Moratorium: Horror About Horror

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This is the first in an irregular series of thoughts on what I think we see too much of and need to see less of in horror, things that need to be stopped, given a break for a while. In short, thing on which we need a moratorium.


Can we please please please quit it with horror movies about horror movies? Out of the 25 or so movies I saw at the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival, at least 5 were movies about making horror movies or horror art.

That’s way too many.

What other genre makes movies like this? There are no westerns about making westerns. No crime movies in which a big caper breaks out among actors on a movie set.

And the characters are worse. They’re thinly veiled projections of the movie makers, craven little examples of their need to see their obsession with horror validated on the big screen.

Again: no other genre. You don’t see action movies about people obsessed with action movies, or romantic comedies about people that just can’t get enough of When Harry Met Sally.

You don’t see it because it would be stupid. It would make the movies harder to take seriously, make them seem not able to stand on their own. And it’s stupid when we see it in horror movies.

Can horror moviemakers not think of something else to make movies about? I’d wager they can, but it’s easier, I guess, requires less of the real hard work of creation, to just make horror movies about what they already do – make horror movies.

But come on. Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard than that. Horror reaches into every aspect of human existence, not just how we entertain ourselves on weekend nights at the mall. That means the range of the stories that can be told using horror is limitless.

Let’s use that to our advantage. Let’s put a moratorium on horror about horror.

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