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Mouse’s Malefic Meanderings: Horror Film Schools of Thought: Where I Stand

The_Changeling
The Changeling

So there I am, working on yet another horror film review; it’s a cultish little flick from the late ‘80s, and while it’s not a pure ‘horror’ (read: blood & guts) flick, it has (at least to me) that nifty little creep-factor that keeps you thinking about it after it’s over.  I was roughing out the first few paragraphs, noting how the majority of gorehounds and in-your-face horror fans might not have a lot of use for this one, when suddenly this nagging thought creeps into my head:

“Y’know, people are going to think you like every horror movie ever made.”

Now that just plain ain’t true, but it got me to sitting there pondering that avenue, and the movie review simply refused to write itself (that nagging little bastid in my brain, I tell ya; once he latches on to something, he will not let go of it until I work it around a bit).  After a few moments of frustration, I put the review aside (it’ll be up soon though, I promise) and decided to address the concern here in the open.

My primary goal here on LeglessCorpse is to share my love of the ‘scary movie’ with other like-minded individuals out there; you Fellow Fans.  Now when you’re talking horror movies, you’re talking a very diverse and eclectic grouping of films.  On the one end, you have The Wizard of Gore, and on the other end you’ve got The Haunting.  Those titles I picked were purely arbitrary examples; you could substitute a about a million different titles in those two slots, but the easily-spotted point here is that horror movies usually move in one of two directions:

The one extreme is trying to horrify you; they show you the effects various cutting implements, claws, teeth or shop tools have on the human body, in glorious color (Dawn of the Dead, Saw, Friday the 13th, etc.); these endeavor to make you vicariously dread what the characters are suffering using exposition.

Kevin_Bacon_Friday_The_13th
Kevin Bacon Friday The 13th

On the other side of the coin are those films that seek to terrify you; these rely primarily on atmosphere to paint dark, vivid pictures in your head (The Changeling, YellowBrickRoad, Session 9; you get the picture).  These give you enough to creep you out, set you down in the spooky old house or deep forest, and let your imagination do the work.

Scary flicks run the full range across these two poles, often blending elements, most falling somewhere in the middle.  There’s nothing wrong with any of them, they’re just different.

Just like the films themselves, horror fans are an equally diverse group.  Some gravitate to the gory end of the line, others to the spooky end.  Many float back and forth, their true home somewhere in the between.  That being the fact, one accepts that what is scary to some is useless bullshit to others, and vice-versa; I’ve been in many conversations with folks firmly set in one school of thought or another (“That movie SUCKED ASS!  There was hardly even any blood in it!” (discussing the original Halloween), vs. “Man, what a piece o’ shit…it was all gory crap; wasn’t scary at ALL!” (talking about Re-Animator)).  Many others aren’t quite so polarized, finding a happy medium somewhere in between.

Saw
Saw

I myself find merit all across the spectrum:  the original Day of the Dead, with all of its gore (Tom Savini at the very top of his game), is one of my favorite films of all time, but I can tell you in the same breath that I absolutely love Dark Night of the Scarecrow, which has nothing but a goddamn creepy atmosphere throughout (it was an ’80s TV movie, for chrissakes).  So, when I’m reviewing a film, I try to keep all of this in mind; I try to remember that if it’s a bloodbath type of film, some of you guys will love it, others will hate it; same if it’s just a largely bloodless ‘spooky’ film.  Essentially, I try to be unbiased and honest with what I’m telling you; I like a pretty wide range of horror films, so my reviews are gonna reflect that.  If I think gore fans either will or won’t like it, I’ll say so; I’ll show the same courtesy to the skin-crawly folks.  I’ll tell you what I find to be good points, or bad points; hopefully, I won’t piss any of you off too much, maybe just enough to give you something different to think about, or get you to comment intelligently and give me something different to think about (by the way, U R A STOOPID SHIT-HED does not count as an ‘intelligent’ comment).

Now, when I run across one that just has no redeeming qualities (and trust me, they’re out there), I promise to tell you I think so; honesty goes both ways; and depending upon how much I think it has no good points, I may be quite forceful in my opinion (how much wine I’ve had at the time of the writing can also factor into this XD).

Hopefully, between Chad (Chad’s the Editor; my boss) and I, we’ll be able to offer up enough info on the movies we all love to 1) keep you interested, 2) turn you on to some films you may have never heard of, and 3) satisfy you that you aren’t nuts, that there are people out there that have the same opinions that you do.  For a good example, you can check out our new “Head to Head” feature if you haven’t had a chance to yet.  It’ll be plain to you that even though My Fearless Editor and I share a love of the genre and agree on much of it, he nonetheless has a lot of very different views than I.  In my mind, this of incalculable benefit. I value that difference of opinion for two major reasons:

One, it forces me to pay attention and evaluate my own opinions more closely.  As an open-minded horror-phile, it gives me another perspective to consider.  I believe he feels the same.

Hostel
Hostel

Two, it’s helpful to you, Fellow Fans; I would positively hate it if the only things you had to read were my silly-assed perspectives.  I’m sure there’ll be a lot of times that you readers find your opinions aligning with his more so than mine.  I wouldn’t have it any other way; we need that; more importantly, you deserve that.  What we at LeglessCorpse want to do is appeal to the broad base of horror fans, from pole to pole.  That’s what makes it fun; if we all liked the same things, they would only sell cars in one make, model, and color.  How bloody boring would that be? (I have this image of a traffic jam comprised entirely of neon green Chevy Cobalts…talk about a horror film.)

To close this unintentionally long-winded post, I want to echo Chad’s invitation to log in and drop us your own opinions.  If you agree/disagree with one of us, tell us why!  If you think we’re both fulla shit, tell us why! (But especially if you think he’s fulla shit!)

Just kidding, boss.

–Mouse

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Andrew Thompson

Editor-In-Chief at LeglessCorpse
The Mouse...VP/co-owner of LC Films, Editor-In-Chief of LeglessCorpse.com...just your average guy with what is most likely an unhealthy affinity for horror movies, sci-fi, superheroes, bacon, old cartoons and horror movies. Oh, I almost forgot, I really dig horror movies; new ones, old ones, it matters not; I love 'em. Husband, father, veteran and scribbler. I like bacon as well. The Mouse abides 😉

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