Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Horror - now on DVD

Browsing through the horror section of HMV today I found myself curiously untempted by a lot of more recent stuff. The promise of shocks a plenty did not send my little heart racing. Instead I found myself tempted by 'old' movies - i.e. stuff made more than 20 years ago, or perhaps more than 40 in some cases. Films whose effects must, by modern standards, be a bit pants. And I think that may be part of their appeal - that I won't be distracted from the quality (or otherwise) of the story by the realism of any violence. An odd way to look at it, but there it is.

It's not that I dislike gore as such, but I would like a movie that touts itself as horror to have a bit of subtlety, intelligence, depth. I get the impression a lot of stuff nowadays is what used to be called 'gross out' - the cinematic equivalent of kids telling disgusting jokes in playground. It's a way of vying for attention, certainly, but it's not very imaginative.

Oddly enough, one of the best horror movies I've seen lately, Let the Right One In, is very gory. The finale sees a regular massacre. Well, actually we don't see full-blown, vampire-induced carnage. We get a very partial series of glimpses of what's going on, via a clever and (to me at least) genuinely original device. But there's no doubt that much blood is being shed. And this is, within the context of a well-constructed story with interesting characters, a worthy payoff, especially since the film ends on a much gentler note.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I find a lot of modern horror - the written kind, along with the celluloid - unappealing. Gore for gore's sake, let's 'shock' the reader. But I'm not shocked, except occasionally by the ineptitude of it all. Perhaps what's gone wrong is that we are all now a bit too sophisticated to enjoy suspense-type plotting - we've seen it all before.

Oh well, onward and upward. Meanwhile, here's a typical English pub.

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