Forget blessing America...God bless horror movies

Posted by Tim Posada On 1:22 AM
I just watched The Descent again with one of my room ates and his girlfriend. Some people hated this film, but true movie lovers and fans of horror saw that it was an important contemporary film that gives hope to the future of horror. With Halloween coming up, more films are showing their colours (which are normally red 'cause, ya know...blood). I am so excited about two in particular: 30 Days of Night and Saw IV. 30 Days of Night is about a small community in Alaska that must survive the 30 days of night when the last remaining vampires in the world have come out to feed. I love vampires. Blade, Dracula, and Buffy are just a few of the blood-thirsty friends I've made over the many years of this fascination...and, I dare say, fetish. 30 Days of Night is also created by the same writer/director team that created the disturbing and uncomfortable film Hard Candy. Such genius team of arthouse filmmakers are the perfect editions to the vampire metanarrative.

I know that Saw IV is a different story. I am constantly given shit for my love for these gore-graphic films. But I am drawn to them. There is something going on in them that hasn't happened in the horror films of the past. Racial and gender stereotypes are being questioned. Moral issues are being updated. And predictability is becoming less obvious (though, obviously, not gone). But even more than that, the Saw franchise has done something all other franchises have not. They are a continuing story. Author Steven Johnson discusses how TV is proof that people are getting smarter. Shows like Battlestar Galactica, 24, Lost, and Heroes require people to continually tune in. More is required of the viewer than an inconsistent commitment. To get the story you have see it from the beginning. The Saw films are doing that. Of course they are not perfect films, but they are the first series of films to expect more from their viewers. Characters return and ambiguous moments from other films are explained. They are first horror films, but they forcing the genre to become smarter. I say "forcing" because the Saw franchises' success cannot be ignored. Gory movies making over $100 million each is not normal. They are soon to become the most profitable franchise passing up Freddy, Jason, Michael, Leatherface, and, the most profitable before Saw, Scream.

If horror movies are getting smarter, what does that say about the rest of pop culture. I am rather excited to see where things go. Granted reality TV is still mind-fucking the intelligence out of everyone and MTV is truly doing their best to make the most money at their worst, but the power of the cultural underdog just might overtake some of the giants.

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