Horror Films Are Taking Over!

It’s been a while since a horror film ruled the box office. For the past few years, horror films like The Conjuring, Insidious, and Don’t Breath were all critically acclaimed movies that ended up delivering huge profits to movie studios. However, this was mainly due to the fact that these movies had teeny tiny budgets. Well things have certainly changed as Andrés Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, It, pulled in $123 million on it’s opening weekend. To put things into perspective, Deadpool made $132 million opening weekend….I think it’s safe to say that the horror genre has just made a huge comeback.

Horror films seem to take over the box office in waves. In the late 90’s it was all about the teenage slasher films: Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. In the 2000’s the horror genre shifted to violent and gruesome movies like Saw and Hostel. Finally in the past few years, supernatural films have taken over the horror box office with the Insidious franchise, Annabelle Creation, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and my personal favourites, The Conjuring 1 & 2. And of course, now we have scary clowns like Pennywise from It. Regardless of the specific style, all these horror films delivered the same thing to audiences: an immersive experience.

Oh how I miss the 90’s

Is anyone NOT scared of Valak The Nun?

Yes, you could argue that other movies provide experiences to the audiences members – The Martian was an uplifting experience about humanity and Logan was an emotional experience about family, but this only applies to exceptional movies. Most popcorn flicks provide entertainment like Ant-Man or 21 Jump Street whereas horror movies really engross viewers with fear. Even bad horror movies can still engross viewers with cheap jump scares but great horror films will have audience members completely immersed in the horror experience. When you’re watching a horror movie, scary dolls can make you feel uncomfortable, the music can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and your heart races when scary moments are slowly built up. No other film genre can do that to you! So what exactly makes a good horror movie?

You saw that right?

The most crucial thing in a scary movie is the build up. James Wan’s The Conjuring 1 & 2 executes scary build ups flawlessly. As a viewer, you know a scary ghost is going to pop out but Wan makes the build up painfully slow so even though you know something is going to pop out, you’re still terrified because you don’t know exactly when the ghost will come out.

Secondly, sound is absolutely crucial in making a great horror movie. Not only is the music score important but the sound effects play a huge role. The loud creeks in an old house or the heavy breathing from a character who is hiding from a killer needs to be done with precision to make the audience feel anxious and nervous.

Finally, there’s imagery. Uncomfortable imagery (not necessarily disgusting gore) can really help add to the tone of scary films. Sinister is a prime example of using imagery to make the audience uncomfortable. Seeing things that are just off-putting can really add the horror experience.

Wait, what the….

As a fan of the horror genre, I couldn’t be happier that there’s an abundance of high-quality scary movies out now. There’s even a Conjuring movie universe! That’s right, the Conjuring 1, 2, Annabelle, and Annabelle Creation are all part of the same movie universe and the following spinoffs about The Crooked Man and The Nun and of course, The Conjuring 3 will only expand this universe. Who would’ve thought it’d be the Warrens ghost stories to succeed in building a successful movie universe?

Anyways, what’s your favourite type of scary movie? Old school slashers? Gorey bloodfests? Supernatural ghosts?

Until next time, nerd out.


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