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Author Topic: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror  (Read 13092 times)

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Offline Dragoro

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Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« on: September 15, 2009, 12:47:15 AM »
Vampires are now lovable creatures. Uh huh what?  Zombies are now humorous? (idiotic zombie film coming out starring woody harrelson (why am I know surprised)). Brooks putting out WWZ and then putting out a funny about zombies. We went from cheap horror of stuff like friday the 13th, nightmare on elm street, to another joke of underworld and hell boy, to what now? The only decent movie I know of in recent years is the Unborn, and thats only if ya use your imagination to add in what the director took out.

In my opinion, at least with the established authors that can make their own way, they need to start plowin the path for others and start putting out truly original stuff and truly horrifying stuff. King did it for himself, and a ton followed in his footsteps. Someone needs to do it again, not that I can say who. Wish it was me that could, but I think its going to be someone that already knows that they can, and just needs a nudge to do it. Here's hoping someone gives them that nudge.
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Offline Ed

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 02:24:17 AM »
I agree about vampires - they've become too soft and cultured. It's a bit like starting out with a butchered cow and ending up with an innocuous and flavourless McDonald's patty to present to the general public with a clown's grin. Don't worry folks - no animals were hurt during the making of this burger ::)

Have to admit I liked Shaun of the Dead, though. I think there's a place for all things in the genre, but the problem with it is the definition of horror is something that elicits that feeling in the person watching/reading/listening to it, and in many cases that's been lost, so even if it's labeled as horror, by definition it no longer is horror. There's also a crossover into things not regarded as horror. One that springs to mind is I watched the tail end of a Cohen Brothers film at the weekend, and in that you see Brad Pitt grinning out of a wardrobe one second and then shot in the forehead the next. Later in the film you see a guy hacked to death with an axe by John Malkovich. Both scenes more horrific than any episode of Buffy.

So I suppose though things that are outwardly horror aren't, other things that aren't labeled as horror, are, so there's a kind of absurd and ironic balance there :scratch:
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Offline Pharosian

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2009, 08:31:21 AM »
You don't say what you think constitutes good horror, but I think a lot of the blame goes to the improvement in special effects. As Hollywood became better and better at depicting gore fests in a realistic manner, the emphasis on story was lost. And while visuals are certainly important, they can become a distraction. Hitchcock was a master at keeping an audience on the edge of their seats without resorting to gore.

So on the one hand, you've got escalating special effects to make sicker visuals, and on the other hand, you've got an attempt to bring more people (women) into the theaters because let's face it, the number of people who really enjoy hard-core horror is a small percentage compared to those who enjoy a good summer blockbuster or Christmas feelgood movie. If the producers can get a couple to watch a movie instead of just the guy, they've made twice the cash. And if they can get women to drag their men to movies the men would never have considered in the first place, they make even more.

The first attempt fails to deliver "good horror" because story is sacrificed for the sake of blood and guts, and the second attempt fails to deliver "good horror" because horror is sacrificed for the sake of making ugly characters (or those with ugly motives and urges) palatable to John and Suzy Public.

As an aside, I wonder if horror is a genre that is going to get as much attention [read budget] in wartime. That may be another reason you haven't seen as much good work in the last few years?

Offline David_E_Greske

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2009, 11:45:54 AM »
All right.  This seems like a time to do a little selfless promotion.  All those watered down vampire stories got you thirsty for something with a little more bite?  My newest novel Blood River (available for preorder at amazon.com) will satisfy your hunger.  The vampire between the pages of Blood River is not the warm cuddly type.  I've kept some of the traditional lore of the undead, but added a few new things as well.

available for preorder at Amazon.com  Release date is November 2, 2009 

Offline Geoff_N

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 09:06:59 AM »
I review horror, including a fair number of vampire, for new publishers such as Bloody Books, LL-Publications and Murky Depths. Sam Stone wrote Killing Kiss last year - a runaway success for Murky Depths partly because of Sam's cleavage at Fantasy Con and NewCon last year but also because her vampire was lovable. So I guess you'd hate that one. Tipping the scales in the other direction of horror with no holds barred are Joseph d'Lacey's Meat, and his The Garbage Man. From a writer's POV there's excellent Show in both books. Personally, I prefer the psychological horrors of Bill Hussey in both his recent horror, The Absence, and last year's Through a Glass Darkly. Both drip with excellent setting and characterisation (both published by Bloody Books).

