 80s horror. I think, combined with the creepy wooded scenery, the monster constume is what really got me liking it. Plus, it's been such a long, LONG time since I've seen a 70s/80s horror besides Halloween and Friday the 13th on tv, that it was like...well, a breath of fresh air. (And yep, with those two exceptions, I never miss a horror on cable--unless it's a crappy Sci-fi original or involves a shark monster. And even then, I usually TRY to check it out for a few minutes.)

That sounds about right, ALittlefield. Still doesn't make me happy, though. :(

I'm not so sure the gore is what makes an 80s horror "good." I think part of it is that many contemporary horror not only tries to explain everything, but also tries to make the monster/killer understandable and sympathetic. And while I will always love a movie that can give me a TRULY ambiguous villain, most of these don't qualify. And even if they did, I still miss horrors that had monsters who were evil and nothing BUT evil. They also usually WANTED to cause pain, suffering, and death. The monsters/killers of today seem more interested in psychologically destroying their victims FIRST. This worked in Nightmare on Elm Street, but only because Freddy ALSO wanted to cause pain, suffering, and death (and relished doing so).

Thinking of all this makes me want to go read Stephen King. (Read, not WATCH.)
ALittlefield
post #7  on August 16, 2005 - 7:03 AM PDT  
> On August 16, 2005 - 3:01 AM PDT Battie wrote:
I still miss horrors that had monsters who were evil and nothing BUT evil. They also usually WANTED to cause pain, suffering, and death. The monsters/killers of today seem more interested in psychologically destroying their victims FIRST. This worked in Nightmare on Elm Street, but only because Freddy ALSO wanted to cause pain, suffering, and death (and relished doing so).

Indeed, this is why the sequels to NIGHTMARE sucked so badly; Freddy became more and more the wisecracking goofball and less and less the truly scary figure that he was in the first film.
sinisterguffaw
post #8  on August 16, 2005 - 1:38 PM PDT  
I think some horror flicks these days may just be trying to hard to find a purpose behind the mayhem/carnage/psychosis. I saw the Devil's Rejects the other day, and while it had it's creepy moments, it was more or less a character study. Instead of trying to scare the audience, it seemed like it was trying to get the audience to care about the psychos. Which is a nifty concept, but it makes for some convoluted plotlines and just ends up confusing the audience.
sir78billy
post #9  on August 16, 2005 - 8:39 PM PDT  
> On August 16, 2005 - 1:38 PM PDT sinisterguffaw wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I think some horror flicks these days may just be trying to hard to find a purpose behind the mayhem/carnage/psychosis. I saw the Devil's Rejects the other day, and while it had it's creepy moments, it was more or less a character study. Instead of trying to scare the audience, it seemed like it was trying to get the audience to care about the psychos. Which is a nifty concept, but it makes for some convoluted plotlines and just ends up confusing the audience.
> ---------------------------------

I saw Devil's Rejects and it is a pretty unconventional horror film. It really has no heroes and shows that even the good christian sheriff can be evil and sadistic.

I love the older horror films of the 70's and 80's. It just has a grittiness to them that makes them seem so raw. I just recently watche The Hills Have Eyes, I hadn't seen it in awhile and it blows away Ring 2 and The Grudge, in my opinion. I think modern horror nowadays tries to hard to rely on cheap jump tactics, like a noise or something jumping out. They don't have that raw, deranged feeling where you actually care about the characters. Pumpkinhead was great too, I love the monster flicks. I wish they could come out with more interesting monsters, just as long as they don't cheese us like Jeepers Creepers 2, where you blink and you missed a kill scene. That's bogus.
Battie
post #10  on August 16, 2005 - 9:12 PM PDT  
> On August 16, 2005 - 8:39 PM PDT sir78billy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I saw Devil's Rejects and it is a pretty unconventional horror film. It really has no heroes and shows that even the good christian sheriff can be evil and sadistic.
>

Yeah, I don't want a character study in a horror. I read for that! And, at worse, I can always look towards a drama or mystery/suspense in movies.

> I love the older horror films of the 70's and 80's. It just has a grittiness to them that makes them seem so raw. I just recently watche The Hills Have Eyes, I hadn't seen it in awhile and it blows away Ring 2 and The Grudge, in my opinion. I think modern horror nowadays tries to hard to rely on cheap jump tactics, like a noise or something jumping out. They don't have that raw, deranged feeling where you actually care about the characters. Pumpkinhead was great too, I love the monster flicks. I wish they could come out with more interesting monsters, just as long as they don't cheese us like Jeepers Creepers 2, where you blink and you missed a kill scene. That's bogus.
>

I love them, too. There is a gritty feeling. Even the film is kinda crappy...but so much more interesting, despite that. Not sure why...

I've actually thought about watching one of the early horrors: Last House of the Left. But I'm quite terrified of being traumatized. :P

Monster films are just great! ^_^ There used to be this store that would pop up around Halloween and sell stuff. They had some really kick-ass masks of monsters. REALISTIC, not this mass-produced Wal-Mart crap. I always wanted to buy one...but by the time I was old enough to have a job, they'd stop showing up at Halloween.

