Smoke Signals

The Issues With Horror Films of Today

Courtesy+of+Slashfilm.com
Courtesy of Slashfilm.com

Courtesy of Slashfilm.com

Courtesy of Slashfilm.com

Zack Allen, Staff Writer

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  “Tis the season,” as they say, for horror films. Because it is Spooktober, I was able to view a true horror classic in theaters: The Shining made by film genius Stanley Kubrick. After beginning to write my own horror film and finally watching The Shining, I realized that I have developed a big issue with most horror films.

  Most horror films just seem like some crappy movie slapped together with boring underdeveloped characters and some crumby jumpscare. While studying horror films to begin development on my own, I watched The Nun, based on James Wan’s horror franchise. Never had I been more disappointed in a movie; it had bad characters and relied too much on jump scares. The film failed to scare me and was a failure in every way, except for the set design.

  When I saw The Shining, it was finally a horror movie worth watching. It made me think about what was happening, the characters were relatable, and you could see Jack Nicholson’s character slowly become taken over by the secluded hotel’s dark presence. The amazing shots crafted by Kubrick give such a big sense of emotion most films do not give. There is a sort of uneasiness given by everything from the performances, to the patterned carpet, and even to the way the camera follows the character Danny as he rides his big wheel through the Overlook Hotel.

  Now what about The Shining relates to modern horror films? Let me retort with, how does it not relate? The Shining did not use a single jumpscare and yet I was still on the edge of my seat. If anything I was more anxious than in any modern horror film.

  I even saw the new Halloween on October 24th and although I enjoyed it, it suffered from some of the same issues most horror films nowadays do. Besides Jamie Lee Curtis’ and Judy Greer’s characters, most of the people in the film were underdeveloped; they were all just cannon fodder for Michael Myers. The jumpscares in the film were not oversaturated, but my main issue comes from characters.

  Jumpscares, if done right, are okay, but if the protagonist is less developed than a supporting character, there is an an issue. The monsters in horror films can only be as good as their prey. The audience needs to care about the characters who are going to be killed, but most horror films do not give that anymore.

  The Shining is a superior film to many of these new films for many more reasons than just characters, but it is a big issue. Maybe it is just that we need more imagination into what is scaring us, much like in The Babadook, which had the audience use their imaginations for most of the film, as the creature is only shown a couple of times.

  Many things need to change in most horror films; however, changes start from the audience. If viewers give bad reviews or better yet, do not watch these bad horror films, maybe horror movies can begin to make a change.

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Zack Allen, Staff Writer

Zack Allen is a Staff Writer for Smoke Signals and a junior at West High. On top of that, he is a member of Play Production and the Vice President of Film...

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The Issues With Horror Films of Today