This blog started as a list of things I hate in a horror movies. But as it has evolved I can't escape the feeling that what I've written may in fact be a list of things that define a horror movie. I began with the question: what makes a good horror flick? I suppose the answer to this is different for everyone. For me a horror film should be just as the genre suggests: horrifying, scary, suspenseful even. Or... have I just crossed over into the genre of a thriller and am I actually answering the question: what makes a horror flick? I'll let you decide.
Things I hate in horror movies in the order they are most likely to appear on screen:
Paranoia as a way to build or create suspense.
Because it doesn't. Whether it's a slow creep towards a door usually with an object shaking in hand or the quick turn to look at ---- nothing. All this has ever accomplished for me is to make the pacing feel slow and monotonous.
Quick Starts or Jumpy Scares
Most often created with the sudden crescendo and dramatic stop of sound. String instruments being the worst of these, artificial wind sounds the best though I hate them all. I'll readily admit that I jump and my heart leaps to a race... but I'm not scared! I'm pissed off. I don't like being startled. I find it annoying, manipulative and cheap more than anything else. Being startled is a reflexive action that, no matter how closely related it may to fear be, is in fact not fear.
Boobies as a marketing tool.
I'm not anti-boobs. In fact, I love boobies. If it makes sense for the boobies to be there, then that's fine but boobies that are there because they are boobies and boobies are awesome just isn't a good enough reason for me. Mostly because boobs aren't scary, but also because I find the idea of males aged 13 - 34 finding both fodder and time to yank one out during a horror film highly disturbing.
While technically these are rare in horror films, and tend to occur almost exclusively in action adventure movies, I hate them so much I feel they are worth mentioning here. This is any monster or creature that roars/screams, typically while breaking the forth wall, typically with the camera pointed directly into their mouth, typically making the exact same fucking noise as every single other creature that does this...
Gore. Or more specifically, pointless bloody gore.
I'll concede that some people find blood and gore to be truly terrifying. I am not one of these people. For me, there is a fine line between scary blood and gore and stupid blood and gore, which is only lacking in intentional exaggeration to make it comedic blood and gore. For me, once you've past scary you might as well go all the way to comedic, because stupid is just... well... stupid.
This section could also be titled, Effects Failures: The worst of the worst.
Naturally this includes any prosthetic appliances that looks and moves like a prosthetic appliances. Realism is always better, more exciting and more frightening than plastic imitation, especially in the realms of the fantastical. Included in prosthetics, but worthy of it's own category because I hate them that much: Big "scary" smiles. With lots of teeth. Usually pointy and when appearing on a creature they are often dripping with goo. Not because it makes sense for them to be dripping with goo, but because goo is gross.
This brings us around to Fangoria Fanatics. Really, pointless bloody gore, "scary" smiles, goo for the sake of goo and Fangoria fanatics go hand in hand in skeleton hand. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing Fangoria - it is after all the premiere horror and special effects make-up magazine. My complaint is directed to the special effects make-up artists impassioned with scary sculptures. Big "scary" smile addicts typically, who just don't get that less can be more. I'm convinced these sad saps have drained vein more than a few times with that mag as their porn. They often find the need to pay homage to their paper girlfriends by slipping a copy of Fangoria into a scene of their film, as if to announce that bad special effects are just around the corner.... and they're about to cum.
This being a horror movie rather than a porn, cum will be played by blood that makes no sense. Typically this is just blood overkill but can also include a general lack of understanding of blood. For starters, blood behaves more like whole milk than it does corn syrup or juice. Also, exsanguination does not entail loosing every drop of blood in a person's body. And lastly, blood isn't sticky, it doesn't stain skin, it doesn't dry shiny and it never climbs up nonporous surfaces.
I'm not talking about the cliche'd horror movie endings, however anything so poorly executed that I knew exactly what was coming five minutes after the film started gets an honorable mention here. The ones I really hate, are the overly abrupt endings. The worst are the everyone dies abrupt endings, but every thing is now fixed runs a close second. It's like the entire creative force behind the story prematurely gave up and blew it's....