Sunday, March 20, 2016

On Censorship, Thought Police and Their Impact on Horror

OK, so I missed last week's update post. Sorry about that. I was Yeah.


I was watching some old interviews with horror directors and writers this week (Clive Barker and Friends On People Are Talking from 1990 and  Horror Cafe) and I realized three very important things:

1. The market goes in cycles and it will always go in cycles. Right now, horror is on the upswing. So yay!

2. When horror is popular, (like other genres) a ton of writers jump on it and pump out a bunch of crap because they think it will sell. And then it doesn't, and they get weeded out and the good writers are left and are still making money, even when horror goes out of style in pop-culture. Remember, it's quality over quantity, in all things in life!

3. There will always be a percentage of people don't understand what horror does for people, and find the feelings that it stirs up in themselves and others to be extremely unnerving. They also tend to be the same people that believe that it causes people to be violent. (Not all of them, mind you. But I've noticed a trend here.)

"Oh, Freddy Krueger is damaging our children's minds! We must save them from enjoying cheesy campy humor from a character that will point out your flaws and then rip you to shreds in your dreams. A Nightmare on Elm Street is going to turn my kids into mass murderers that invade people's minds and kill them in their subconsciousness."

When put that seems rather ridiculous, doesn't it?

Look, I hate to point out the obvious to you nutjobs, but when a horror movie is Rated-R, there's a reason it is Rated-R. That means little Johnny shouldn't watch it, no matter how much he nags you to take him to the theater, or the video store, or to unlock the parental controls on Netflix. (They exist. I forget what they call them on there, and I'm too lazy to look it up. Deal with it.)

Most Rated-R horror films earned that rating because of violence and gore, sex scenes or potty language.

Sometimes, very rarely, they earn it because they're just too damned scary for the kiddies. Such as Guillermo del Toro's "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." Yes. It is that scary.

That movie has no swearing, no nudity, buuuut, it has a few violent sequences that are extremely cringe-worthy, and it's one of those movies that gets into your head...if you enjoy watching slow burn horror that is. If you don't, you'll find it boring and not scary at all. And that's OK. That just means that it's not for you.

Yes. I went there. Don't make me say it again. Because I have no problem repeating myself until you understand what I'm saying here.

Get it?


I'll wait....


Alright, glad you took the time to think about that.

Let us continue.

The people that worry about the poor kidlets and stand there hand wringing and proclaiming "But what about the children?!" would love it if they could rid the world of what they perceive as the source of all violence and nastiness in humanity- namely horror books, video games, movies, comics etc etc etc.

There's a problem with that though. And I'm not just saying this because it's so easy to scapegoat and blame creative people for little Johnny's temper tantrums and "giving him ideas" about how to steal daddy's Mercedes Benz and go pleasure cruising when he is 10 years old. I'm also saying this because it's a symptom of a bigger social disease that has had yet another outbreak: Censorship and Thought Policing.

Censorship is bad. Mmm'kay?

It's bad.


BAAAAAAAAD. Like what the sheep say.

I may not agree with you, I may not want to read about Kim Kardashian's butt implants or crack open a copy of "Mein Kampf," but you know what? Some people do. Some people are interested in Hitler's thought processes or why Kim is addicted plastic surgery and being a camera whore. And that's OK.


Professor Cassie is gonna 'splain it to you.

Eliminating all copies of Hitler's Cookbook (ooohhhh too soon!) won't do anything for anyone. Keeping his rants in print and allowing people to read his words, typically allows them to see what a douche nozzel he was and to know that damn...he was charismatic as fuck and that's why he took over Germany. What happened after that? Well...we all know where that led the world. (Hint. It was a BIG WAR.)

My point is that just because I don't like something, hell, I even hate some things that I honestly believe should not exist, doesn't mean that I have the right to go on a book burning party and removing all copies off the face of the Earth. Even though it is tempting considering how popular "50 Shades of Grey" is...

However, bored non-jaded housewives that have never been exposed to the wild world of sex think that it's exotic and don't know enough about BDSM to know that some of those scenes are abusive or just plain idiotic and/or dangerous. They read it because it entertains them. It got them so turned on that they started looking into that part of sex culture and decided that hey, this whole being tied up and trying anal thing might not be all that bad.

And that is why I won't ever throw a book burning party of bad Twilight fan-fiction chick-lit porn. Because it engages people. It makes them think. It makes their lives less boring and more tolerable. And I'm fine with that. The more people are exposed to different ways of living, and thinking, the better.

