The Sad State of Horror

This last weekend brought both joy and horror to the North American Box Office for us horror fans. On the one hand, a berated genre film overcame the odds and triumphed at the box office, coming at number one over some fairly stiff opposition. On the other hand, this mainstream triumph is a piece of shit film that no genre fan would actually want to see. Unfortunately, it's untimely success may have far reaching consequences.

The movie I speak of is Prom Night, the neutered, PG-13 bastard remake of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis classic. Its first weekend managed to pull in a fairly impressice $20.8 million dollar haul, opening against the high expectations cop-thriller Street Kings which came in second with a paltry $12 million. This is a wonderful success for the genre, one that I would hate to belittle, but-

Well, I have to.

Seriously, America? This? Prom Night? You choose this steaming piece of shit as the shining example of genre film to place on a pedestal, for all films for the next year and a half to emulate?

Sorry. Let me calm down for a moment.

Nope, still angry.

Okay. I think that's got it.

Seriously? This is the type of horror that you want to see? The problem with the success of this movie is that Hollywood executives across the city saw the numbers and developed instant profit-induced boners. Each and every one of those asshole now thinks that shot on the cheap, shitty remakes is what Joe-public wants to see. Awesome. So next year when I'm watching PG-13 versions of the Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, and Friday the 13th remakes, I'll know who to blame.

All of you*.

I have a deep rooted dislike for PG-13 horror movies, especially when they're remakes of R-rated ones. True, if those classic originals were to be released today, they'd likely have lower ratings, perhaps even PG-13. The rating system has adapted over time, and more things are deemed acceptable by today's standards. I'm okay with that. My problem is that these remakes that opt for the audience friendly PG-13 rating aren't staying true to the spirit of the original.

The original films were rated R because, for their time, they pushed the envelope. The movies are great because they made people uncomfortable. That's the point of horror films. You're supposed to be scared. You're supposed to be on edge. You're supposed to be dreading what comes next. Your dread, your fear, your excitement compels you to continue watching, to see how it ends. These classic films are classics because they challenged the standards of the day, they showed you images that you couldn't believe they would show you. This is the reason why these films are still remembered. You can't water down the experience and expect the same societal and pop cultural reaction.

My problem with these PG-13 remakes is they settle for appeasing the status quo. They don't challenge the audience. If regular horror is incapable of being high art (a view I also disagree with), then these films are simply epic failures of the form.

You fail, Prom Night. You fail.

*And by you, I don't mean *you*, gentle reader. I mean mainstream America. Thanks a lot, guys.


Anonymous said...

yep totally agree with you. but you failed to mention that the remake has nothing to do with the original and that goes for the remake of april fools day and probably My bloody valentine 3D

Anonymous said...

also wanna be that the hellraiser and friday the 13th will have jason and pinhead as main characters?