Thursday, July 6, 2017

Post-Horror?

I'm sorry, I really am. I know it's bloody Thursday and not a single Kaijuly article has gone up. I don't want to pass the buck either, because a lot of times people do that to save themselves from blame. And yeah, I've been so damn exhausted and it gets hard to write. But that's not why there haven't been any new articles. No, that actually is something out of my current control because our ISP is a giant bag of dicks and the whole shebang has been hot and cold more than a mostly forgotten pop song. But today? Today I am going to desperately attempt to get something written that I feel needs to be talked about. That something is the term "post-horror" that I've seen bandied about.

"But, sir....doesn't that term sound incredibly pretentious and stupid?"

Yes, Ghost, that term does indeed sound pretentious and downright vacuous. It sounds like something someone might use to try and put a distance between things. And that's troubling, because it is a prevailing notion in the industry that horror as a genre is trash. Horror movies are seen as something to be scoffed at rather than spark intelligent discourse. So, when a horror film comes out that actually does that, there is this parade of twats out the gate saying that it's not a horror film but it's "more of a thriller" or perhaps it's "a dramatic suspense film with elements of terror". Or they can just use a vapid term to umbrella them: post-horror.

"I dunno, that still sounds pretty fucking dumb."
Whenever a film comes out such as It Follows, Get Out, The Babadook, Maggie, The Witch, The Shallows, or It Comes At Night, it's the same old dog and pony show. There films are seen as deep and intelligent, so people come out and talk about them use different terms. They try to avoid using the term horror to talk about them, because horror is seen as an insult. Why does this happen? I'd wager it's probably because of groups like the Academy who constantly snub there noses at horror as a genre. Probably also because Hollywood still sees horror as something cheap to make rather than as a valid form of art. The last time a horror film really had a big budget was a perfect example of what they think of the genre and the fans.

"Just vomit CGI zombies at the audience, I'm sure that'll work."
The best two examples of people trying to pretend something that is clearly horror isn't horror are two films that are often considered to be some of the greatest ever made. Jaws and Silence of the Lambs. i want you to stop and think about the fact that a movie about a literal killer shark that stalks people and a films about a serial killer making women into a suit are often argued not to be horror films. This is how incredibly dumb this rabbit hole gets as you tumble down it. It honestly gives me a migraine thinking about these hoops people jump through just to avoid calling something what it is.

I'm not kidding, I do actually have a headache right now.
The idea that horror movies cannot and have not been intelligent is not only stupid as all hell but it's a lie. I could name you over a hundred horror films off the top of my head that are thought-provoking, deep, intelligently written, and more cerebral than the average Oscar winner tends to be. But I feel like making that list would cause a vein to pulsate in my head to the point that my eyes would explode as I got angrier and angrier. Sure, horror isn't all great. There's plenty of sub-par trash in the medium from people who care less about storytelling and more about throwing more blood at the screen.

We're going to finally cover the work of one of those people in October.
But the thing is that there is trash in every genre. There's always going to be an Adam Sandler to laugh at his own stupid jokes (because someone has to), a line of curmudgeonly older directors past their prime insulting the work of younger directors because it reminds them of how far they've fallen, and crapped out schlock made for the lowest-common denominator courtesy of your Emmerichs and Bays. Segregating good horror from bad horror doesn't make the good stuff somehow not horror. Existential dread is scary. Human nature is scary. A wild animal reacting in a hostile fashion is scary. Being trapped inside your own head is scary. Horror isn't something to be ashamed of, to be swept under the rug, or to be distanced from. Horror is life and that's why we feel drawn to it.

Close enough.
There's is nothing wrong with sub-genres but that's not what the term post-horror is being used as. It's a term that tries to set certain films apart from the medium, from the fans, and from the stigma. It's a term that tries to put itself apart from the prejudices that many have against horror and that's not okay with me. I will never call anything post-horror, because there isn't any reality in that term. There is only insult to the industry of hard-working and talented horror filmmakers, to the fans that support their work, and to the pioneers who always strove to create something great regardless of the genre's stigma. So if you use that term you can take it and put it directly where your head is, because you can't erase what horror is with a buzzword. Ever. Later days, bleeders.

Follow that, ya blats.

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