The quickest way to stop engaging people's minds, is to outright ban all the things that they love, the things that entertain them, that they find fun and enjoyable. Once people are no longer engaged in life, it's easy to get them to conform to radical ideals and go on witch hunting expeditions.

Censorship is a slippery slope. And I'm talking like Astroglide slippery here. Like there was an accident at the lube factory and a barrel of it exploded and you turned the corner and stepped into a puddle of it and you fell on the floor and cracked your pretty skull open kind of slippery.

It starts with one thing. One pretty innocent thing, like say...FaceBook banning all pictures of boobs that show exposed nipples. Regardless of whether they are pieces of art or not, they're all treated like pornography and deleted by bots.

Why did FB start doing that? Some bullshit about offending people.

You see, censorship is always encouraged by those with delicate sensibilities, the ones that are offended by everything, that see everything as an affront to their personal feelings or to God or whatever. I hate bringing religion into any discussion, but here it is necessary, as most often nudity censorship is brought on by the slavering mobs of angry Christian women...the Mad Mom Brigade from Hell if you will. These people are often hypocritical and the most un-Christian people you can meet by the way. They hate with a passion of a thousand burning suns. They forgive no one. They help only themselves, and are quick to jump on anyone or anything that they deem "harmful" to their children.

On the flipside of the censorship coin are the Thought Police. The current incarnation of the Thought Police are the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) that have gone so far out into left field that they fell off a cliff and are drowning in an underwater echo chamber. "You can't say these words. You can't think these things. It'll upset someone!"

They not only tell everyone else how to think and act, they even do it to themselves, to the point where they have to take breaks from thought policing. For instance,  there's a video where a girl actually says that sometimes she has to take a break from "being a feminist" because it's just too stressful to control her own thoughts like that all the time. That, my friends, is the definition of insanity.

Heaven forbid that you have your own worldview challenged. And my goodness, how horrible it is to be confronted for oppressing people and attempting to obliterate certain types of speeches, movies, works of art etc, that point out the fucking obvious- that there are some parts of humanity that are ugly and horrible. And they will never, ever, ever go away. It is a part of the human condition.

These people are so nuts, they require "safe spaces" where they can go hide when the world overwhelms them.

Guess what? That only makes their condition worse.

The best way to deal with fear is to confront it, not to encourage behavior that denies exposure to it. It's a scientific fact. Tons of studies are out there that talk about it. Just Google it or whatever. Use your preferred web browser and look up how to deal with phobias. (I once met a person terrified of bananas. I kid you not. Never really learned why either. True story bro.)

The world should challenge you. You should meet people that will listen to what you have to say, and then completely obliterate your position in debate class. You should make friends with as many different types of people as you possibly can. Sometimes you won't agree with them, sometimes they won't agree with you, and that's OK. That's when it gets fun. Friendly debates are good. Trust me. I get into them all the time.

Censorship and Thought Policing are not mutually exclusive. They prey upon each other in a nullifying frenzy of obliteration.

First you can't say these specific things. Then, you can't even think them. You can't read these books, you can't watch these shows, you can't go to the movie theater and see these movies, and the next thing you know, you can't speak out against your government and a simple benign statement such as "I like to eat hotdogs with relish, ketchup and mustard", sends you to the Gulag for life.

Sure, this is a bit of hyperbole, but I think you get the point. What offends you, might not offend me. And sweethearts, let me tell you a big secret.

You ready?

You can't get post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from reading words, or looking at pictures or seeing a movie. PTSD is triggered by sights, sounds and scents/tastes. The human mind stores memory as a combination of senses and it's hard to tell when something will make the mind recall a painful, traumatizing memory. That's where the term "triggering" comes from. A specific combination of things in an environment trigger the recall of the traumatic memory. However, "triggering" and the ubiquitous phrase "trigger warning" are not used in this sense. It is used to refer to any bad feeling that something may cause a person to experience. And you know what? It's OK to have bad feelings. Really. It is. Even the bad ones have their uses. We experience them for a very specific reason, such as having a strong moral center, or strong survival instincts.

Fun Fact: Did you know that our taste buds formed so that we would know the moment we bit into something poisonous that it was deadly and we'd spit it out because it tasted disgusting? Yep. Having "bad feelings" is like that. Except, it's more centered in the brain and based on our behavior and not the tongue and what we are eating.

