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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1957597-Why-Horror-Evolves
by JamesH
Rated: E · Other · Opinion · #1957597
My first editorial, in honor of Halloween. Expect these between new chapters of GS
Okay, so, since I'm only uploading chapters of Genre Shift (which you should all go read) every two weeks, on off weeks I've decided I'm gonna do brief, opinionated editorials. So, we're going to have an intelligent discussion. No, not really; I'm gonna rant and you're gonna read. Deal with it.

In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd ask a very simple question: why do horror movies change so much? Why is it that something like 1956's "The Blob", was considered horrifying when it was first released, but these days is a bit of a joke? The simple answer is because people changed, so what scares them changed. But why's that?

To put simply, it's most likely because the threats people deal with have changed. In 1956, the Cold War was at its height, and everyone was terrified of total destruction. So, the idea of some unstoppable entity literally falling from the sky without warning and destroying everything in sight might rattle the bones. Just put Steve McQueen in it and you're good.

Let's see what we're dealing in 2013, though: hmm, well, dwindling resources, climate change, and overpopulation certainly come to mind. So what monster could we film to scare the bejeezus out of audiences dealing with that on a regular- BRAINS! I mean seriously, people actually wonder why zombies are so popular these days?

Here in the United States, we're dealing with government corruption and distrust, bigotry, religious fundamentalist nuts, increased domestic violence and- say, you know, I think that guy Kevin Smith made this movie called "Red State" that covers all of that pretty much all of that at length.

So as the world changes, our fears change accordingly. Horror evolves with the world around it. We're not scared of "The Blob" anymore because, the ravings of a certain nutjob North Korean tyrant aside, nuclear war isn't too much of a threat anymore. But this raises another question: if so scared of these things, we are going to movie theaters and paying to experience them. Well, I think its to get a sense of reassurance. If we can go and watch the things we're afraid of onscreen, then, at least for a little while, we can trick ourselves into believing we'd be able to deal with them if, God forbid, we ever had to deal with them in real life. Naturally, only so many people have that mindset, which is why horror movies have limited fan bases of like-minded individuals.

Look, I'm not saying you need to go watch every zombie movie ever made to cope with world we live in (in fact, please don't, there's some really crappy ones out there). What I'm saying is, yeah, go watch a scary movie. Freak yourself out a little bit. You might actually come out the other end a more well-adjusted person.

Happy Halloween, see you next time.
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