Halloween is, hands down, my favorite holiday. I don't care about Christmas as much as Halloween. I'd most likely find myself drunk, happy, in bed with a stranger, doing derranged things, having fun, etc on Halloween. :P I love it far too much.
Chamelion
post #11  on August 17, 2005 - 4:18 AM PDT  

>
> Monster films are just great! ^_^ There used to be this store that would pop up around Halloween and sell stuff. They had some really kick-ass masks of monsters. REALISTIC, not this mass-produced Wal-Mart crap. I always wanted to buy one...but by the time I was old enough to have a job, they'd stop showing up at Halloween.

Sounds kewl.. Monster and horror films are my fave as well... heck, Pumpkinhead was fun, and check out the sequel.. yes, there is a second one.. it's not as good, but it has an interesting premise. I like some of the movies in the last decade, yet their sequels really are horrid.. like Mimic... first ones fun... and The Relic; a personal fave....

>
> Halloween is, hands down, my favorite holiday. I don't >care about Christmas as much as Halloween. I'd most >likely find myself drunk, happy, in bed with a stranger, >doing derranged things, having fun, etc on Halloween. :P >I love it far too much.
\
Now, now; Battie; what would our children think of you?? :)

C
Battie
post #12  on August 17, 2005 - 5:50 PM PDT  
> On August 17, 2005 - 4:18 AM PDT Chamelion wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Now, now; Battie; what would our children think of you?? :)
>
> C
>
> ---------------------------------

Well, I think they'd be proud. ;)
sir78billy
post #13  on August 18, 2005 - 4:15 PM PDT  
> On August 16, 2005 - 9:12 PM PDT Battie wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On August 16, 2005 - 8:39 PM PDT sir78billy wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > I saw Devil's Rejects and it is a pretty unconventional horror film. It really has no heroes and shows that even the good christian sheriff can be evil and sadistic.
> >
>
> Yeah, I don't want a character study in a horror. I read for that! And, at worse, I can always look towards a drama or mystery/suspense in movies.
>
> > I love the older horror films of the 70's and 80's. It just has a grittiness to them that makes them seem so raw. I just recently watche The Hills Have Eyes, I hadn't seen it in awhile and it blows away Ring 2 and The Grudge, in my opinion. I think modern horror nowadays tries to hard to rely on cheap jump tactics, like a noise or something jumping out. They don't have that raw, deranged feeling where you actually care about the characters. Pumpkinhead was great too, I love the monster flicks. I wish they could come out with more interesting monsters, just as long as they don't cheese us like Jeepers Creepers 2, where you blink and you missed a kill scene. That's bogus.
> >
>
> I love them, too. There is a gritty feeling. Even the film is kinda crappy...but so much more interesting, despite that. Not sure why...
>
> I've actually thought about watching one of the early horrors: Last House of the Left. But I'm quite terrified of being traumatized. :P
>
> Monster films are just great! ^_^ There used to be this store that would pop up around Halloween and sell stuff. They had some really kick-ass masks of monsters. REALISTIC, not this mass-produced Wal-Mart crap. I always wanted to buy one...but by the time I was old enough to have a job, they'd stop showing up at Halloween.
>
> Halloween is, hands down, my favorite holiday. I don't care about Christmas as much as Halloween. I'd most likely find myself drunk, happy, in bed with a stranger, doing derranged things, having fun, etc on Halloween. :P I love it far too much.
> ---------------------------------

I love Halloween time!!!! I'm 26 and I always dress up to scare the kiddies. I used to drive in my car, real slow by the trick or treaters, blasting the Halloween theme and wearing a Michael Myers mask!!! I did that for a couple years, thankfully nobody ever called the police on me. Last year I dressed up as Leatherface. I tacked a white sheet over the garage, and would hide in there, with a real chainsaw (removed the blade of course). The kids would go by the garage, to the door, where my Mom was passing out candy. When they turned around to come back down the driveway, I'd pop out of the garage and start up the chainsaw, it was awesome!!! The funny thing is parents were encouraging me to scare their kids, even real young ones that. The parents loved it and they took pictures, the kids probably went home and had nightmares. Yes, I know I'm deranged. I don't know how I'm going to top that performance.
Battie
post #14  on August 18, 2005 - 6:59 PM PDT  
> On August 18, 2005 - 4:15 PM PDT sir78billy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I love Halloween time!!!! I'm 26 and I always dress up to scare the kiddies. I used to drive in my car, real slow by the trick or treaters, blasting the Halloween theme and wearing a Michael Myers mask!!! I did that for a couple years, thankfully nobody ever called the police on me. Last year I dressed up as Leatherface. I tacked a white sheet over the garage, and would hide in there, with a real chainsaw (removed the blade of course). The kids would go by the garage, to the door, where my Mom was passing out candy. When they turned around to come back down the driveway, I'd pop out of the garage and start up the chainsaw, it was awesome!!! The funny thing is parents were encouraging me to scare their kids, even real young ones that. The parents loved it and they took pictures, the kids probably went home and had nightmares. Yes, I know I'm deranged. I don't know how I'm going to top that performance.
> ---------------------------------

Lmfao!! I'll do that one day, but it won't be in my neighborhood, since no one trick or treats down here. :P There are better pickin's in different neighborhoods!

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