Technology, realism and gore behind changing Halloween film trends
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 11:10
In a list of top-rated horror movies Rotten Tomatoes, an online film database, none of the top 10 were made in the past decade. Of the 100 films on the list, 19 are from the past 10 years. Many of the 19 are not traditional horror movies, but are geared towards children or are black comedies. Students in the Reel Productions Film Society say that each era has a new way of showing horror.
Senior Muriel Palanca, the vice president of Reel Productions Film Society says she thinks horror movies have evolved and no era is necessarily better than another. She says the good horror movies have a story beneath the scares but some films just rely on gore and jump scares, where something pops out at the audience.
“They’ve evolved to incorporate taste and culture,” Palanca says. “Hollywood caters to what people want.”
Will Goldman, publicity chair for Reel Productions Film Society says he took a class on horror movies that covered films from the ’30s to the present. He says in the ’80s the idea of conservative horror was developed, where the outsiders in society were killed first. So the promiscuous girl or the stoner guy would die first since they were socially unacceptable, Goldman says. He says this led the way for slasher movies.
Goldman says that in the ’90s many generic slasher and supernatural movies came to the stage. However in the 2000s he says he saw two movie trends take place including more realism and gore. The first was realistic torture movies like the “Saw” franchise and “Hostile.” He says some of these movies had strong underlying messages that create a richer story while others rely on cheap scares and gore.
Palanca says she thinks students and viewers are desensitized to scary movies due to the prevalence of gore. She says gore is the easy way out, especially since our generation is so accustomed to it.
“As technology and the visuals get better, the story gets lost,” Palanca says.
Goldman says filmmakers may use gore to substitute for an actual scary movie by using shock factor to get a reaction. Goldman says an old argument against technology in film was that the gore would become too realistic and so primal that it would distract the audience from thinking about the movie.
Goldman also says gore has become so prevalent because we are desensitized to the shock factor of it. He says back in the 50s actually showing violence was new. Now films make up for the lack of shock of violence by showing it multiple times to make it original.
“Society is letting them get away with making really graphic films, so they’re much more realistic,” Goldman says. “A lot of early horror was much more implied stuff. Like Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” You never see what the birds do, you just see the aftermath.”