Opinion – 6/6/2003

Jason Mattox Opinion

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 6/6/03  issue of The Panolian

Oh The Horror!
The Ups and Downs of Scary Movies Are Up Again

Well, I’m back…and, thankfully, so is the seemingly forgotten film genre of horror.

I have been a horror fan since I was eight or so and watched "Pet Semetary." There was something about a good scare I have always liked.

Following "Semetary," I started watching any horror flick I could get my hands on. In no time, I was up to date on all of the franchise films ("Halloween," "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street").

It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I finally watched a horror flick that truly disturbed me. I ignored my mother’s warnings that I was still too young and insisted we rent the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." It scared the living daylights out of me.

I think six or seven years passed before I was willing to watch that movie again, and, to be honest, it still bothered me then.

Following the "Texas Chainsaw" debacle, I took my mom’s advice and waited to watch "The Exorcist." It was a rainy weekend a couple of years ago, and I decided to see what all the fuss was about in regards to this flick. After watching it, I can say I have only watched it once.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie wasn’t all that scary to me, it was just freaky. That movie had some of the most disturbing imagery I have ever seen.

From all of these films, Hollywood’s horror business has gone downhill.

In the mid to late- 90s, New Line Cinema, the distributors of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series, put out the "Scream" trilogy. Although the first film was original and worth watching, the sequels that followed were gigantic wastes of film. Both "Scream 2" and "Scream 3" were nothing more than sad reworkings of the original.

From "Scream," horror movies progressed to "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "Disturbing Behavior," and even a "Psycho" remake, all of which focused more on a pretty, young cast that was easy to market and hard to watch.

Then things started looking up. A buzz was floating around about a movie that was made for somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 and was the scariest movie to hit Hollywood in years. That movie, as if you didn’t know, was "The Blair Witch Project."

Much like "Scream," if they had stopped at one, it would have made more of an impact on the genre, but instead, "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows" was rushed into theaters. It was also rushed out of them.

Admittedly, the suits in Tinseltown are getting some things right. In the last few years we got "Valentine," "The Ring" and "Jason X." (Okay, so the last one wasn’t that great. It’s just a sentimental favorite of mine.)

They took another step in the right direction this month with the release of "Wrong Turn." If you like the older horror films, this one is for you. I think star Eliza Dushku described it best when she called it a cross between "Deliverance" and "Texas Chainsaw."

I only hope the trend of quality horror films continues. In the next few months, studios will release a "Texas Chainsaw" remake, a prequel to "The Exorcist" and the long-rumored "Freddy Vs. Jason."
Things can only get better…I hope.

(Jason Mattox can be reached by email at: newsroom@panolian.com


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