Did you ever notice that most horror films use the same formula? What surprises me more is that people are actually freaked out by these impossible clichés.
This is how it goes. Several wild teenagers (a MUST for these films... who would like to watch 60 year olds being stalked by Jason or Freddie Kreuger or whoever the villain is?) … are lost in a forest or end up in a haunted mansion, with the feeling that they "are not alone…"
Next, one by one, everyone is murdered- of course, except the hero and the heroine themselves. The sequence of killing follows quite a predictable pattern- the lower your courage (and looks) the earlier you die.
During the process, the lead actors face the villain many times, but manage to escape by narrow margins. They also find ton of clues (like dried blood on the floor, hidden passageways, and secret pasts), which somehow points to someone who is actually innocent.
In the end, they discover that the bad guy is really one of their friends who are either jealous or psychotic. Naturally, after that the "happily ever after" syndrome comes in. More often, the mystery lives on…
Few days back, we were having a family time, watching a rented 70's horror. It was the same old ingredients. Surprisingly, my aunt was petrified by the fact that some teenagers in the film were being followed by a serial killer who wears a battered bear mask. Yet, more shocking was the astonished look on her face and the squeal of fear when she discovered that the bear-mask-man was really the hero's envious ex-girlfriend. Gak! Talk about déjà vu.
Some movies, I admit, are well made, although they use the same formula. These include, I know What You Did Last Summer, Valentine, and Friday the 13th (Though the movie was an instant hit, I was a little taken aback when all the seven sequels had identical plots.) On the other hand, some movies do bring changes to the formula. Scream was different, as Drew Barrymore, the lead character, is murdered in the VERY FIRST SCENE!
However, more often than not, I (and probably almost everyone) like movies with unconventional views. Let us take for example, the Blair Witch Project. Yes… a group of teenagers do venture into a forest. Still, it stands out, because instead of just "goin' in," they enter aimed at catching the Blair Witch on tape for a documentary. The thing is, the movie itself plays like a documentary with terrifying settings and gone-crazy camera angles. It makes you feel as if you are right there! The Exorcist is another example- a movie with a completely different story. A girl possessed by the Devil. It secured its position as "The Scariest Film Ever Made" with its killer special effects and sound. Stephen King is one man who is prepared to do anything to scare. With the screen adaptations of Carrie, The Shining, Misery and more recently, Dreamcatcher, he takes on completely different grounds and wins.
Lately there has been a new genre called the "horror-comedy." These films have no specific plots, only a handful of scenes that mock a wide range of horror films. "Scary Movie" and "Shriek" have made their mark. They are uproarious, but not exactly enlightening.
Well, it is time for me to put my pen down. I will catch you later. Meanwhile… Beware of green-eyed peers, dark forests and most importantly, uncreative psychopaths.
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