We close out the Halloween edition of “What Do Horror Fans Want?” with a few words from writer, Stefan Prosser. Sefan describes himself as “a horror fan who finally gave in to frustration and decided to rant, whether anybody listened, or not.” You can follow his rants and writing at The Fright Writer.
When it comes to horror I am very open minded. I’m impartial to any particular genre, unbiased toward actors and fairly neutral when it comes to directors.
It doesn’t matter how seriously it takes itself, I’m just as likely to watch “Shaun of the Dead” as I am “The Shining”, or “Slither” as I am “Seven”.
In terms of intelligence I like a smooth, polished horror with thoughtful twist ending culminating a shocking reveal. However, I also enjoy a mindless slasher or creature feature.
So, what is this difference between good and bad horror?
Personally, I think originality goes a long way. When you watch a film that is truly original you get a feeling like you’re at the forefront of something new, something that makes you feel like the game has changed and it sticks with you.
“The Blair Witch Project” is perhaps one of the finest examples of this in recent years. The story isn’t really anything new, a group of students get lost in the woods and start being haunted by a malevoyent spirit. So far, so regular. It was the shooting style of using a handheld and a documentary technique, which revolutionised the genre and started an influx of copycat movies.
There are some generic horrors that I can’t help but watch too, though they are more easily forgettable.
What I really want to see more than anything else, though, is something with the balls to put its neck on the block and says “this is what I am, take it or leave.” It doesn’t matter if it’s silly or intelligent, original or a remake, as long as it stays true to what it wants to be, I’m happy.
The problem at the moment, with major films, is big studios don’t want films with that attitude because they want universal appeal to draw in audiences and make a return on their bucks and so often they will pretend to be something they’re not. For me, that’s a terrible unforgivable fraud.
You only need to look at the certificates of the proposed “Alien” and “Hellraiser” remakes to see what I’m talking about. Both have been announced as PG-13 certificates before a pen or camera has been lifted. When you start putting restraints on writers and directors the end product is something they didn’t want to make and often looks a bit disjointed, which almost inevitably leads to a bad film. Producers need to learn to let the writers write, the directors direct and the audience be entertained.
Guillermo Del Toro said, “directors shouldn’t work for producers, they should work for the film and the story.” I think a lot of people need to heed this advice.