The horror... the P.G. Rated horror...

2009-06-24 09:35
Apparently this conceit makes me a bit of a weirdo, because according to most people, horror movies are defined by cheese-ball in-jokes, clownish camera-mugging and worst of all, self-referential irony – the number one enemy of horror, and, for that matter, the entire entertainment industry.

With the excuse of irony, we can get away with anything. We can watch horrors that aren't scary and comedies that aren't funny. We can wear clothes that suck and listen to music that blows, all with a snide, detached awareness that we can't be judged by our tastes because we can always fall back on the but-I-like-it-because-it's-bad argument, while never admitting to sincerely enjoying anything. Claiming to enjoy things ironically is a lame excuse for cowards and posers who don't even have the courage of their convictions to stand behind their god-awful tastes.

This is maybe one of the reasons why most of the best (in other words, scariest) recent horror movies with wide release have been remakes of cult classics, originally produced when horror still aimed to shock and scare.

The claustrophobic brutality of The Last House on the Left had fans cheering and sensitive critics whimpering about indecency – just the way they should be. My Bloody Valentine 3D was an old-school gore-fest starring buckets of blood and full-frontal nudity, often at the same time. And did I mention it's all in glorious 3D? Boobs and blood - in 3D! For a horror fan, this is heaven with popcorn.

There have been a few stink-burgers too, like the coma-inducing remake of Prom Night, which brings me to the horror movie's second biggest enemy: a PG-13 rating. In fact, I'd argue that if a movie is rated anything below 16, it's not a horror. A PG-13 horror is the genre's soft porn. It looks like the real thing, it even sounds like the real thing, but you can always tell by the first murder or shower scene that you'd be better off standing in front of your bathroom mirror with a torch under your chin going, "Oooooohhhh..." The whole affair is a flaccid shock-tease, always promising, but never delivering. There should be a label on the box: "Warning! This film is for the faint of heart!"

Which is why Twilight, and its forthcoming sequel, Bella Grows Some Boobs and Drives a Stake Through Edward's Hairless Chest (just kidding - it's actually called Twilight Saga: New Moon), is offensive to anyone who calls themselves a horror fan. At best, it's a romantic fantasy for tweens, and about as scary as Avril Lavigne is punk. Insultingly, it uses vampires, one of horror's greatest creations, to achieve its nefarious ends.

In horror, vampires reflect our primal sexual fears. They're the embodiment of rape, torture, uncontrollable desires and vicious malevolence – you know, all the good stuff. In Twilight, these lovable creatures are horribly exploited. Stripped of all their dignity, Twilight vampires don't have fangs, don't sleep in coffins, and get this: sunlight doesn't kill them. It only makes them sparkle, as if a My Little Pony just threw up on them. What a bunch of nerds.

Now I understand that the kiddies need their fun too, but what's disturbing is that, like the Harry Potter phenomenon, so many adults, especially women, are buying into this non-threatening puppy-love fantasy, and elevating its male lead to sex symbol status. So here's a quick public service announcement: Anyone over the legal age of consent who thinks Robert Pattinson is hot is a paedophile, and only a few steps away from typing "Dakota Fanning nude" into Google (245 000 results, by the way). The boy is little more than masturbatory fodder for prepubescent gusset typists and emotionally underdeveloped gossip ghouls. Announcement over.

The obvious counter-argument is that Twilight and Harry Potter appeal to our inner child. This only makes me wonder why people are so happy to escape adulthood that they'd let an immature psychotic construct control their actions. Personally, if I found my inner child was tempting me to watch one more second of a Twilight movie, I'd have an abortion. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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