And then there are times where we don’t exactly get it right. Sometimes we just like to complain, troll or whine our way into a dismal pit of emptiness and loneliness alienating the community, Knocking down every new thing that comes our way. Sometimes we just attack; claws out and ready to shred.
I write a lot about when the horror community should get it right or does it get right. I usually try to avoid talking about the times where the horror community gets it wrong. Let’s focus on that for just a little bit today.
Nine Common Complaints by Horror Fans
1. The difference between VHS, DVD and Blu-ray (other assorted physical media) – I can sense a fight brewing here. There’s something to be said about collecting older medium, enjoying the physical and even playing wax nostalgia with our VHS tapes, laser discs, vinyl and even film if you’re that lucky, but let’s be perfectly clear: DVD’s are not the devil. Blu-rays are not an evil. 4k Blu-rays will only hurt your wallet in 2015 (but they won’t rape your mama).
And on the other side you techno freak out, AV club kids with your spiffy 1000.1 surround sound system and Dolby Digital Deathbed, your new media releases aren’t necessarily better in every way to older formats. This is preference. There are perfectly good reasons to enjoy all formats under the sun. Perhaps a bit of tolerance would be good from all concerned because if I hear one more time that the quality of VHS is better than the Blu-ray I’m going to pee in someone’s mouth and then force you to drink from that person’s severed head. Of course Blu-ray nerds… chill out. The tapeheads like their format, their aspect ratios, their cuts and their releases not yet digitized. The artwork is fantastic on VHS. They don’t skip (even if they do degrade over time).
And for fuck’s sake do not use the argument that VHS looks better than goddamn Blu-ray. That’s ignorant. There are awesome reasons to love VHS. There are strong arguments for vinyl as a superior media to CD’s or Mp3s. Check your facts and be smart about your argument if you must argue (which you simply don’t need to). You want to fight something? Fight movies being thrown into garbage dumps without preservation. Fight that!
2. Remakes/Reimagings – Talk to your therapist if you think your childhood has been raped. That’s where you need to address such things if you think that a remake is attacking you or trying to physically maul you or your past. There is no time machine. No Flux capacitor. Your childhood is still back there and probably being ruined by New Kids on the Block even if you won’t fucking admit that Hanging Tough was a great fucking song… wait… where was I?
Remakes are as old as horror movies. Adaptations of horror novels vary as much as the retelling of popular stories of horror and legends throughout history. It is this evolution and passing down of stories that create culture and redefine culture and keep stories fresh. Novelty and creativity (even if done for the almighty dollar) can and do generate powerful stories IF YOU LET THEM. First step, realize that your movies are… NOT YOUR MOVIES. They don’t belong to just you. They belong to us all and most importantly to the right holder who can and will do whatever the fuck he or she wants to. It isn’t always what we would do, but if you are that concerned with the preservation of your past and the preservation of the moves you love perhaps the best thing to do would be to watch and purchase the movies you enjoy and leave the remakes and reimaginings to those of us with media rape whistles. No one rapes my childhood… why? It’s in the past and unless you’ve been watching too much True Detective, the flat circle isn’t in the now.
No one is asking you to like everything. Just don’t hate it because it is an embodiment of a former thing that you hold dear. It isn’t productive and the critique as such save for a few choice moments is absurd.
3. Found Footage, Assembled Footage and POV Horror - It’s cheap and filmmakers can make movies this way now where they might not have had a chance to make a movie before. So for that reason, for the artistic expression that it allows for and the talent it can help to cultivate found and assembled footage movies are actually quite helpful. That doesn’t mean we support blindly the found footage movies that seem to be filling up our Netflix queues and our theater marquees. Movies still have to be good, but they should be good based on their merit and not one aspect of the film. There are plenty of good found footage movies. You just have to dig through some clutter because right now there is an oversaturation of these movies due to cheap production and inexpensive camera equipment. Good horror fans do research, and find movies that will support their love of horror.
Example: what if you lumped all silent horror together in the same way that found footage pics get lumped together. You hate them all! Let’s just say you do for now (I know you don’t or hope you don’t). You’d be missing Max Schreck in Nosferatu and the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. You’d never see The Phantom of the Opera! Horror movies should be despised or loved based on a viewing, not a theory and not a prediction. Watch movies if you like horror. Do not play armchair philosopher and simply discuss movies. You’re no better than Margaret Thatcher that way, you video nasty!
4. Genre of the Year – Be it Vamps, Zombies, Post-Apocalyptics… ya’ll hate on the popular genre of the day something fierce. Boy is that tiresome. You hate everything! Zombies have been big for some time now and so the trend is to hate the zombie movie. You don’t watch them or acknowledge them even if they have merit. This goes hand in hand with our discussion about the found footage type movies. If you don’t watch them, you can’t find the good ones. There are certainly good zombie movies being released I promise you! Also, you don’t have to like every aspect of something. Take for instance The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead has some great gore, practical and some computer generation. But YOU hate TWD! You troll it out on the internet every Sunday, but complain because there’s not enough gore on TV! Well guess what? If you’d just get over the fact that it’s a “zombie” show, you might get to enjoy some of the face-rippings that we all get to love each Sundaynight. In that same vain, there are good vampire movies (and good vampire found footage movies even!). Take a deep breath, watch a movie and if it sucks, turn it the fuck off. Best not to judge movies by trailers or early reviews. They can be used as guide posts but you can’t form an opinion about a movie until you’ve seen it. Trailers can deceive (for better or worse) and reviewers can be untrustworthy (you have to look behind the curtain to see who owns the review site you read… very important).
Advice here: watch movies. Then form opinions. The internet is hard; I know. But you can be its master!