Sure some things may be so upsetting that they stick with you for a few weeks. I myself was shocked, dismayed, and utterly infuriated by the live turtle dismemberment scene in "Cannibal Holocaust." They killed animals for shock value in that movie. It's disgusting. I totally went on a rant about it on FaceBook. It was an interesting conversation, to say the least.

Why did I feel that way? 

Because I value all life equally. Killing an animal strictly for shock in a movie, that's wrong to me.  I was raised in an environment where you kill an animal to eat it. You don't let its life go to waste. (Yes, I'm a person that loves animals and has no problems eating meat. Isn't humanity fun? We're all walking contradictions!)

After my outrage died down, that turtle slaughter scene no longer popped into my head. Because I didn't get PTSD from seeing that. I just experienced a natural gut reaction, because it's wrong to kill animals for entertainment i.e. sport.

Does that makes sense? No? OK then repeat after me:
"Triggering" is not PTSD.
"Triggering" is not PTSD.
"Triggering" is not PTSD.

Yes. That is correct. Having emotions evoked in you means that you are being human. It does not mean that you are now traumatized for life. Sorry. It doesn't work that way. (It never did.)

Some things will stir very, very strong emotional responses in you. And that's OK. That means that you have enough RAM for feelings and are technically, not a robot. (No offense to robots. You guys are super cool in my book.)

The fact that negative feelings, such as disgust, horror, revulsion, anger and outrage are seen as being so scary that anything and everything that evokes them should be abolished is not only ridiculous, it's impossible to undertake. Why? Because we're human beings. Emotions go part and parcel with our logical thinking skills.  (Ha! Logic! Now there's a funny one.)

It is impossible to make people not feel fear or other emotions. Just like you can't force people to police their own thoughts and make them fit your cardboard cutout version of reality. It's not possible. It can't be done. Our minds don't work that way. We all have prejudices. We all have things we hate and things we love. Again, that is part of being human. Can we learn to tolerate things that we don't like, things we hate them and find no value in them? Sure. It's possible. In fact, it's the preferred state of being.


Because, my rights end where yours begin. Simple as that. You want a cut and dry definition of freedom? That's it. Right there. 

Fear is important. Fear drives us to go beyond what we ever believed we were capable of. It pushes boundaries. It helps us find meaning in life. It brings us together. (The down side is that sometimes fear can also be used to push people apart. But, that is yet again, another part of being human. We are social herding creatures. It happens. And it sucks. Big time.)

Horror in it's purest sense, is a form of entertainment that is made with the sole purpose of making people afraid. It unabashedly brings social taboos to the forefront and forces people to confront them. It's transgressive. On purpose.  Ah...Good times!

Not only is horror an essential part of literature, it's also a crucial part of our lives. If we didn't have a way to express feelings of terror in our mundane, mostly threat-free existences, we'd start thrill seeking, and killing not just animals, but people, for sport. (Well, more so than we already do...Ohhhh snap!)

We've always had horror stories. Even back when we were just using hand signals and grunts to communicate. There's bad things out in the woods. Make the fire bigger or they will come eat us. That sort of thing.

Horror stories as a narrative help us define what it means to be human. It's a part of what makes us tick, how we think, how we experience the world. And what better way to do that, than to find what makes us terrified and to discover just why it makes us feel that way?

In that respect, Horror has something in common with Science Fiction Tropes, as the biggest trope in Sci-Fi is "what makes us human?"

Are all horror films as useful as this? Not really. Same can be said for some horror books. Some are just brain candy, pure entertainment. Some are made for shock or disgust value, others are more artsy fartsy. I enjoy all types...well, except for extreme torture porn. I find them distasteful and shallow, but even though I don't like them, there are a lot of people that do. Hence why James Wan's brainchild Jigsaw has had so many movies made about him.

I'd also like to add that horror movies and video games are cathartic. (Even the bad ones are useful as there's at least one person in the world that finds it entertaining.) They reduce stress and help people cope with how shitty their lives are. They don't increase violence, they decrease it. This too, is a scientific fact. Yay! Science! (There's a ton of papers and books on this subject. Feel free to look them up. There are far too many for me to list here.)

To eliminate the very things that allow for emotional release and helps prevent violence in society is harmful.

Censoring horror is harmful. 

