Dear Horror Movie Industry,
After seeing the last piece of excrement shat out by M. Night Shyamalan, I almost wrote this in a much angrier tone, but then I remembered how much I adored another film from this year, “It Follows,” that surpassed all expectations, so this letter will be somewhat tame.
I want you to know that I am here for you, in this: your darkest hour. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of your films that truly blew me away. Hell, I liked “It Follows,” but even the audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes only gave it a 62%. I want you guys to be back in your prime when you could make a horror film that stood out to audience members, and made you remember them. In this letter, I have included several tips on how to make better films, earn more praise, and make more money.
Stop trying to bait the audience with the trailer, we have outgrown that
I would like to begin by telling you that I am not against you. Although for every good horror movie that comes out in a given year there are about 12 awful ones, that one good one tends to make me come back for more. However, my main issue is with those 12. Now horror is unlike most other genres in the sense that it is hard to determine whether or not the film with be decent based solely on the trailer alone. When people first saw the trailer for “Paranormal Activity,” they laughed at the film, and did not give it a chance. When people actually saw the movie, they were blown away, and it became an instant classic. As an audience, we rely on the opening day reviews more than any other genre to determine whether or not the film will be any good.
In this lies your problem. You do so much to try and get the audience to see your movie with your trailer alone, that you don’t even care about the substance. For example, in your trailer for “The Gallows,” you tried to make it sound like the film was going to be the next great series, and that the villain will be held to the same esteem as Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger. What happened next? It got a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, and barely cleared $20 million at the box office as opposed to “Sinister,” which was met with praise, and earned $50 million. It sounds obvious, but apparently you need to hear it. If you want to make more money, make better damn movies!
The following sequels/remakes are okay, and nothing else
A remake of”Godzilla Vs. King Kong.”I know it isn’t exactly a horror film, but giant monster movies fall into your category too.
A sequel to “Pacific Rim.” Same reason as “Godzilla Vs. King Kong.”
A sequel to “Trick R Treat.” Sam is the closest thing to another Jason Voorhees/Freddy Kruger that we have got in years.
A sequel or prequel to “House of a Thousand Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects.” Actually, just keep giving Rob Zombie money to make whatever he wants.
A remake or fresh-retelling of the classic Universal Monsters-It has been years since we had a Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, or Mummy movie.
The following franchises/types of movies need to die
“Paranormal Activity.” f*#@$%& stop.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Wes Craven’s death and Robert Englund’s age have ended the franchise for good.
Possession/exorcism movies. – “The Exorcist” is the only one that did it right. Nobody else can reach that potential.
M. Night Shyamalan movies – He should then be tried by the United Nations for his crimes against humanity.
Found footage movies – This gimmick has been used in dozens of horror movies, and it has worked exactly twice: “Cloverfield” and “Paranormal Activity.”
Have a Non-supernatural Villain
I need you to watch three movies: “Silence of the Lambs,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Psycho.” All but the second are considered horror movies, but all of them have human beings as villains. Hannibal Lector is not a demon who is slamming doors, and dragging people out of bed. Norman Bates is not a hockey-mask clad slasher who can survive mass lacerations, burning, gun-fire, drowning etc. Here’s the problem, when you make a villain epic or supernatural, you tend to make that their only development. You seem to think that your task is done with developing a character if they are non-human. When you do that, you are perceived as lazy, and your audience notices.
Stop the jump scares
This could also be titled “Stop the M. Night Shyamalan scares” (seriously, they are the only thing that gets a reaction in his more recent films). My main reason for this is that it no longer works. We are smart enough to know when a jump scare is coming, so that when it happens, we are prepared for it. True terror is built by putting your protagonist in a situation where the audience believes the uncertainty in his/her face.
Stop ruining your decent films with shameful sequels