5. Computer Generated Effects – I am so guilty of this (all of these really). Just because a movie contains computer generated effects does not mean it will suck. Practical effects are impressive, and I appreciate the skill that goes into them, but we should definitely give movies a chance that focus on solely on the computer generated variety as well. I am fully aware that filmmakers are using computer generated blood splatter that looks as fake as the N64 game you were just playing, but it’s best not to lump on CG together and give films a chance.
The computer artists that create those effects… they’re artists too. Just different. They don’t work in latex, but they work hard at their craft.
6. Kickstarter or Crowdfunding Campaigns – This is simple. If you do not like crowdfunding, do not do it. Do not support it with your dollars, but please try to avoid pissing on everyone’s parade. People are making movies for the first time because they have the financial backing to do it. This can take whatever form it needs to. In this instance a pool of smaller investors is drawn upon because the big investors are currently entangled in other projects that they deem to be more financially viable than someone’s little Turkey Baster Killer project. That’s fine. There are a group of dedicated horror fans that will help this to get made within your micro-budget that you can’t make flipping fucking burgers because goddamn it it’s fucking hard to get work sometimes! Filmmakers don’t have to die on the vine here people. We can help ‘em.
Older horror actors need help raising funds for projects or even daily life events, sickness or collapsing houses? Help em out. They gave you quite a lot of memories, right? Might as well pay it the fuck forward, but if you’re not going to do that, best to put positive energy into the world and not destroy the ambitions or last chances of people who have their own stories.
In short, keep it positive and keep quiet if you can’t say anything nice. You know that there’s a sleaze ball kickstarter runner out there? Call him out and make sure to have proof, but legit causes… people who are on the level… they’re just trying to get by the way that we all are.
Note: Filmmakers who are crowdfunding… you better be courteous and use all your goddamn manners! You’re asking for help. Act like it. Don’t befriend motherfuckers on Facebook to increase your pool. Don’t defriend a motherfucker when they say they won’t fund your project. Don’t pester. Don’t be mean. Ask. Nicely. Say Thank you. Honor your commitments to the funders.
7. The Horror Community itself – THE COMMUNITY DOES IN FACT EXIST! Let me dispel any goddamn rumors to the contrary. It is a living, breathing organism that has its own set of mores and taboos as well as laws and culture. If you can’t see it, maybe that’s because you’re in its guts! The horror community is dead? Get out from behind your TV and go to a convention. Go to watch a movie in the theater late at night or find a film screening. It is alive. It is well. It is malleable and every evolving.
8. Prices of Things – I bitch too. I know that money is tight. Limited editions are so fucking limited and cost so much and they’re only around for a short period of time before a bunch of capitalist pigs flip them to fund their own whorish needs (this is the way the collector’s brain thinks). So we spend. And we contribute to cool shit, miss out on cool shit and WE DON’T GET TO HAVE EVERYTHING WE WANT. We feel like we are so entitled that when a release is priced above the norm or in limited quantity we cry fowl. I do it. Regularly, but damn if that doesn’t help to fund projects intelligently as a business model for distro companies and artists who know the value of their work and know what something costs to produce. I wish we could have more on demand production of items or greater quantity when the demand is there, but that’s what makes collecting kinda fun, right? Not having it all. Everyone has different stuff. We compare. We remember sitting on that damn F5 key on the Mondo website trying to get that damn print that time.
This structure works for a reason. The pricing structure at cons for autographs works the same. The more money actors make, the word of mouth spreads and maybe… just maybe… you get someone like Jamie Lee Curtis to use that financial floodgate to fund a great cause. Or maybe your shuttered favorite actor from Night Train to Terror makes his first con appearance because he hears about the Benjamins.
Cons are a business. Business is good. Demand is high and we are seeing a tremendous new crop of folks who will pay to get shit signed and actors stepping out from the shadow. It’s connected and the system functions just right. It may not be as cheap as it used to be but have you seen the price of cigarettes? God and people NEED those things to get through the day. Sheesh.
9. PG-13 is the End of Horror - PG-13 is a rating classification for all movies. It has not ruined genres. It will not (unless you let it). Think of it like this. Your movies are rated right? To get into a theater. So with this shit we watch most of the stuff gets cut anyway right? Even just a little. You don't get unrated releases. You don't get NC-17 rated horror pictures. You generally get R rated horror movies or, more recently PG-13 horror movies. That means somebody made a cut somewhere in each version. To get the R. To get the PG-13. Some producer before that probably made some director cut some shit he didn't want and the only reason you give a fuck... is because you KNOW ABOUT because the internet or other media told you about it.
Here's an idea. Go into a movie. Don't pay attention to the rating. Watch it and base your opinion on the movie that was delivered to you by the studio and take it for what it was. Maybe you'd prefer more gore or maybe when you find out the rating you'll be surprised. It's probably not a realistic task to do actually given the prevalence of the rating being throw in your fucking face. So try not to care. See what you think. Watch the movie and then make an assessment of the movie maybe and not the ratings board. By focusing on the rating all your doing is giving the censor the power to control you. You can form opinions without the ratings board because you're an adult. The rating plan is not meant for you anyway. It's meant for kids, right? Do you have kids or are you planning to take kids to see the movie in question? If yes, care about the rating. If no, why would you care.
If the filmmaker states that something was cut from the film due to rating by the board well that sucks. That doesn't make you happy or me happy and that's the best argument out there but I love Kill Bill. I adore it, and the ratings board had plenty of fun with that one.
Now why did I write this? I want every single one of you to go out and watch a movie that you might not otherwise have watched based on the restrictions you set for yourself. Think of those as boundaries. Prisons. Maybe you'll "see something you like" to quote Linda from Halloween.
And if this pisses you off, write a retraction damning each one of my points with a detailed reason. Don't just say Found Footage movies suck. Or send naked pictures in protest. firstname.lastname@example.org