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Politics and Culture - American Profiles In Radical Independence

“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

At The Movies Vol IV: The Evolution of the Horror Movie Industry

March 31st 2010 13:26
From the first moment life could be captured on film there has always been a fascination with movies that scare us.

A fascination that brought creatures reserved for fictional reading to life and elevated these characters to a status larger than it.

A status that grew beyond images splashed on a screen and became pop culture phenomena.

What began with black and white images of yesteryear that brought characters the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman to life eventually laid spawn to weekend adventures at Drive In and Grindhouse Theaters that created an entire culture.

A culture of Zombies, Mad Men and Creatures from the Black Lagoon that created a phenomenon of fear and discovering new films that would top the one’s we saw before.

From the original roots of a niche market with die hard fans that demanded more from the masters of the industry grew a million dollar market in the 80’s which brings us to this weeks conversation.

A conversation about creations and recreations in an industry that is still striking fear into our hearts in a world where the outside is just as scary as the things that could be put on film.

In a modern world where Terror is reality, it’s hard for the audience to relate to simple characters wielding a machete in the backwoods of Crystal Lake which prompted film producers and directors to make the decision to move to shock and awe.

In any other industry a shock and awe move would not have been as dramatic but with little room to maneuver a genre was created within the horror industry named “torture porn” that pushed the envelope of fear with depictions of rape, torture and mayhem.

Examples of this byproduct of the 90’s and 00’s can be seen with the “Classic” films from The Hills Have Eyes and Hostel Series. Creations and Recreations cultivated to drive fear into the audience through the revelation of real life extremes.

A genre that still thrives in big money markets through sequels as it criss-crosses with psychological masterpieces like the Saw Series of films that combines torture with the fundamental question of whether the victims deserved everything they were facing and challenges the audience to decide who the true hero’s and villains are.

A line that was clearly defined in the 80’s with a clear sense of good and evil in the characters of the films that made up this generation that ultimately created the million dollar mega market in the modern horror genre.

Films that brought the audience face to face with Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers and other slashers in the horror hall of fame.

Characters that surpassed original expectations of success and became legends of the film industry beyond the horror genre.

What began as simple slasher films ultimately became pop culture phenomena that withstood the test of time through bad sequels, inclusion of comedy to build mass appeal and bad parody.

It is for this reason that the thirst is so large to recreate the films that made us squirm in our seats at the movie theater and hide behind the couch. In these recreations is also a move to bring the industry back to the roots that made it so popular.

Roots that don’t remind us of the dangerous world that surrounds us and simply serves as a bloody escape from the real world.

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