It financially harms the filmmakers and authors and game producers, and shoe-horns them into a tiny box with which they can no longer explore the darkest aspects of humanity and bring them to life as monsters. It stunts creativity. It stunts critical thinking. It makes horrible white-washed products like the mainstream PG-13 crap that Hollywood vomits out and calls horror. "House of Wax" anyone? know what I'm talking about. That is why most current remakes of classic horror films fail. Because they've been neutered by censors and the thought police. Mainstream horror has lost its bite. Its teeth were pulled out and replaced with ill-fitting dentures. And it's time for that to change.

I think that there's a specific type of person that wants to believe with all their little hearts and minds that all the nasty things humanity is capable of could be eliminated if only we could find the true cause and cut it out with a rusty scalpel and leave a gaping, oozing wound in its wake. But it's not that simple. Humanity isn't that simple. We're walking, talking contradictions. We're complex creatures. We have conflicting thoughts and emotions and reactions that scare even us sometimes. And that's fine. Because that is what makes us human.

Maybe those people, those thought policing censorship whores, don't want to accept that we are equally capable of committing great goods and great evils. Sometimes, we commit these acts at the same time!

The true solution isn't elimination and censorship.  It isn't the denial of thoughts or feelings or making people not do things that offend us.

The true solution is enlightenment. It's education, in all its permutable forms. The more educated a person is (unless they fall in the SJW category, because those people have closed off their minds and that's why they're so messed up) the more they learn about the world, and that we're all pretty much the same.

You cut us, we bleed red. 

That is what horror teaches us. That we're vulnerable, that life is fleeting, that the human body is fragile, that we could cease to exist at any moment. Death is with us from the time we are born until it claims our final breath. It's a beautiful, terrifying thing. And it's precious.

I'm not saying that everyone that loves horror is always thinking so deeply or waxing philosophically about the genre and humanity as a whole. But sometimes, it's there, hiding deep in their subconscious mind, waiting to jump out and scare the bejeezus out of someone. And that's just the way it should be.

Until next week! Have a scream kiddies!

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Over-hyped Horror Films and Unrealistic Expectations, the Movie. In 3-D

Yesterday I came across this post

"This is why we can’t have nice things: “The Witch” and horror fandom’s gatekeepers"

and it really got me thinking.

Are there horror fandom gatekeepers? Do they exclude people? And what about over-hyped movies? Are they ruining the movie watching experience?

It's a good read, even if they misquote Guillermo del Toro...
(FACT CHECKING! Is it really that hard? UGH! FYI, Guillermo del Toro never said that Crimson Peak isn't a horror film. He said it was a Gothic horror film. Which is a very specific (and rather old) sub-genre of horror. Don't know what that is? Look it up. This isn't a horror history post, this is a rant post. Deal with it.)

Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah.

Horror fans.

Let's talk about horror fans, over-hyped films, and ridiculous unreasonably high expectations set by successful runs in big film festivals such as Sundance.

Horror fans are so varied and they really are a rather broad demographic, I would hesitate to even attempt to shove anyone into a small corner and label them a "true horror fan". Hell, I can't even fathom the term "horror fandom". I was under the impression that a fandom was a group of fans of a particular work, such as the Steven Universe Fandom, or the My Little Pony fandom and so on.

Posers vs. True Horror Fans? Puh-lease!

Look, let me spell it out for you. It doesn't matter if you like horror, or if you love horror, either way you're a horror fan. Period. That's it. End of story.

And just because you don't find a particular horror film scary, doesn't mean that it does not scare other people. Everyone has different things that they are afraid of.

After reading reactions to films for gosh, years, I realize that what it comes down to is the pretentious assholes (who think they know horror best and go out of their way to label things that don't scare them as not being a horror film) vs. the non-deep thinking, crowd following, movie hype train riders. (OMG you love LOVECRAFT?! I love Cthulhu! I got his t-shirt autographed and everything! See? I'm cool just like you!)

The thing is, we can't divide ourselves into a binary group of people. No matter how badly the VS. crowds want us to, or how loudly they shout from their echo chambers on the Internet.


Well, for one, they don't represent all of us. And for two, everyone has something that they are afraid of. Fear is an endemic part of the human condition. However, what terrifies one person, does not necessarily scare someone else. We are complicated creatures after all.

For instance, I find people that are afraid of mice and scream and stand up on chairs and point at them to be hysterical. (This is not hyperbole- I actually worked with someone that did that once when a cute little mouse ran across the floor. Hilarious.)