Back to vampires, the most unusual one I've read recently (sent to me for review last week and I've yet to finish) is The Great White Hope by Mark Jackman. Starts like a 'normal' vampire politics, but then around 20 pages in I was gripped by the vampire killer. The opposite of Buffy. This chap is a Middlesbrough doorman / bouncer with a fist that kills, but he's no idea he'd killed vampires - he thought they were 'Them lot' (a colloquism for gays). It's absolutely hilarious. No holds barred on the violence or the humour. I can criticise some of the writing but will definitely be recommending it when my review is published in the next week or so.

There's room for a spectrum of vampire and horror stories.

Geoff

Offline delboy

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2009, 09:21:55 AM »
Sam Stone?

One of the great songs. I wonder if that was her given name, or if she was simply a huge John Prine fan? Maybe her parents were, I think it's an old enough song.

Derek
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Offline Dragoro

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 03:31:14 PM »
Well for a recent good horror book, Children of Chaos by Gifune, and Scars on the face of God by Bauer come to mind. But for every good horror, theres like 30 released that are like watered down or silly ones.
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Offline Ed

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 03:51:01 PM »
That's a big part of the reason why I started writing in the first place - I read too many disappointing novels and thought I could do better.
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Offline Grillmeat

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 07:24:06 PM »
Ed said:
Quote
That's a big part of the reason why I started writing in the first place - I read too many disappointing novels and thought I could do better.


I wish I could say I had such noble ideas........ :shocked:
The truth is, I started writing because I got tired of not be able to sleep at night...........better to keep someone else up at night with funny thoughts and strange ideas.................. :afro:
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Offline Ed

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2009, 01:28:24 AM »
Turns out I couldn't, BTW, but I'm working on it :afro:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline delboy

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 01:50:28 AM »
I don't read enough contemporary horror (or watch enough contemporary horror films) to be able to make a considered judgement on whether horror is being watered down or not. I know there's a whole section on Paranormal Romances in many bookshops these days which (no doubt) features the vampires of which you talk. But simply by not reading these books my own experience of horror fiction remains undiluted. Also, I think what one person finds terrifying and/or thought provoking, another glosses over. So, for some, horror may even be at an all time high. I know the teenagers in my family think the modern slew of films (Saw, etc)  is far better than any of the old ones I get them to watch.

Del
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Offline Rev. Austin

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 01:20:21 PM »
I know the teenagers in my family think the modern slew of films (Saw, etc)  is far better than any of the old ones I get them to watch.

Del

Bah!  Kids today, they don't know how wrong they are!

edit: that sounds like I'm taking the piss haha but I've lost count of the number of "healthy debates" I've had with younger friends about exactly this sort of thing.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 01:21:38 PM by Rev. Austin »
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Offline KatYares

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2009, 11:04:51 AM »
My biggest problem with modern horror, be it novels or movies, is the lack of story.  Sure, the jump shots are there, along with the guts and gore, but where are the elements that involve the brain?  The type of thing that leaves you questioning the possibilities long after you've closed the book or left the movie theater?

The new breed of vampires - sort of sappy, but have to admit, I've written an entire screenplay based on a vampire that wants to remain the family man he was before he got bit.

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Offline Dragoro

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2009, 11:51:17 AM »
My biggest problem with modern horror, be it novels or movies, is the lack of story.  Sure, the jump shots are there, along with the guts and gore, but where are the elements that involve the brain?  The type of thing that leaves you questioning the possibilities long after you've closed the book or left the movie theater?

The new breed of vampires - sort of sappy, but have to admit, I've written an entire screenplay based on a vampire that wants to remain the family man he was before he got bit.

Kat

Definitely agree, I went and seen Holloween 2 the other week, and that movie was nothing but cut scenes of killing, no story what so ever. Cant count the times I almost walked out of it.
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Offline NoxInflux

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2010, 11:07:19 PM »
Not watered down: MARTYRS

Nox Influx

Offline digitaldeath

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2010, 07:44:07 AM »
When I write I try to keep on the edge of reality. Never having met, or ever expect to meet a vampire or werewolf I redefined man's conception. They are invisible in mirrors, victims are white. However fear drains all the blood from the skin, they reclaim souls, tearing them out of a human shell through the eyes as a party trick. Guilt, not fear of death but fear of punishment make people susceptible to attack. Normally they are invisible until fear sensitises eyesight but they have access to minds during sleep, nightmares that kill. So victims may not have two holes in the neck by they are driven mad, maybe commit suicide or die of fright. Until someone proves that ghosts do not exist they are more believable than vampires. Especially as governments suppress information about thing they want kept secret.
The release of information contrary to public order.
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Offline fnord33

