I don’t get it. I haven’t seen a good horror movie in years. And it’s not for lack of trying. Is it just me? Have I become so old and jaded that the creepy stuff doesn’t do anything for me anymore? Or have the movies simply become that bad?
I suppose I should give an example.
I recently watched the re-make of Evil Dead. Now, I want to say at the outset that I’d put off watching this re-make because I’d watched the original back in the eighties…and didn’t care much for it then, either. So, if I didn’t care for the original (so-called) classic, why in the world would I want to watch a re-make of it?
Don’t get me wrong. This thing was well-made. God knows I’ve seen some really horribly made horror movies over the years. Hell Night always comes immediately to mind. It’s an old Linda Blair movie, and there’s a scene where you see the boom mic at the top of the frame as plain as day. Was the editor asleep at the wheel? Or did they really say, “Ah, we don’t have to money to re-shoot that scene. Just leave it in. They’ll never notice it.”
I bet you haven’t even heard of that movie, have you? Well, now you know why.
As for this new Evil Dead, the acting was good, the production values were spot on, the effects very believable. Unfortunately, as all the blood and demon voices and gore and heroic last-ditch action was going on, I spent the entire movie asking myself, “Why do I care?”
Okay, they had a decent premise. Group of friends are in the cabin in the woods (the movie of that name actually made me sit up and take notice because of its premise; if you haven’t seen it, go get it) for a logical reason: one of them is a drug addict and they want to clean her up. She doesn’t seem quite as willing to clean up as they are to clean her up, but that’s life. Makes it bit more believable.
It also helps me believe she’d be the one most receptive to being possessed by a demon bent on destruction. Going through the throes of withdrawal would tend to make one weak to outside influences.
But despite all this, I just couldn’t drum up any sympathy for all these people. Maybe it’s that they’re so young and I don’t really relate to that anymore. I’d hate to think that was the case. Or maybe it’s just that I can’t put much credence to their supernatural troubles. Or maybe the writers gave a couple of the characters—the drug addict and her brother especially—a few too many flaws and brought me to the point of, “Hey, give in and die already.”
And yet, I kept watching it, just to see how it turned out. Would everybody die? Well, I guess you could say I had a professional interest—as a writer—in seeing how it all turned out. But I spent pretty much the entire movie impatiently waiting for it to end. I thought about fast-fowarding through it a couple of times, but I didn’t want to miss any possible nuances.
Of course, I needn’t have worried.
In the end, I think it’s probably a combination of the reasons I mentioned at the beginning of this post: I’m old and jaded and the movies aren’t as good. Especially the ones that rely on supernatural elements of possession and such. For reasons I won’t go into here, I have trouble putting stock into that kind of stuff being a major worry, so feeling sympathy for characters who get caught up in it is hard for me.
And, probably, I’ve just watched far too many of those kinds of movies by now. They have nothing left to offer me. I see all the similarities in them, the shared elements that have been repeated so many times I’ve lost count.
So if you like these kinds of movies—and seeing as how you can still pick up magazines like Fangoria there have to be a lot of people who do still like them—don’t take offense. I’m not denigrating you for liking them. Be warned, though, that you might reach the same jaded place in life that I am, and you’ll have to find something new to love.
Like, maybe, writing stories of your own. Play it right, you might be the next Stephen King.