...stop busting Horror's balls!
by J.A. Hamilton
For the past couple weeks (maybe longer) I’ve been seeing countless commercials on TV for the new STEPFATHER remake. I never caught the original, and though the concept is remotely interesting, my curiosity diminishes all too abruptly when I hear the final line: rated PG-13. I then get angry, mumble a handful of obscenities and await the return of whatever show I happened to be watching. I would never say a horror flick NEEDS to be rated R to be great (some PG-13 fluff from time to time never killed anyone…at least not graphically anyway), but eighty to ninety percent of horror SHOULD be R rated. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not at all impressed by our spineless, pitiful and altogether butchered (not the good kind either) collection of horror these past couple years.
Nothing instills a sense of fear like a good ol neck tie
I’m not saying these films aren’t enjoyable; I left the theater pretty damn happy after watching DRAG ME TO HELL. I’m a devoted Sam Raimi fan, but what I won’t do is shower him in praise over this film’s style (which was being raved about as a return to old school horror) as I remain unconvinced this was how he WANTED to shoot it, as opposed to how he NEEDED to shoot it to get a PG-13 “money-maker” rating (only to release a DVD and Blu-ray with a theatrical and uncut version, the uncut version actually being SHORTER than the theatrical one). Besides, if you really want a textbook definition of “old school”, check out HATCHET, a true homage to the old days of horror (and keep an eye out for HATCHET 2, due out sometime in 2010).
There's nothing PG-13 about getting your face ripped in half!
ORPHAN was a fantastic R rated horror flick that grossed nearly 63 million worldwide. Sure, it wasn’t “horror flick of the year” or anything and ended up being a mix of THE OMEN and THE GOOD SON, but it didn’t hold back, sported a good script and had a cool ending. The FRIDAY THE 13TH remake pulled in 92 million, MY BLOODY VALENTINE made 93 million and THE FINAL DESTINATION racked up 156 million. These numbers are ample proof that R rated horror not only makes money, but is still very much in demand. So what’s with all these “playing it safe” duds? Lest with forget that the “new strand” of remake virus I touched upon last week has also infected the horror genre in a huge way. I liked the aforementioned VALENTINE and FRIDAY remakes, but what the hell was up with SORORITY ROW? That looked like something they dug up out of the killer from I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER’s backyard.
"Like, NO WAY, that creepy hockey player totally saw my boobs!"
ZOMBIELAND was one of the best times I’ve had at the moves all year (not to mention the Woody Harrelson/ZOMBIELAND/Paparazzi scandal was by far the funniest celebrity news I heard all year), and if an R rated movie about zombies, one of, if not THE MOST overused and worn out “horror gimmick sub-genre” that just won’t die, can make 48 million bucks in its first two weeks, then I have ample faith that ANY and ALL R rated horror flicks can make a decent amount of cash if the script is well written, the characters and ideas are smart and the actors are giving it their all. So why the hesitation? I’ve always figured it was due to money, but the stats are right there and are by no means a secret. Some will argue it’s a means of diversity, others will call it laziness, but it doesn’t really matter whether you say “tomato” or “tomahto” it’s still not cool any way you slice it and needs to change.
"Hold up, is that a zombie or a paparazzo?"
There’s a reason I’m such a huge fan of HBO (and why I miss the hell out of MASTERS OF HORROR), life is rated R folks, just as horror should be. In most cases I just can’t get behind these watered down R.L Stine type horror flicks that tap dance around fear and death like a bunch of teenage virgins telling ghost stories around a bible school campfire. I’m not saying we need to be showered in senseless gore and nudity HOSTEL 2 style, but there’s always a happy medium to be found, and should furthermore be enforced less we forget what horror was always meant to be. If Hollywood wants to make PG-13 thrillers (which is what I would call the STEPFATHER remake, as well as stuff like THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY) then so be it; they won’t get a fight from me. However, the fact that Hollywood has instead decided to flood the horror genre with these films, makes me want to grab my bat and start going door to door like they do at the end of JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. So if you’ll excuse me, I have some addresses to look up.