As Halloween approaches, I am given constant reminders of why it is my favorite holiday. Even as a kid when free candy reigned supreme, I have always loved horror. Horror movies, horror video games, horror books, etc., I have always loved it. I once got in trouble in fifth grade for bringing a Stephen King book to school. My friends and I used to rent a new horror movie every weekend growing up. I even used to get mad at kids who didn’t dress up as something scary for Halloween, telling myself they didn’t have true Halloween spirit or something silly like that. The bottom line is I loved getting scared and being scared and usually a good horror movie is the best way to do it. But the approaching Halloween has given me another realization: I haven’t been scared in a while. Now I’ll admit a part of this should be attributed to me just being older. My fears have gone from the irrational fears of my childhood to my far more rational fears of the real world. Masked men, ghosts, and monsters don’t scare me nearly as much as figuring out how I’m going to pay my bills or being able to get a job outside of college. But a part of me is a bit disappointed that most things popular culture decided was “scary” don’t register with me. In the past five years I can list every horror movie I have enjoyed on probably one hand, and in the past year could probably only name Ti West’s “The Innkeepers” as a good horror movie.
And now we are well into October and all but probably the biggest horror movies of the year have been released. Make no mistake, the “Paranormal Activity” movies are a lot better to deal with every year than a new “Saw,” but something about the continuation of the series brings more problems to the forefront. How do we keep this fresh every year? How do we delve into more of the backstory without making the movies less scary through familiarity? I already know the ghost can drag people down halls, how are you going to top that one? I will give the “Paranormal Activity” movies some credit. At least they have pacing, something most horror films forget you need to have for the film to work, but the theater-going experience was one of the worst I have ever had. I will never get people who pay money to essentially talk to friends and check their cell phone in a room where no one else wants them to do it.
I’ll admit, I could just be waxing nostalgia for the time when I wasn’t desensitized to horror movies in general or maybe I need to be looking elsewhere than mainstream Hollywood for my horror fix, I just wish there were more options than the latest found footage exorcism movie.
BY ZACK WEBSTER firstname.lastname@example.org