Horror: Is it dead or has it entered a new renaissance?

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We’re examining the state of horror and where it stands today. Is the genre dead or have we entered a new renaissance? We have the answers.

Happy New Year my nasties and welcome to 2019! I’m Manic Exorcism and I invite you all to join me as we discuss the state of horror. Let’s get right to the point, is horror dead or have we entered a new era — and thrilling experience — of our favorite genre?

First Things First

The genre was treated to some very successful titles last year. Both Hereditary and Halloween brought some well-deserved respect to the field. Hereditary delivered macabre sophistication to a genre otherwise known for blood, guts, and screams. By recalling the darker age of cinema when Satan stalked the film sets of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, this film renewed society’s paranoia for demons and the hidden world of the Occult.

Halloween returned from a thirty-year slumber (shhhh we’re not talking about the sequels — though I love Halloween 1-4) and dominated the theaters last October, and rightfully so.

That old spirit of pure evil which originally introduced Michael Myers as the quintessential Boogeyman was once again set free and fans were given an onslaught of savagery and indomitable power. The Shape was back and he brought horror with him.

I feel as if this successful trend actually began at the tail-end of 2017 when Stephen King’s sinister vision of the child-killing clown, Pennywise was resurrected on the big screen. IT was a monumental event and proved how hungry the world was for some good old fashioned blood-and-guts horror.

Horror -image courtesy of PalmStar Entertainment

That’s what it takes to make a horror story to work. You gotta have the raw guts to take risks. You can splash blood all over the walls if you want, but it takes some deep-gutted human veracity to truly make something terrifying.

Think of Last House on the Left, Psycho, or The Exorcist. Those were movies that all dared to go further than anyone dared to explore before.

They crossed taboos. They made us uncomfortable. They pointed to that happy little fence, that wall, you know what I mean – the metaphysical line that divides right from wrong and helps us sleep comfortably in our beds at night. It’s a happy little place.

True horror films take us right up to that pleasant line, so thin and frail that it is. We trust them and so we follow. The Hills Have Eyes, Hellraiser, or The Shining have all done this to us. They lead us up to our boundaries then push us over it, straight into the raging void.

In 2017, IT gave us a gruesome reminder that horror is not dead. It may just be asleep, and in doing so, lures our unsuspecting world into its under-worldly domain of decay and madness. IT opened with a scene of a poor little boy getting his arm bitten off by the demonic clown of Derry, Maine.

courtesy of Warner Bros

Fans familiar with the book will remember the scene well, and honestly I was impressed they went with it for the movie. That’s just not something you see done in a cinematic release. Sure it’s a direct-to-DVD common spectacle, but Warner Bros. green lit this and let it happen. Bravo!

People screamed and audiences were rightfully shocked. Gone were the misrepresented monsters of the new millennia – lovesick vampires, puppy-dog werewolves, and teenage zombie heartthrobs – and back were the heart-stopping terrors of Hell. How fitting that Pennywise, an ancient entity who is the very manifestation of all Fear itself, should usher in this scintillating new era of horror and dread.

The naysayers were silenced along with the cynical. It was as though evil was accidentally released, and being the psycho killer it is, there would be no stopping it nor any relief in sight.