Generally, I find that the types of people that don't like artsy fartsy horror movies are usually the ones that say that if a film doesn't scare them (and them alone) it isn't a horror movie.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but those people? They aren't horror gatekeepers, or "true horror fans" or even horror lovers.

They're horror haters. *gasp* How could you say that?!

Well, that's easy.

Because it's true.

"It's not scary, so it's not a horror film." 

Bullshit! Bullshit I say!

When a movie, such as "It Follows" or "The Witch" comes out, and it's a smart, clever, unique film critics will RAVE about after they see it at Sundance, and a ton of websites will post reviews. Most of them will be positive and give people the impression that the film is super duper scary. Then, when it finally is released in theaters nationwide, rabid fans go to see it, in droves. Opening night. So excited. Squee!

Then...they talk about it.



they hated it.

They FREAK the fuck out.

I'm not joking. Those people are PISSED.

So disappointed.

Such a let down.

This movie sucked ass!

 WTF were people thinking? It's just another over-hyped shitty movie that isn't even scary.

I shit you not. I have come across that particular statement so many times lately in regards to slow burn psychological horror films such as "The Babadook", "It Follows" and "The Witch."

Hey, asshole, get over yourself. Just because you aren't scared by it and think it is boring and lame, doesn't mean that someone else that actually likes to think and analyze a film after seeing and understands metaphors, art, feelings, music, human history and psychology isn't terrified by the movie. Because most of the time, they are.

But thinking is hard! I don't want to think! I just want a fun slasher film with gallons of blood and people screaming and boobs flashing and a clear cut bad guy that is stopped by the good guy.

Oh yeah? Well...go watch one and shut the fuck up already. They're a dime a dozen.

(Now...the same thing can be said about torture porn movies. I don't find them scary, I find them over-sensationalized, exploitation gross out films, so should they not be considered horror films? Hmmm?)

But honestly, it is of no surprise that the audience is shocked and pissed off when they discover that the film everyone loved and talked about for months doesn't fit in with their modern Hollywood pop-culture definition of horror. And that is because they don't know about the genre's history, nor how broad of a category horror truly is.

So how does a horror film become so over-hyped and sensationalized before anyone gets the chance to even see it?

I'm so glad that you asked.

There are several reasons why horror movies are over-hyped and why people have unreasonably high, or incorrect expectations about them: 

1. The Internet Hype Machine

I love the Internet.

It is a wonderful, albeit horrifying, human invention. Just about any information you would like to learn about you can find on the Internet. Same thing goes with any movie or book or medical condition. (don't Google your symptoms. Guaranteed you'll wind up thinking you have Lupus. Thanks Dr. House.)

We are living in the information age.

Unfortunately, this is also the dawn of social media, where anyone, and everyone with access can comment and get their voice heard and hype, hyperbole, trolling, and all sorts of extremes of human behavior is all too common.

Don't believe me? Just hang out on Twitter and FaceBook for two days. Just two days.

Wait for someone to share a link to a post that says that an actor MIGHT BE "in talks" to star in an upcoming movie.

By the end of the second day, website posts will go from saying that the actor is in talks to maybe be in that movie, to them definitely being cast in it in a starring role and it's going to be the most fucking awesomest movie evar made! AHHH!!!

I've seen this happen multiple times.

It's like that kid's whisper game, Telephone? (You know it, even if you call it something else in your area.) The one game where your elementary school teacher stands everyone in a circle in class, and one person starts  and whispers a sentence, such as "I have a dog," and people keep whispering the sentence and pass it around the circle. By the time it gets to the last person, the sentence transmutes into a horrible abomination of "I have a dog that had cancer and got treatment and now has super powers and shoots lasers from its eyes. Oh, and it has a degree from Harvard. And it farts bad. Really stinky, stinky farts."

That's what happens on the Internet. Rumor mongering. Hyperbole. HYPE! People LOVE to exaggerate. They do it all the time. It's exciting! They're excited! Let's all get fired up about that one thing! Woooo!

That sort of thing also happens when posts go out of their way to say how awesome a movie is, and a ton of other sites jump on the band wagon and do the same thing. It's over-saturation of the market.

Want to know why "10 Cloverfield Lane" wasn't announced until the trailer was silently released last month without even a hint of that movie even being made?

