I know what you’re thinking. A horror rebirth? Here’s the thing, the 1990s were a complete hangover from the 1980s. Think about it, he 1980s were the party decade of horror. There is no topping what we got in the 1980s, it will likely never be topped. The 1980s were all about consumption and excess and the 1980s had plenty. I don’t think I need to explain the 80s, Freddy, Jason, Chucky and so much more. John Carpenter was at the top of his game as well. So what happened in the 90s and even the 2000s?
The 1990s, were slow and there was no true identity. It was slow with some really great films in the decade, but what defined the decade?
The 1930s were the Gothic horror, Universal Monsters decade, were the 40s dealt with many sequels and copycat films. The 1950s were pretty much the decade of the Atomic Age of horror. The 1960s, a mixed bag, we had Hammer pushing out Gothic horror multiple times a year, Mario Bava was coming in to his own as a director and here in America, we got films like Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby and Night of the Living Dead. The 60s being a decade of change. In the 70s, horror took on a new kind of Terror, realism. Films like the Last House on the Left and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre lead the charge, while the Slasher genre was truly born in 1978 with John Carpenter’s immortal classic, Halloween.
Every decade had an identity in horror. It could be argued that the 1990s brought a new change, but really it was more of a mixed bag like the 1960s. Misery, Silence of the Lambs, Candyman, In the Mouth of Madness, Scream and a few others are the only real standouts in the decade. What do we make of this? 1996 began the teen horror craze with Scream and it bleeds into the 2000s. The decade ended with a fresh take on horror with the Blair Witch Project.
The 2000s were a decade defined as a decade of remakes. It got bad, The Ring, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Grudge (2004), The Amityville Horror (2005), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Halloween (2007), The Last House on the Left (2009)n Friday the 13th (2009) and a few others. Of course there are some absolute standouts that did help push the genre forward, High Tension, Rec, The Descent, the Mist, Trick r Treat and Hostel. But the Saw series takes center stage and the 2000s are really defined by one phrase, “Torture Porn”. Yes, that is the defining thing from horror in the 2000s. What would the 2010s bring us?
The filmmakers of the 70s and 80s grew up watching horror of the 1930s – 1950s. So, yeah, the filmmakers today grew up in the late 70s and 80s. So, these are our peers. They watched the same films we did and they bring their own vision and story telling to the table and it is…divisive. That is what 2010s horror has brought us and social media is a big component in that.
I am here to tell you, horror is in its best place in four decades. Consumption, and with films like 2017’s IT and 2018’s return of Halloween, it’s not our genre. More and more sub-genres are happening. More and more films are being made by respectable filmmakers and actors. Horror is no longer looked down upon as it was in its most popular time, the 1980s.
So, why do I call the last 14 years of horror a “rebirth”?
What is happening with horror?
Well, streaming apps like Shudder and Tubi help movies that may never have been made or seen get a spotlight and this became extremely evident in 2021 and 2022. Shudder released so many films from Indie directors and foreign horror that was never really a wide thing for most of us. Here are the films I saw on different streaming platforms in 2022.
Going back about 13 years when the 2010s opened. Movies like Insidious, You’re Next, American Mary, The Cabin in the Woods, Would You Rather, Evil Dead were all good ones. About one or two a year. But, we saw the advent of a shared universe with the Conjuring which of course was followed up with Annabelle and sequels to each in the following years. So many films to mention, I can’t. It’ll take forever.
The 2010s were about taking chances as well. Movies that are so divisive, but are really good films. Look at movies like The Babadook, It Follows, The Witch, Hereditary and Midsommar are all very polarizing. We love them. Many don’t. But you have to be happy at the amount of horror coming over the last decade. It’s been great with something for pretty much everyone. Of course, there will be people bitching about everything and let them. Enjoy what you enjoy, give things a try, you’ll never know what you’ll like.
I personally think the last 15 years we’ve seen some amazing horror films. There have been some pieces of shit mixed in as well and plenty of reboots to older franchises. I just think it’s a great time to be a horror movie fan. In 2022 alone we say sequels to older franchises, tons of Indie releases and the art house style of horror. Think about the major franchises Halloween and Texas Chainsaw both and since 2009 we’ve seen a renewed interest and a younger generation embrace films of the 1980s.
Let me ask this question. Do you think horror is in a good place in 2023?
Do you think horror is on a decline or an incline in quality and quantity?
Let’s talk about the State of horror in the comments on Facebook. I am curious what you, the horror fan thinks.
Thanks for reading my blathering.