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Are Horror Movies Dying?

With the rise of technology over the last decade, horror movies and the horror genre have drastically changed. Is this because of lazy writing and producing that relies on cheap jump scares or is it because modern technology has ruined the terror of isolation?

One reason why horror movies worked so well in the past is because the technology we have today did not exist. You couldn’t just whip out your smartphone and go on Google Maps. If you forgot your wallet you had no money, period. You couldn’t pull out your phone and paywave instantly. The characters had no one and nothing to rely on except themselves.

So what are your thoughts? Watch any past horror movie and pretend it’s set in 2018 and I can guarantee you the movie would be over within the first half an hour.

  • The fact that advanced technology exists does make an interesting point, but maybe what also could be explored is the shift in storytelling. What are the differences between the characters and topics included in past and present horror films? Do modern horror films rely on too many clichés, or not enough? – Gabby 6 days ago
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  • Horror movies have definitely changed with the rise of digital tech, but I would argue that they're nearly as prominent in the mainstream as they were during the 80's horror boom in terms of sheer output. There are even horror movies that make explicit use of the internet as a catalyst for horror, like Unfriended (2014), Megan is Missing (2011), and The Den (2013). This isn't to say that those are good movies necessarily, but they still manipulate the technological advances of the day the same way Scream (1996) and One Missed Call (2008) used early cell phones, and The Ring (1998) used VHS tapes. There are also recent, successful horror films that still make use of the terrifying sense of isolation that cell phones eliminate, like Get Out (2017), Split (2016), and The Babadook (2014). Smart phones and the internet can be obstacles in terms of building tension, but they can also be assets. We live in a world where abduction, trauma, and even allegedly supernatural occurrences still befall people regardless of their access to mapquest or emergency services. We still have weak points; it's the horror writer's job to find and exploit them in fiction. – TheCropsey 5 days ago
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  • This is an expansion on what Gabby and TheCropsey stated already. I'd agree that there is an increase in cheap/lazy horror movies but I don't think they are necessarily dying. In fact, I think they are on the rise again. With films like Get Out (2017) and A Quiet Place (2018). There are plenty of other films, but these are two strong examples of well-crafted horror films in the new age. I think it is important to consider the reasons why there are more horror films succeeding recently. Technology inhibits telling horror stories the same way as the past, but that doesn't mean they can't adapt. Some films even play on this. But other films like the two I listed earlier, along with It Follows (2014) and others, can work even in the confines of technology. The shift in storytelling is important, since some horror films can still work even if based in a different time period like The Witch (2016). There are a number of factors to consider, and this topic can easily work, I think it just has to cover how horror has shifted storytelling tropes and ideas for a 21st century audience. – Connor 5 days ago
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  • I don't think horror movies are dying. Rather, they're being reinvented for audiences familiar with the genre. We've become quite used to typical elements of horror (e.g. supernatural creatures, out-of-shot shadows) that we've vicariously speculated on how to defeat them. While technology can limit that sense of isolation, there are other ways it can pronounce terror. Reliance on technology can ratchet up a false sense of security before it all goes the hell. I agree with what's been said already; horror is in the storytelling. It's up to the writer to decide if they want to write a horror movie that only checks the boxes, or one that goes beyond that, and craps on our hastily built failsafes. – Starfire 3 days ago
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Taken by isabelladannunzio (PM) 2 days ago.
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Horror Then and Now

Look at how the genre has evolved over the years. Talk about some of the icons in the horror movie franchise and how they have evolved along with the genre. Also you might look at the directors of the horror genre and how they have helped the evolution of the horror genre.

  • This is a solid topic, one which can be thoroughly examined. Given that the genre initially leaned more towards psychological horror and since morphed (sadly) into physical horror (like the splatter-fest movies of Eli Roth), there is a lot that can be observed. It could also be interesting to note how filmmakers are starting to lean a bit more towards psychological horror again with films like "The Babadook" and "It Follows". – August Merz 2 years ago
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  • Early directors and critics panned The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but later reactions were more positive. Was this revisionism anomalous, or a general change in perspective affecting the horror genre? What were the specific critiques of the first horror film(s) and how did they help shape ensuing horror films? – Tigey 2 years ago
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Hypersexuality in Horror Movies

A paper that examines the psychological aspects of hypersexuality’s presence in horror movies, and a historical timeline of its escalation.

  • This sounds like an extremely interesting article and I hope you go forward with it! It will definitely take a lot of dense research regarding information and studies on the psychological effects of hypersexuality in horror films but I think you have a wonderful, intriguing idea to jump off from! I can't wait to read what you come up with as I think this is a very important topic. – leahw 2 years ago
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  • This can certainly prove to be a new horror era if really done well, but what you have to make sure that you write in manner that one reading it can still relate it to a horror movie and not a porn. – EmilyWrites 2 years ago
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