It was done to avoid hype and over-exposure, so that the title remains fresh and mysterious. It will pique people's interests and keep their interests piqued until they see the movie a few weeks later, and guess what? They're not going in to the film with raised expectations from over-hyped reviews, they're going to enjoy the movie for what it is, and not for what they thought it would be.

And that's smart.

2. Successful 80's slasher movies made pop-culture icons that still resonate with people today.

Without a doubt, if you were to walk up to a random person in the mall and ask them if they knew who Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers are, they'd say yes. That's because they're not just horror icons, they're pop-culture icons. The slasher films they spawned were insanely popular and made a pretty nice chunk of change for the production and distribution companies. And that is why they are everywhere, and everyone knows who they are. We have been over-exposed to them.

It's also important to realize that slasher film murderers are pop-culture icons because they are prolific. They are all about quantity, not quality. The films are fast to make, and they were made specifically with what special effects the makeup artists/creators could come up with for innovative kills, and because of that, they had little to no plot.

What's the plot of Halloween?

Babysitter is attacked by mute psychopath wearing a mask.

What's the plot of Friday the 13th?

Camp counselors are murdered by psychopath wearing a mask. (Not the first one, that was his mom. But still...most people forget that.)

Freddy Kruger started out with more complex plots, him being a dream demon hellbent on revenge, but even the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise devolved into special effect shticks and gimmicks by the third movie of the series.

Because of their popularity, and pervasiveness in pop-culture, most people wrongly believe that horror films are nothing but blood and guts and carnage. (Heh. Carnage.) So when a movie doesn't have a slasher killer/monster/psychopath/evil mom running amok and slicing and dicing people up, a particular sub-set of horror fans wrongly believe that it is not scary and not a horror movie.

Lemme tell you something kid. You couldn't be more wrong if you tried.

3. The Rise of the Torture Porn flick sub-genre 

The monetary success of 80s slasher films paved the way for the torture porn flicks of the 2000's. If Jason, Michael and Freddy had not become so popular, I highly doubt that Jigsaw from the "Saw" franchise would've ever caught on.

Torture porn flicks have a lot in common with slasher films- they contain innovative ways to kill and dismember people, and they are the framing devices for the movie's plot. They have more gore, and try to out-do the on-screen stabbings, mutilations etc. that their predecessors did. Most of the time, they succeed.

And because of this, we have yet another horror icon and horror sub-genre that has little to nothing to do with "being scary" and everything to do with making people cringe and freak out about how that one character with the bear trap on her head almost had it snapped clean off.

These types of movies are all out about the gross-out, squirm factor. And, just like slasher films, because of their popularity, many people wrongly believe that if a horror film doesn't include blood guts and torture devices, it isn't a horror movie.

Also gross out torture porn? Yeah. Most often the emotional reaction in the viewer is one of disgust, not fear. 

4. The Found Footage Squad

Oh man. These guys. Ugh...

Found Footage and be fun.


Maybe a little.

OK fine. They suck.

Unfortunately, Found Footage is typically a form of movie that is done when there is little to no budget available. And since there is no budget, they often have no scripts and actors are told just to wing it. Improvised plots! Yeah, that goes over so well.

Ever watch a "Paranormal Activity" movie? They have little to no plot and are about people that are so boring, or just assholes for no reasons, and they can't even get their metaplot right from movie to movie.

Is it a demon or a ghost? Is it the ghost of a demon? Who is it possessing this week? Why are little girls being possessed? Are there witches or some sort of cult involved? And who thought that including the XBOX Kinect was a good idea? 

Found Footage movies rely on cheap jump scares and shaky cam. The nausea inducing camera judders alone make this one of the worst sub-genres of horror ever invented to date.

Why are they so popular?

Because they're prolific. They can be pumped out on a yearly basis. Sometimes bi-annually even, because they're cheap to make. And little kids are easily scared by the not-so-subtle use of bass sub-frequencies and sudden, loud bursts of sound as something lunges at the camera.

At least, they think that they are being scared. However, that is not fear, that is being startled. Startling someone and making them jump isn't scary. It's freaking annoying.

Hyped-up horror films. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are ugly. 

Taking these four things into consideration, it's easy to see how people wrongly expect every horror film to contain blood, guts, gore, cutty sharp things, mutilations and/or cannibalism, things that evoke disgust, and the ubiquitous jump scare.

