What's Wrong With Slasher Movies?

What's Wrong With Slasher Movies?

Between critics and moral guardians, they can't seem to catch a break.
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Back in their 1980s heyday, slasher movies were frequently criticized as excessively violent and formulaic. It’s never been a respectable genre, but there was a time when it was popular. In recent years, slasher movies have largely been beaten out by competition like monster movies, found footage, and paranormal horror. All this criticism isn’t entirely undeserved. Frankly, the vast majority of slasher movies are not only terrible films, but terrible horror films.

Among the most notable elements of the slasher genre is its use of stock characters. These films usually revolve around a group of high schoolers or college students, each of whom is a lazy stereotype. There’s the obnoxious jock, the awkward nerd, the selfish dumb blonde, and so on. Most slasher movies delight in making their characters as simplistic and unsympathetic as possible, so the audience hardly cares when they die. They’re disposable cardboard cut-outs to be creatively slaughtered and forgotten about. Little to no time is spent on character development, as most characters are killed after very little screen time.

As slasher franchises continue, they become increasingly oriented around the killer. Horror fans may be able to name a few of the killer’s victims, but everyone knows Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. As the sequels and bodies pile up, we learn more about the killer, often regarding their backstory or motivation. They become the central character of the franchise, while their victims remain shallow as ever. We’re not supposed to feel the terror of the everyday people, but rather revel in the killer’s bloody deeds.

This results in poor storytelling and ineffective horror. The plots of slasher movies are primarily about people trying to survive a killer on the loose, but the characters are written specifically so that we don’t care about their survival. While memorable stories make the audience care about the characters and the outcome of the plot, slasher movies deliberately inspire indifference. Some people might say that horror movies don’t need to tell good stories, as long as they’re scary. I would argue you can’t make a movie genuinely scary if it isn’t a well-told story. Sure, you can focus on jump scares, but that doesn’t inspire real fear, just momentary surprise. In order to really scare us, horror movies have to give us characters that we can feel empathy for, and then subject them to frightening scenarios. If we’re rooting for them to die, we simply can’t feel fear.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, everything I’ve said has been in reference to “most” slasher movies. There are some slasher movies, particularly the earlier ones, that are a different story. While the genre drew influence from earlier films, most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho,’ it’s foundations were laid in 1974 with two films: ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Black Christmas’ (from the director of ‘A Christmas Story,’ oddly enough). Both films attempt to make the audience uncomfortable with images of victimization, rather than identifying with the killer. Though these films feature horrific murders, the actual on-screen violence is surprisingly restrained (Tobe Hooper, director of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ actually hoped the film would be rated PG, although it received an R rating). It should also be noted, both films have fantastic, memorable endings. Although controversial upon release, both films have since received critical approval and enduring popularity.

The film that really created the slasher phenomenon was legendary director John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ from 1978. Unlike most slasher films, ‘Halloween’ actually has well-defined characters like the protagonist Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), the killer’s psychiatrist. Carpenter depicted only as much violence as necessary, getting most of the scares by creating tension. ‘Halloween’ set the standard for the invincible, soulless masked killer that would come to dominate the genre. It created a template almost every subsequent slasher movie has borrowed, but what was innovative at the time has become cliche through repetition.

By the mid-80s, the slasher genre was dominated by lackluster sequels and rip-offs, and some of the earliest direct-to-video films. The one bright spot was director Wes Craven’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street.’ While adhering to the basic elements of the genre, it managed to distinguish itself from its predecessors with an original concept: an inescapable killer that attacks his victims in their dreams, rather than the real world. The result was surreal, creepy, and actually kind of fun. Wes Craven continued to redefine the slasher genre in the ‘90s, with the sequel ‘New Nightmare’ (which I’ve written about before) and ‘Scream.’

Admittedly, good (or even decent) slasher movies are few and far between. Rather than condemning an entire genre, however, I think it’s best to see where it usually goes wrong, and to praise the films that manage to avoid those pitfalls.
Cover Image Credit: Bryanston Pictures

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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