Little Miss Scare-All

A college goth trying to find her way in the world.
How to treat a new horror fan with care

How to treat a new horror fan with care

Two weeks ago, Bloody-Disgusting writer Trace Thurman wrote an editorial about the art of lying. In it, he described the pressure there is to sway from the truth when asked if one’s seen a movie that’s definitely still on a “To Watch” list.

“The idea for this post came from a fellow horror fan asking me if I had seen a particular Vincent Price movie. I (unfortunately) have not seen any Vincent Price movies. I know that I may have completely lost some of you with this statement, but it’s true. I fully plan on getting around to them at some point in my life, though. That being said, this person verbally assaulted me for never having seen a Vincent Price movie. Assaulted may be too strong a word, but it was definitely a lecture!”

These lecturers identify people inching into their film nerd debut as easy targets. Putting them down is a quick way to feel superior, and the victim’s lack of a resume of sorts stops them from fighting back. It can be done behind the guise of jokes or it can be more direct; both are unnecessary.

Whether you like it or not, we’ve all been new to the horror genre. It’s time that we accept this and stop acting like we’ve always seen what we have seen, known what we have known.

A newcomer is going to feel overwhelmed as it; the last thing they need is to be pushed away from their love for film just because they started later than some, which is why older fans should learn how to treat new fans with care.

And I’ve got just the list to guide you.

1. Don’t shame them for not having seen everything you’ve seen

photo courtesy of Seda Spettacoli

photo courtesy of Seda Spettacoli

When I was new to horror, I understood the need to lie about what I had already watched. I didn’t start using Netflix until the beginning of college and thus had a lot of catching up to do. Everyone had already gone through multiple viewings of the films I was anxious to get into. This eagerness swerved into shame within the first semester. Whenever I said I hadn’t seen something in particular, I was looked down upon and made to feel ignorant. It’s no surprise that I started to lie.

Thankfully, I no longer do so, but in return, I accept that people are going to go crazy when I say I haven’t seen some important movie, as if the amount of time I have to sit around is infinite. With horror especially, there’s a large amount of paths you should take. There’s the B-rated, the Universal monsters, the indie movies that are getting praised online. The list is always growing.

Give them time to explore and remind them how thrilled you are that they’re delving into something you love.

2. Make them lists of lesser-known films

photo courtesy of Full Moon Entertainment

photo courtesy of Full Moon Entertainment

Everyone knows about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Psycho is a movie you can talk to your parents about. The legend of The Exorcist has passed through many ears. New fans know to watch these and many others because they’re classics. Telling them to do so is mostly a waste of time.

The movies these fans won’t hear about in their beginner travels are the obscure films that usually don’t make it onto any “Top 10” lists, no matter how deserving. Although not as popular, they can be just as important when wanting to stay up to date and have an informed discussion with other film geeks.

Hell, even throw in some classic bad films to mix it up a bit. Make your list fun and exciting!

3. Help them keep up with all the recent and upcoming releases

photo courtesy of Snowfort Pictures

photo courtesy of Snowfort Pictures

There’s pressure to catch up with the genre, making it easy to forget to keep up with the new releases. If you hear about something coming out soon (ex: The Green Inferno) send your friend a text informing them that they might want to check it out. Get them in the habit of looking through Netflix and Redbox for flicks that have just been added. Who knows? It Follows might end up being their favorite movie.

The most important piece of advice in regards to staying up to date, however, comes from informing your friend of what newsites they can use. Bloody-Disgusting and iHorror are my personal favorites because they have a nice mix of old and new. By providing them with this information, they can learn to update themselves; let them leave the gore-y nest and fly to their local cinema.

4. Let them have their own opinion

photo courtesy of Anchor Bay Films

photo courtesy of Anchor Bay Films

In many ways, I find this to be the most crucial piece of advice on this list, which is why I’m saving it for last.

No one will share your exact taste in horror films. Not your siblings. Not your best friend. Not even your significant other. And that’s okay. Discussions thrive on difference in opinion. The world would be bland if we all liked the same things.

I for one was pleased with my viewing of The Lords of Salem. I know many people whose respect for me would plummet if I ever told them this, making it tempting to keep this information to myself. It shouldn’t be this way.

Encourage the horror newcomer to be proud of their thoughts and not hide behind lies to keep other horror lovers satisfied. Don’t lose respect for someone for something as silly as liking or disliking a movie. Your opinion is not the supreme opinion of the land, even if you’ve been exploring the genre longer.

Remember, in the eyes of killer down the street, we’re all the same.

 

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MTV’s Scream leeches off brand for bland story

MTV’s Scream leeches off brand for bland story

It starts with the soft singing of a childhood rhyme against the sounds of a night far off from the city. The voice belongs to someone off screen, and the lake that’s holding the camera’s attention is noticeably empty. This shot is a quick one, a grasp at eeriness mixed in with a desire to capture the audience through out of context atmosphere.

We have ascended to cliché heaven.

The new Scream series, birthed by MTV, feels like an alternate reality in which the teenage citizens of Lakewood don’t act like actual people. The first on-screen murder is that of a girl who senses danger when she’s sent recent videos of herself that could only be taken inside her home. After a brief freakout, she heads to her hot tub, completely over the whole ordeal.

