By Dr. Joel Lopez
What’s your favorite scary movie? I love that line from “Scary Movie,” and surely many of you can answer that question without hesitation. The rest of us need to think about it, make multiples lists by genders, eras, directors, among other factors, and then start narrowing it down, in the end, with any luck we may end up with 3 or 4. It can be hard if you love the genre as a whole. Some of my colleagues agree that horror equals slashers ( “Friday the 13th”, “Halloween”), others define it as a mystery ( “Rear Window,” “The Shining” ). There are too many factors to consider that are valid and worthy of discussion and others that… Well, we’ll see. Let us conversate to answer ( or try ) the question.
What made a movie into a horror movie?
It is an average night, you have some free time, made some popcorn, got you a bottle of soda, sat down in your most comfy pajamas and log in to your favorite streaming service. With the intention of finding that missing horror movie that scaped your radar or any other, you did not even know existed. As you browse the horror section, you encounter your first roadblock. Do I feel like I want to see something on the Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick side? You start thinking “The Birds,” “Phycho,” “Vertigo,” “Rear Window,” and you remember that “Bates Motel” is a nice series and can be an option. Maybe you can go for something more bloody, less mental, and search for the “Other” horror flicks. “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Friday the 13th” immediately come to mind, and you can end up watching from “Jeepers Creepers” to “Aliens” to any B, C, D or Z low budget slasher picture out there. We can like one style more than the other, or just one, however, we can agree we are talking about horror movies, they are created with the intention of delivering the following. According to the definition of Horror Genre on Wikipedia.com: Horror is a genre of fiction which is intended to or can frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Here is the link to a great montage.
It feels good now that we know we are all right, I don’t know about you, but I will finally be able to sleep better. Back to your movie selection, you know what a horror film is and as you resume browsing titles like “Scary Movie,” “Sharknado,” “The Walking Deceased,” just to mention 3 out of dozens if not hundreds. Those are comedies and parodies with no real intentions to fit as a horror film. Worst yet if you go and brows comedy, action or Sci-Fi, and you will find the same movies on your search, just like the obnoxious classmate nobody want to be assigned to work on a project.
I know the majority of you know the differences we covered here. Last time I asked your suggestions for movies and directors to dismember. I got great ones. However, some of my friends asked me about movies that are not even close to making into the definition of the horror genre, as I try to explain they all argue the same “The XXXX movie is under Horror on my XXXX streaming service so it must be horror.” Now we can judge by logic and definition to make sense about what takes for a horror movie to win that name. As we move forward dismembering films and directors, I feel that some questions should be answered and some issues explore in a way we can all move on a pleasant journey learning from each other. As new friends join us, the will have this references along with your comments as a guide to get up to speed.