Holy crap! Everyone lock up your Dawn of the DeadDVDs and Poltergeist posters! The horror genre is dying ... again! Yes, our beloved horror is easily the most "cyclical" of all the movie genres, and by that I mean this: it took musicals and pirate movies decades to reinvent themselves, yet horror seems to do it every five or six years. One minute J-horror is all the craze, and then we're briefly awash in monster movies, and then come the slasher throwbacks, and next we'll see a resurgence of (yep) zombies. Again. And as these various sub-generes wax and wane in popularity and profitability, we'll of course get our yearly recommended allowance of remakes, rip-offs, and PG-13-flavored cinematic wankery.

The reason I even bring it up is because of this interesting piece (written by The Newark Examiner's Mark Jones) and this equally compelling response by Dread Central's Andrew Kasch. My main gripe with Jones' piece is that all of his complaints are applicable to big-budget flicks only. His example of I Am Legend (for its sloppy CG) only serves to illustrate how rare the "studio" horror flick actually is. Mr. Kasch, on the other hand, seems like he'd send Mr. Jones a care package full of Martyrs and Grace DVDs. And frankly I'm tired of people dismissing Hostel as "gore only," dammit. Trim the nasty stuff down and it's still a pretty creepy concept.

And as far as the demise of horror is concerned, Andrew knows what's up. The ups and downs of "studio" horror may be very unpredictable indeed, but if you know where to look, there are always good horror options on the indie, foreign, and festival circuits. Always. In this particular genre, the trend-setters are almost always the little guys. The studios generally just wait to jump on their successes. (Still ... it woulda been nice for Drag Me to Hell to do a little better in its opening weekend. Darnit.)

Discussion point: If horror is dying, what should we do with the six or seven damn good flicks that are on the way?
categories Features, Horror