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by Jaime Fernandez (Follow him on Twitter @J_Fernz)
Sung by Lionel Ritchie
I first became a fan of horror movies as a young boy. While other kids were playing in the park or following a strange looking man into his van, I was in front of the TV watching scary movie marathons without adult supervision. I officially fell in love with the genre the first time I saw pea soup being hurled from a young Linda Blair’s mouth.
From then on I was having nightmares on Elm Street, wearing hockey masks on Friday the 13th, and escaping mental institutions on Halloween (OK…I only did that once).
My viewing options weren’t just limited to the “psychos who kill teenagers while they have sex” sub-genre of horror films. I also collected stacks of bootleg videos with classic horror from Japan, France, and Germany* (*only their porn). But as I’ve gotten older and, hopefully wiser, I feel the need to let the Gwyneth Paltrow head out of the box: HORROR MOVIES ARE NOT SCARY ANYMORE!
Sure, the occasional film will have a moment that makes me jump out of my seat (and makes my date get up from her seat because she doesn’t want to sit next to the “crazy seat jumping guy”). But like William Shakespeare probably would say today if he wasn’t dead, “A couple of good scenes does NOT maketh a good movie.” The good news is that I have a few suggestions on how to improve the genre I fell in love with as a socially awkward child:
1. KEEP THE KIDS OUT OF IT!- Why is it that every horror movie nowadays uses a creepy looking kid as its main plot device? I hate the moment in every trailer when the movie looks promising and then an elderly British actor reveals that the family’s son or daughter (biological, adopted, or imaginary) is either a murderer, possessed by the dead spirit of a murderer, or just likes screaming the word ”murder” in public places. Really? The same child actor I saw on an episode of i-CARLY* is supposed to terrify me? (* I do not watch i-CARLY) Then, they give the possessed little brat a gimmicky catchphrase/warning that they’ll replay constantly on all the TV commercials like, “Don’t fall asleep!” OR “Don’t stay awake!” OR “Don’t jump in the pool after eating a big meal!“
After that, they stick the pale-faced kid in front of the movie poster to make the film seem spooky, but it just ends up looking like a really serious OshKosh B’Gosh ad. So, to summarize: keep kids out of our horror movies! (The one exception is demonic babies. I can never get enough of those!)
2. ENOUGH WITH THE FAKE SCARES!- You know what I’m typing about. That moment in the horror movie when a character SNEAKS up on another character and you think it’s the killer. Or someone opens a closet door and a cat JUMPS out but you think it’s the killer. Or, someone is about to put ketchup on their sandwich and they keep hitting the bottle as hard as they can but the only thing that comes out is that gross ketchup juice that drips out when the ketchup is stuck all the way in the bottom of the bottle and then suddenly the ketchup SQUIRTS out the bottle…and you think it’s the killer.
I always feel like directors are being too cute with these cheesy scare tactics. Real horror fans can predict when these “fake-outs” are gonna happen. The only people that get frightened by this overused technique are super attractive girls who are scared of everything who immediately jump into the arms of the guy closest to them never letting them go until the end of the movie when they ask the guy to stay over their place for the night because they might have nightmares of that ”scary ketchup scene.” So, in conclusion: we should definitely add MORE fake scares to horror movies.
3. TORTURE PORN DOES NOT SCARE ME OR TURN ME ON. SO WHY DOES IT EXIST? AM I RIGHT, PEOPLE WHO ARE READING THIS? AM. I. RIGHT? ANSWER ME!!!- I think the long title of this suggestion makes it clear how much I hate what has come to be known as torture porn, AKA any SAW movie OR any movie by the creators of SAW OR any movie by people who have seen SAW. I like gore just as much as the next guy but I don’t want to watch a ten minute scene of someone’s penis getting cut off. THAT’S DISGUSTING! Now, a five-minute scene of someone’s penis getting cut off I can handle.
4. DEATH FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY?- In the 1980′s it seemed like every horror movie was rated R. And not just a harmless rated R. No, these films are what people in the industry call a “hard R” or “erect R.” They used curse words like ”mothersexer” and “crap face” (I don’t know a lot of curse words) and had cool things like nudity, drug use and animal cruelty. In this day and age if you even hint at kicking a puppy in a film they slap an NC-17 on it. It’s not right! And lately they don’t even have the balls to make a less ballsy rated R flick. So we’re stuck with PG-13 horror flicks for the tween market* (*kids 9-14 years old who want to have sex with vampires).
All the cool deaths happen off-screen while all the poorly written dialogue is awkwardly performed onscreen by an actor who I’ve probably seen before in an episode of The Suite Life With Zack and Cody* (* I do not watch The Suite Life With Zack and Cody.)
Oh yeah, and it’s probably shot in 3D which stands for 3 Dollars added to your ticket! So I’m paying fifteen bucks for no naked chicks, no coke snorted off naked chicks, and no kittens getting roughed up. What a rip-off! Oh, and you don’t get to see anything ripped off in the movie either!
5. THE CURSE OF THE FOUND FOOTAGE or “DID THIS REALLY HAPPEN?” ASKED THE STUPID MOVIEGOER. - Where is everybody finding all this scary ”real-life” footage from anyway? Are there really videos that exist of a monster that attacks New York City, a witch that hangs out in the middle of the woods, and a paranormal spirit that likes to sneak into bedrooms of boring white couples? Evidently, in the horror movie universe, there are tons of these videos that the government or some other secret organization is keeping from us. And yet they keep ending up in our multiplexes. I hope eventually someone puts the camera down and just runs the f-ck away from this “real life” event so we can be done with this repetitive way of storytelling. But until then, I just found a wedding video of a zombie mother-in-law eating the brains of everyone on the groom’s side of the family! Do you smell box office hit???
For more J_Fernz silliness (AKA, funniness – is that a word? Must be, because it was not underlined in blood) be sure to check out the PB & J Show where Jaime teams up with his buddy Pete Bune and provide for some hilarious talk radio and sketches! Just click on the lonk to be taken to their iTunes Page.