The horror genre has become cliché. It’s just the same fucking movie over and over again. Sometimes you get an original flick, like 28 Days Later, with its mid-movie twist of like-I’m-gonna-tell-you. But for the most part, it’s pretty much the same movie, remade fifty time. That was the whole premise of Scream, the film that quantified the genre rules by outright stating them.
The fact is, if someone manages to define genre rules, it’s officially cliché. This is especially bad when it comes to horror, which, for the most part, relies on the unexpected.
Even the monsters have become cliché. No matter what film you’re talking about, there are only a few options for antagonists: Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies. No one’s come up with anything more unique. Okay, there are also serial killers, but that’s not from anyone’s imagination, those already exist. The most unique thing anyone’s done with serial killers is give them super-murder-powers, but they’re still just serial killers.
The unoriginality of horror films doesn’t really surprise me though. I recently tried a bit of a thought experiment to come up with a new horror monster by starting with a base fear. Obviously it would be something that wants you dead, for some reason. Biologically those reasons could only be for reproduction or nutrition. Otherwise why would they give a fuck? They would be fast, and stealthy and basically the perfect warrior, and typically attack in massive numbers. To a certain extent, this fits zombies to a tee. Zombies are based on a basic primal fear, one that is likely universal in the truest sense of the word.
But perhaps one could take the zombie model and throw it in a new direction, like space. Unfortunately, that has also been done, by Ridley Scott in Alien. Continue reading →