Makings of a Modern Horror

There is nothing I love more than getting in to some comfy clothes, ordering take out and sitting down in front of the telly and getting scared. I am not talking, oh God a double dip recession, what about the mortgage scared. I mean, sweaty palms, shiver down your spine, scream aloud scared. I want to jump out of my skin, hide my face in a pillow and grab the hand of the person sat next to me. This may not be particularly feminine of  me, but if I have to watch one more chick flick where the nerdy girl with bad eyebrows realises her inner beauty and feels the need to sing about it I will start flipping tables.

I Think one of the reasons I like movies like this so much is that they are pretty much all the same. That sounds odd, because well they’re not. But in so many ways, they are just one movie over and over again. They all have different, plots and casts and soundtracks but there are certain things that we have come to expect from the modern horror movie. Like a safety blanket on a holiday abroad. We are experiencing something new and exciting for the first time, but there are still home comforts so we don’t feel completely alone.

So here is a list of several of what I consider to be the makings of a Modern Horror. You may disagree, In which case feel free to comment below and share your thoughts, or you may have other points that you wish to add, again comment below.

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1)      The Light in an abandoned house

This will normally come at the beginning of the film, and is generally a room on the top floor, occasionally it will be accompanied by a face at the window, but regardless is guaranteed to make you jump.

2)      The ‘Victim’ will be wearing a white vest top at the time of main attack

I have several theories as to why this is the case, however I think it is probable that it just shows blood and injury effectively. So good job costume department, thinking ahead. I also feel that in the case where the victim is female, it gives a chance to emphasis her chest when she may not otherwise be looking all that attractive. However, I think it is mostly just a blood thing.

3)      Someone will play an instrument at some point

Maybe this is to lighten the mood or build atmosphere or something, but there is normally some kind of band or ensemble. All I know is if I have to see one more Hollywood actress pretend BADLY to play the guitar I may pull my hair out. I don’t understand that if It is not essential to the story and they can’t actually play, why make them play?

4)      The ‘bad guy’ will appear to be dead and then lunge when you get close

This is the point where, even if at the movies we all go back to our panto roots and start yelling at the screen. I personally adopt a sort of Eddie Murphy in Shrek voice and start going ‘You know he ain’t dead, why you be approaching him, look at him he just sleepy, he gunna get cho’. Some of my finer voice over work if I do say so myself

5)      Someone will get a missed call

This will be unlike any call you have ever missed, ever! The person being called can never just have left their phone on silent, or have gotten in the shower. No, this missed call is the biggest sign in the whole movie that S*** is about to go down. Maybe, it is just me but I miss more calls than I answer, people need to calm the hell down , doesn’t mean they are being brutally murdered just that they don’t have their phone permanently stapled to their hands.

6)      It will rain

I love a bit of prophetic fallacy in a film, don’t you? It is never light rain, it pours like It has never rained before, and you will suddenly have an over whelming need to be outside during this weather . Unlike the rest of us normal folk who when it rains with such enthusiasm, just make a cup of coco and hide away until the sun is shining. It just proves that no good can come from going outside in the rain.

7)      There will be a creepy black and white flash back.

This can be a result of one of two things. We can be going back to a dark moment in the killers past, to see what made them so terrible and twisted in the first place, maybe they were bullied as a child or exposed to deadly gases as a teen. Or we can be seeing a troubling part of the victims past, something they had repressed due to pain but that comes flooding back when the delve in to the life of their mysterious neighbour. Either way, budgeting seems to have been cut for these flash backs as they are never in colour and the sound quality is appalling, very echoy.

8)      The words ‘scream all you want, no one can hear you’ will be uttered in some form or another

That is the classic line. I don’t care what you say if it doesn’t appear at some point in the movie then the movie wasn’t worth watching. I think its brilliant and I would love to know who first said it. It just has so much of an impact if well delivered. I don’t care if it is cliché or over used, it is a classic for a reason.

9)      There will be a sheriff with a moustache

Okay so I am from the UK, maybe it is different here I don’t know. But not many people here have moustaches, and what facial hair you have isn’t dependent on your vocation. So will some American please explain to me why in nearly every horror I watch there is a Sheriff called Bill with a caterpillar on his upper lip. I guess they pick people with short names to be sheriff because It means the badges are cheaper?  But still, the Moustache is that really necessary? Maybe it’s a culture thing and I’m missing it.

10)   At some point there will come a stage when you think ‘don’t look behind that door’

Again my inner Eddie Murphy emerges. ‘Don’t do it. Just turn around and keep walking, go home. Make a cup of tea! Don’t you turn that handle. No rainbows live behind that door. Don’t do it’ I think it is a coping device personally. By being annoyed that they didn’t follow our advice and went ahead and opened the door anyway, we can have an almost nonchalant attitude to their impending doom, thinking quietly to ourselves ‘well I told you not to go in there’.

So they are my ten, let me know if you have any more or disagree with the above. I would also like to emphasise that I am not being critical in the slightest, moments like these are the reason I love horror movies!

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