Because us kids are oh so oblivious to everything, right?

It becomes distractingly obvious within the first 10 minutes of the show that the adult writers have no idea how youth culture works. The endless stream of social media shots and mentions are done to make Scream modern, but instead it comes across as cheap. (“All the Facebook flirting!” is actually a line.) This need to be current intensifies when a classroom of students and their professor start discussing how the Gothic genre is dominating TV.

The teacher mentions one show after another in order to connect with his students and, through them, the stereotypical MTV viewer: The Walking Dead. American Horror Story. Bates Motel. Hannibal.

Randy Meeks was a unique character. His reincarnations? Not so much. (Photo courtesy of Dimension Films)

Randy Meeks was a unique character. His reincarnations? Not so much. (Photo courtesy of Dimension Films)

It’s talk that tries to channel beloved Randy Meeks. As a viewer, our eyes are supposed to light up because we know what he’s talking about; we understand. What actually happens, however, is that it becomes reminiscent of forced conversations with an out-of-touch family member who wants to impress you with pop culture references.

The writers are playing catchup with the teenage world, and it’s a finish line constantly being slid out of their reach.

At one point, the high schoolers are portrayed as so self-absorbed that one has to assume that it’s for comedic effect. In between talk of murder, these teens are planning a party. The show’s namesake was heavy with jokes, but when it came to execution, the clever delivery of the lines was what made if effective. The overflow of bad acting and attempts to break the fourth wall in this Scream revival destroys any possibility of that.

The severity of the lack of a good script became even more apparent to me when I realized that halfway through the episode, I knew the names of only two characters. Every single person is bland, with predictable side plots involving cheating and a student-teacher relationship to match.

And not one of them is interesting. (Photo courtesy of MTV)

And not one of these characters is interesting. (Photo courtesy of MTV)

It’s not so bad it’s good. It’s just bad.

In the (low) hopes that this style would remain in the pilot and the pilot alone, I continued on into the second episode. Same thing.

It all ends up being a poor homage of classic Scream scenes, from a creepy garage to a Drew Barrymore moment. These tensionless reenactments are meant to be the highlight of each episode, making this release even sadder.

I understand that this show is being broadcasted on MTV and that I’ll soon have aged past the intended demographic, but even then I found it all to be boring and uneventful. This isn’t a horror show. It’s another high school gossipfest with a side dish of murder.

 

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Evil Dead series offers light to horror revisits

Evil Dead series offers light to horror revisits

If anything’s constantly rising from the dead in the horror world, it’s the tale themselves. These Texan massacres are endless and good ol’ Jason Voorhees has been shown to us so many times that he feels like a family friend, albeit a deadly one.

It’s a simple solution for a need for quick money: release a movie on an already established brand. The marketing team doesn’t have to work as hard; let the legend ride itself into the wallets of moviegoers. Foolproof.

I have nothing against remakes or the continuation of a series. Ask me what my favorite films of the genre are, and it’ll only take a few seconds before I’ll let you know how deep The Thing rests in my heart. Unlike sad attempts such as 2006’s The Omen, it deepened the audience’s fear by building off an enhanced, standalone story. There were no pointless references to the original nor could the film’s events be completely predicted through the lazy writing-in of tropes.

photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The Evil Dead remake was brought to us two years ago. It’s nothing more than alright and doesn’t merit the rewatches the cult classics deserve, but it did usher in a new era for the franchise, one that seems promising.

Ash vs. Evil Dead, which is only months away from its fall debut on Starz, is the next step in our delightfully cocky protagonist’s journey. Yes, the evil dead will rush back into the world, and yes Bruce Campbell will be reprising his role, but an interview with Bloody Disgusting reveals that there’s more to the show than a simple revisit.

“He’s no finer, nobler nor saner of a character than when we last saw him,” said series creator Sam Raimi. “In fact, I think he’s digressed. He’s clearly aged quite a bit. And his courage hasn’t been whipped up to a frenzy. [He’s at] his lowest instincts and that’s where we find him – and from that low point, that’s the start of our show.”

Things have settled down for the fella. We’re being given a new Ash, one not as confidant as he once was. Campbell elaborated on the matter with an Entertainment Weekly interview released yesterday.

photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

“He was perfectly happy doing basically nothing: telling lies about how he lost his hand in bars late at night,” Campbell said. “That was basically his MO. So, he’s not really the guy who should be dealing with this right now. But…he is. He’s our guy!”

Ash has always been on his game, and other than being incapable of remembering a few words, he’s done pretty well for himself. The idea of a time-torn version of our guy is enticing. It’s obvious that this show won’t be a replica of anything else in the franchise.

There has been a lot of online craving for the series, so much so that it’s bound to draw in viewers by the millions when the time comes. I’m putting my money on it pushing Starz forward.

In the meantime, the Pet Sematary remake is in development and the world of Halloween will be broken into again, this time without the insightful mind of Rob Zombie. In all of this mediocrity, Ash vs. Evil Dead is a guiding light, and it’s one that production companies should follow if they’re so insistent on not creating new horror content.

The remake will always be a part of the film industry; this will never die. Whether the approach changes is a different story.

 

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Twitter: @TheKimSlichter

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