I assure you, I'm not dead. After an extremely difficult two months, I have finally found the time and energy to dive back into the blogosphere. I apologize for the 2 month gap in posts, however, this has not been a break from horror (oh, no). I have had a lot of time to sit and contemplate my love for the genre, the state of the genre itself and taking a break from reviewing was good for me in that instance. This will be more of an introspective post, while I have taken a break from posting, my head has still been in the loop and several articles that I have seen (from large and reputable publications) about the state of horror following the release of Devil's Due and Oculus has prompted me to share my thoughts regarding the current state of horror.
One of my main loves of this genre is the community that embodies it. This is a genre made of die hard fans who live and breathe the mayhem and bloodshed. They love the good, they hate the bad, and no matter what, they will be fans from now until the day they die. These fans know, much like I do, that horror is a living breathing entity, and much like anything else, it has its ups and its downs. I believe right now that horror is in a state of hibernation, which happens every 5 years or so. There are fads that come along, and after a few years everything becomes stale or old; every idea is recycled and every story is told in a thousand different ways. Then we reach a point where the genre seems to be lying in wait for the next big movement to come along, we head underground and lie in wait.
This year we are coming into the 10 year anniversary of the birth of one of those fads, a new sub-genre that changed everything. When Saw was released in October of 2004, it took not only the horror world by storm, but the entire film world as well. The ensuing blood bath was entitled gore porn, or torture porn, a sub-genre that was strengthened by the release of Hostel a few months later. Practical effects were back in full effect, the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, Wolf Creek and more all showcased bloody and violent deaths before people grew weary of the on-screen savagery. Saw began to suffer from franchise fatigue by entry number 4, Eli Roth went on a self imposed sabbatical after the way Hostel II was treated by the MPAA, and horror fell into a state of wait. At that point, something had to change and the horror world was shaken apart again in 2009 by the release of Paranormal Activity, a massively over-hyped film in my opinion. The slew of found footage films that were ushered in by the dam breaking success of PA was overwhelming, and one of the biggest cash grabs by major studios in horror history.
In my humble opinion, the past 5 years have been a sad time for major horror releases, and while there are exceptions to every rule, I stand by that statement. We see the cycle yet again. The PA films, while a couple of the sequels were solid films, has given into franchise fatigue, and the studios continue to pump out formulaic found footage films that audiences have grown weary of. The cow has been milked dry, and we wait for the next movement to come along. While there have always been formulaic horror films being churned out on low budgets to make a quick buck, I am very excited to see the next wave of horror and what it holds for the fans. While I thank god for horror's illustrious past, I have become exhausted by the seemingly horrible and tired films that continue to come out on a predictable schedule and it poor fashion. I view this time as the "great depression" of horror the world.
While there have been some great horror films to receive major distribution in the past few years (i.e. The Conjuring, Evil Dead and You're Next) I am glad that James Wan has retired, it is time for someone else to come along, and I have my hopes placed in the hands of Ti West and the mumblegore crew. While the past few years have seemed a little meek, there has been so many wonderful films to never see the silver light and that is where the true hope of horror lies these days. It is a bit saddening though, that the true fans know the genre is alive and well, while the mainstream audience thinks that it's a dying genre. I do believe that the genre's next big star will rise from this independent movement, however, as I mentioned I believe Ti West and the Mumblegore guys could be the ones to do it.
Horror is my great and long love, and honey, I'm ready for you to make your grand re-debut. Until then, I'm sticking to your classics, to your underground stories of despair and death, and I only hope that you make that re-entrance very soon. It's time for you to show the world that you still got it, because we all know you do. I know that you have great things on the horizon, and I'll be here waiting to see what you've got.
- Rg Lovecraft