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2010, 12:03:01 AM »
I am a big fan of horror comedies, well done creepies like Barker and Lovecraft, and extreme horror. I have literally seen thousands of horror movies since I was a kid. I'll give anything a chance, but these days I'm watching almost every horror film I get in fast forward. It started after the first few hundred when I would see a low budget crapfest with no plot and I'd want to skip to the death scenes and then progressed to watching 15-20 movies in an hour. I basically just watch long enough to get a feel for the quality of the writing and violence then decide whether to take it out and try another or fast forward to the eye candy. If it's worth watching I save it for later and give it the respect it deserves, but most horror that's coming out these days (especially in the U.S.) is just the same old boobs and blood with no plot. Most people don't even try anymore. The lack of originality makes me especially sad because I've written at least five original screenplays which will never be made that are at least fifty times better than 95% of the crap I get on DVD. I'm not saying that out of arrogance either. I just mean that a lot of crap is made and released just because they know that the hardcore fans will buy and watch anything just in case it's good. I really can't tell anymore what's going to be decent and what's crap without at least seeing a trailer and about the only way that you see a trailer for indi horror is to buy/rent the DVD. You can't even trust reviews anymore because there are so many schools of thought amongst the super jaded horror community that you can't find a steady reviewer who you'll agree with more than half of the time. It sucks, but I don't really see a solution to the problem. There are enough people out there writing and making horror films out of pure love of the genre to keep me from giving up on it, but I don't think that good horror will ever make a resurgence in the mainstream if for no other reason than the general populous can't handle extreme horror. There's no money in it. I think that the best we can hope for is another William Castle, but if he is out there nobody will let him make a movie because nobody will take a chance on ingenuity anymore. Mass marketing has all but killed the horror genre and if you think about it you can see it doing the same thing in every other aspect of our modern culture. It reminds me of the newspeak from 1984 the way that everything is being refined and reduced to the lowest common denominator.

Forgive me. I'll stop ranting now. I had a root canal today and I'm kind of out of my head  :buck:


Let me make it up to you by recommending a few films that I've seen recently that I thought were decent and a few favorites:

Funny:
Dead Snow
Feast 1-2-3
Hanger (a lot of people hated this, but it reminded me of old troma)
Murder Party
Blood Car

Serious:
Pontypool
Naked Blood
Al Night Long series
Calvaire
Dead Girl
Dead Doll / love object
In the Mouth of Madness
The Signal
Grace
Thirst (Park)
August underground
Inside
Frontier(s)
Denti
Antichrist (Lars von trier)

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Offline Rev. Austin

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2010, 06:49:02 AM »
It annoys me too that utter crap gets churned out purely because there's a demand for it, and there's only a demand for it because it's all that gets churned out  :cheesy:

I watched Pontypool recently - it's amazing!  And In The Mouth of Madness is one of my favourite films.  Clearly, fnord, you have impeccable taste  ;)
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Offline fnord33

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2010, 04:28:59 PM »
Thanks.   :grin:
Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs

Offline sadistboy6vi6

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2010, 09:23:33 AM »
you people should read the vampire chronicles by anne rice....they're not as soft as the twilight stuff, but yeah, the first book came out in 1976, so vampire went soft a long time ago...
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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2010, 09:59:47 AM »
I suspect 'we people' read Ann Rice long ago and moved on. I find her a bore. All her novels read like synopses that she might get to fill out one day. 'Interview' made a good film, mind. No complaints there.


Offline delboy

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2010, 10:19:21 AM »
Quote
All her novels read like synopses that she might get to fill out one day.

I agree... but imagine "Interview" filled out... Now there would be a book to make you run away screaming...
"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
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Offline sadistboy6vi6

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2010, 09:20:15 AM »
ok, anne rice was a bad example, the saw movies, or paranormal activity, whats scary about those????? I find them very entertaining
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Offline fnord33

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Re: Im annoyed with all this watering down of the horror
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2010, 03:36:25 PM »
I like the saw movies. They aren't my favorite thing in the world, but it's definitely the best mainstream horror franchise going at the moment. I hated paranormal activity though. IMO, it was a direct rip off of Momento Mori with all the good bits taken out. Unfortunately, MM hasn't made it to DVD yet, so when it does everybody's going to think it's ripping off Paranormal Activity. 
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