A finer flavour of the film world?

Chris Wilkinson discusses whether Horror should be considered as serious art, and whether it's been given a bad representation in recent film-making

Chris Wilkinson
1st November 2018
The common and shared experiences which all Netflix users have are numerous and varied, but there is one, I think, which is distinctly annoying. Imagine you are cycling through the vast array of films open to you, surfing the waves of titles that seemingly go on for eternity. But there is one genre which won’t go away, and all the films are the same. Behold, you have struck the coal-face of shite horror films.

There are a few reasons why I find this annoying, but I think the most obtrusive one is that it fails to represent the brilliance of some films which categorise themselves as horror. I have read many, many articles and reviews about how and why people hate jump-scares, and I would be boring you, sweet reader, if I were to regurgitate some of their sentiment. But there is a reason why jump-scares are hated so much! They’re shit! And Netflix is full of them! No, instead of tucking into this feast of plastic-flavoured, mass-produced shite, take some time to savour the finer flavours of the film world.

Take, for example, The Thing. Full of jump scares and gory viscera though it is, this film is one of the absolute classics of the Horror genre. A flop upon release, it was only later in time that John Carpenter’s 1982 Horror Sci-fi came to be fully appreciated by the film community – notably for its suspenseful tones of uncertainty about where and when someone will die, undeniably helped by its absolutely fantastic soundtrack. Take also The Shining. Perhaps one of Kubricks most stunning films (if not the most stunning), the cinematographic presence of this film is hard to deny when going into those lengthy conversations on film-making during the pretentious hours of the night.

This is what leads us into thinking whether the horror genre is really appreciated enough? It is true, the genre is in danger of becoming diluted by the trash that seems to be very popular, but you would be hard put trying to find another genre which can rise from such excruciating lows to such ascendant highs of film-making.

Regardless of what you feel the point of art and film is, it is hard to argue against the idea that one way of expressing such a point is through the channels provided by emotion. You watch a drama and you cry, you watch a comedy and you laugh, you watch a horror and you are terrified. Each one of these emotions can bring forward and process a subject more than we really comprehend. If you have watched Selma, you might have cried, if you watched Friday you might have laughed, and if you watched Get Out, you might have been terrified. But I bet after watching each film you had the same thoughts after: The issues of racial inequality in America.

So, I feel, if Horror can maintain this ability to terrify and channel some sort of message through it, it can be saved. But whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to think Netflix is the one that will save it.

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