Guest Post: How to be a Horror Hound

This week is Guest Post Week on my blog. Today it’s time for something a bit more unusual, as Patrick Smith takes us into the realms of horror…

Jack Burton

In my group of friends I’m not the biggest film nerd of the group but I think it wouldn’t be to egotistical to say I’m the biggest horror movie fan. While asking my friend who is probably the bigger movie nerd of the two of us whether he had seen Trick r Treat he said he had, after I forcibly sat him down and made him watch it. And although he enjoyed it immensely he also said that I loved it so much more than he ever could. And I know that’s true but not just about that particular movie but also about the horror genre as a whole.

This isn’t to say that I only watch horror movies. Anybody who just watches one genre of film, even if its hybrid genre like Dramedy, you better keep your eye on that sumbitch because they are up to something. As for me I try to keep my movie outtake as varied as possible with the usual like watch indie dramas, slapstick comedies, and big dumb action movies just like everybody else but horror is the genre I find the most infinitely compelling.

Finding a cool horror film is just something I find immense pleasure in, and not for the usual reasons of trying to make myself look more “in-the-know” then other people. Finding out that one of WETA Digitals first films was Peter Jacksons criminally underrated The Frighteners, or that that the production company that made House of the Devil also made I Sell the Dead and Stakeland, or Fred Decker’s only two feature directing credits are for the equally amazing Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad are just as much fun as watching the films themselves.

The problem is that whenever I talk about this particular passion around mixed company people tend to look at me like I just pissed in the punch bowl. I’ll admit that sometimes I do find it hard to justify a watching a flick where a busty blonde takes a chainsaw to the face, but horror is such as versatile genre that it makes me wonder why most people see the horror genre as a few notches above pornography on the legitimate art scale. It certainly doesn’t help that any horror movie that manages to get a wide release gets a critical drumming nine times out of ten, and very rarely do these feelings have anything to do with that specific movie but with the genre as a whole.

Don’t get me wrong, there are A LOT of crap horror movies. Probably more than any other genre, but I think that’s why viewing a legitimately good horror movie is such an amazing viewing experience that it just stands so explicitly outside the pack. Most mainstream critics of the genre usually reference films like Psycho, The Exorcist, and Jaws and although those are definers of the genre they’re often treated as exceptions rather than the rule. It also doesn’t help that whenever I read critic specific to horror it just feels like they’re preaching to the choir, nobodies trying to change anyone’s mind about the genre aside from the usual “the violence acts as a therapeutic release” cop out.

I’m not saying that’s not true but as fans of the genre they should be showing people why Horror is such an incredible genre instead of defending it. So if anyone reading this is a fan of horror do me a favor, the next time someone looks at you like you just sprouted a second head that looks like Ernest Borgnine because you were talking about a horror flick you just saw don’t get defensive. Sit them down and talk to them because they probably do like the horror genre and just need to be nurtured with the right content.

Attack the Block

If they say they like old monster movies show them Neil Marshalls fantastic werewolf vs special ops film Dog Soldiers. If they like mind benders like Memento, show them Christopher Smiths twisty Triangle. If they like a film to have an explosive energy that propels itself forward without skirting on character work or creature design then you have Attack the Block. If they like things cinematic but with a pitch black core then you have The Mist. Like to pick apart film tropes, then give Behind the Mask : The Rise of Leslie Vernon a spin. Tucker and Dale vs Evil is there for people who wonder if the family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was just misunderstood. And Return of the Living Dead has a female protagonist that’s naked for almost the entire movie for little or no reason, who doesn’t like that.

Horror will probably never be considered a genre everybody likes, but it should be a genre everyone should respect. The one thing I hope I accomplish with this writing is that maybe a few of you who have counted the horror genre out will give it another chance and check out some of the films listed above. Now if you’ll allow me one last minute of self indulgence I’d like to end this by going full on cryptkeeper: So get out there my fellow and future horror hounds, and have a SCREAM of a good time! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Or don’t

Its completely up to you.

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