This doll gives me more creeps than this doll...
I'm with South Park on this one when I say The Bar (yes, it's important enough to be capitalized) has been lowered. Yes, The Conjuring will probably be widely considered the best horror film of the year by many movie goers and critics. We gave it an excellent review here at Previously Untitled. But, if this was the 70's we wouldn't have given it such a high score. Just google 1970's horror movies. This isn't going to be an argument about originality or storytelling. It's an argument about how to haunt someone and getting your moneys worth. So, they check every single closet at home and sleep with the lights on. This is an argument on how we should expect and demand more from our horror films than some cheap scares.
What The Conjuring did the best and did better than the other horror films these days is the pop out scare. Where the director cranks the handle on the jack in the box until the clown pops out. We hear the familiar tune once again. We know it's coming it and it still gets us. Time after time after time. They close the box back up wait a bit then that tune starts again.
DAMN IT!!! I SAID I WOULDN'T JUMP THIS TIME!!!
In exchange for these pop out scares we lose atmosphere. Which is the driving force behind any good horror film. Take the original Amiytville Horror or The Omen. What I think The Conjuring really shows us is how the audience has changed in nearly 40 years. It's obvious the audience has less patience for a more drawn out set up that can create higher tension in a film and set an overall creepier tone. Take Rosemary's Baby as an example. Nothing really happens until the very end for the most part. Rosemary hears whispers and murmurs; has a few creepy dreams and driven nearly insane. In the end we get a nice pay off and leave the theater no longer trusting of our neighbors. Because, the film got in our heads and we can't shake it for weeks. With the pop out scare there's a short build up that last about two minutes max then the ghost says "Boo!" and we jump. Then we shake it off and get ready for the next pop out scare. Yes, there was one point in time when I was afraid to keep my feet on the theater floor in the fear that something might grab them. But, that fear subsided the second I got back to the safety of my own car.
Don't tell me this is what it's come too. I exchanged two hours of my paycheck for this... something I can easily digest. This film was a mere appetizer for me and any horror fan with a real appetite would consider The Conjuring a mushy banana. I got home and I was hungry for more. I was ready to take on one of those huge steaks where you eat the whole thing and it's free and you get your picture on the wall.
“You're him! You're Tony Randall!”
But, do you see the point I'm getting at we're being treated like dummies and not the creepy murderous kind either. We're being taken for a bunch of schmucks and it's time we demand more from our movie going experience. I'm not demanding you swap the multi-plex for an independent theater... completely. But, it wouldn't hurt if you saw more foreign films and more character driven films. Maybe the studios will pay attention. Because, if keep supporting bad blockbusters riddled with big names and bigger special effects. Then we'll be paying 30 dollars a ticket for Special Effects: The Movie directed by Zack Snyder. Because, we should all be demanding more from our films. More heart, more substance, more atmosphere. Because, if we're going to pay more then don't we deserve more than gimmicks.
Just remember I'm doing this for you. It's all for you...
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follow me @PV_in_Cinemascope