Sleepless Nights: Dead Men Walking

Sgathaich Hallowe'enMy love for horror is not universal (pun not intended but a good one realising it). As explored earlier there are many sub-genera to horror, such as sci fi horror. Two sub-genera in it I cannot stand, and not out of fear for fear I can overcome, if just a moment… even if it means lying awake at night to the early hours – Zombie movies and Found Footage horror films.

Found Footage movies first really rose in popularity with films like the Blair Witch Project. They were very cheap to make. While I get the idea behind it, showing all these things happening in a way that almost makes it look like it could be happening to you, I have many issues. First and probably the biggest one. The nature of Found Footage means one thing. Everyone is dead at the end. Throw in the fact of how cheap these usually are and you get some god awful films, terrible acting, rarely ever seeing the monster or what’s killing them (which in itself isn’t a bad thing as many great examples of horror films use what’s not seen) until just a use in a jump scare.

Fortunately due to the fact most Found Footage films are absolute trash any flair up of popularity is usually short lived.

Now I must admit there have been some great Found Footage films. Cloverfield, the Norwegian film Troll Hunter and the Spanish film Rec managed to become well received and did far more with the concept. So much so that Rec was brought over to America as Quarantine... and they f****d it up removing all the religious stuff in it and demonic stuff and making it a generic zombie virus which brings me to the next topic.

I wish people would realize that a zombie is not actually scary, oh yes a mass of zombies is scary but a mass of anything trying to kill you is. While the bleak ending is almost always there too in zombie movies there is another major problem with these kind of films, and that is the genre itself. By nature many horror movies use the monster as a metaphor. This done well will allow a deeply unsettling feeling in your mind, such as the Cybermen being born from a fear of the growing use of prosthetics or how Steven Moffat would use a more base fear like fear of the dark and build something from that.

In this case the zombie is always the same meaning the disease given form, the degradation of man to a wild animal. No matter the form the zombie takes, be it a slow moving corpse or a fast running infected one the zombie will always be the zombie. The movies themselves also then fall into these traps, the films being about man turning on itself much like how it too will later turn into that which is hunting it. Ultimately I find the obsession with zombie movies confusing, especially since zombies used to mean the voodoo stuff and not the dressed wobbling corpse. I have actually seen films from the days before a zombie was a walking disease, and I loved them, catching films like White Zombie on old horror channels intermingled with some of my beloved crazy B movies.

So one question always comes to my mind. Why do I love this genre? Why do I pull myself up from behind the sofa I have hidden behind, to see the monsters on the screen? Why if it is a mean desire for a rush of adrenaline, do I not get the same result from horrors like the zombie? Could it be because these films always tend to have the bleak ending, I’m reminded of how even the devil in Fantasia was powerless against the rising sun. Could it be I just really don’t like how unimaginative they are? One of the things I’ve always liked even in cheesy B movies is the ideas people would come up with, a man in a rubber suit always came across to me as having had more thought into it than just another zombie.

Well Halloween is soon approaching and I have one more review to do. I hope you have enjoyed these articles and if you did I shall see to doing more next year. As I have showing the Horror genre has always been one of the most inventive and diverse to me. There are many things I can tell you about with my experiences: my marathoning of the classic universal films and the horror genre with video games. But, for now, I think I need some sleep.
Sgathaich Hallowe'en

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