When they read reviews of movies that appear at film festivals (at which the filmmakers are attempting to find distribution companies to buy their movie and get it in theaters nationwide) and the critics are raving about a horror film and how scary it is, horror fans insert their false ideals and incorrectly expect the movie to be a high quality slasher, torture porn, splatterpunk, mutilation extravaganza.

The longer it takes for a movie to be distributed and handed out to the masses, the more people put these movies on pedestals, and expect them to be the most fucking awesomest movie evar made. WOOOO!!!! USA! USA! USA!

But what they don't realize is that most often, the critics that rave about the awesome horror films they see at Sundance etc. appreciate films as an art form. These people have a more open mind, and often broader expectations when it comes to watching movies. So when they see a slow burn, psychological horror film, such as "The Babadook" they really get into it, and it scares them, and that is why they raved about it.

However, what scares one person does not necessarily scare someone else. And, if you go into a movie theater expected a fast paced action filled gorefest and get a movie that carefully and purposefully builds an atmosphere of dread and loathing, and takes pains to be a character study, a movie about how people think and act (Oh, the monsters that we are!), you will be sorely disappointed.

It isn't just with psychological horror films that horror fans do this. It happens with Gothic horror as well. 

Many a horror fan was disgruntled after seeing "Crimson Peak". They thought it was horrible and proclaimed that it wasn't a horror film. I'm really not sure what people were expecting. It was advertised as Gothic horror; a movie about a young woman that finds herself living in a lonely manor on a cliff with two spooky people, and that house just happens to have some ghosts (the ghosts are a metaphor about the secrets that those people keep).

I hate to break it to you, but Gothic horror has a very long tradition in literature. It is a legitimate sub-genre of horror. It's not necessarily scary, it's more "horror light" if you will- it contains horror elements, such as supernatural beings, and these monsters are used as foils to reflect the inner nature of the characters. People are the true monsters in these tales. 

It was about the relationships between the characters, and involved a bit of romance mixed with the revelation of terrible, life altering secrets, it did not have a ton of blood and guts and chainsaws. (Yep. No chainsaws. This is a Victorian era period piece we are talking about here. They hadn't been invented yet.)

Because of this a ton of people thought that it was lame and proclaimed in a huge bellow on the Internet, "THIS IS NOT HORROR! THIS MOVIE SUCKED!"

So, why does this keep happening? What causes the movie hype train to leave the station?

Let's play a game. (Don't worry, I won't kidnap you and force you to mutilate someone so that you can escape a death trap and appreciate the life you have.)

Ever get really, really excited for a slice of cake?

Pick your favorite flavor. Think of the most delicious, most mouth watering cake, complete with beautiful frosting slathered all over it. Now, imagine that you've been looking forward to eating that slice of cake for your birthday for 12 months. And the more you think about it, the more you get excited and can't wait to eat it because it's going to be so damn good. Mmmmm....caaaaaake.

Then, on your birthday, you get that slice of cake.

You greedily take a first bite and shovel a huge chunk of it into your mouth and...wait. That's not the right. The texture is off. It's a little dry. The flavor is artificial. Fake. They used the cheapest ingredients they could get. And the frosting is the wrong kind. It has gritty sugar crystals in it, and you discover that the person that bought it for your birthday bought the cake from the grocery store bakery, and not the little family owned one on the corner that you love to go to.

The person bought cake from that grocery store because they love the way they make their cakes, and they thought that you do too. They don't realize that it's not something that you personally would like, nor that you were looking forward to enjoying it for 12 whole months.

You'd be pretty disappointed in that slice of cake, wouldn't you?

You were so looking forward to eating it all year. And then it's shit! ARG!

That is what happens to horror movie fans when they go to see an over-hyped horror film. Especially one that has been sitting around waiting to be distributed, and the film critics gave it raving reviews.

Horror fans think that the super awesome horror film is going to be like that slice of delicious cake. That it's going to be in their favorite flavor. But it's not. It's someone else's favorite flavor. And once they take a bite and realize that, it pisses them off and they go on a rant on FaceBook and the Twitters about how shitty that cake/movie was.

Do I expect every horror film that gets good reviews to be something that scares me? Do I look forward with childish glee and enthusiasm to every horror film that people rave about?


Because I know that sometimes, it's just not my piece of cake. It's meant for someone else.

And that, my friends, is the real reason why we can't have nice things. Because there's always someone that gets pissed off when they discover that something they thought they would enjoy, wasn't made for them.