Today's crop of horror flicks deliver genuine scares, which most fans prefer over yesterday's "slash and dash" pics. Possession and similar fall films are taking a cue from horror movie aficionados and putting in creaks, groans, bumps and bangs instead of massive amounts of mutilation and blood.
Some point to Paranormal Activity as the defining moment for the change in the way horror films get made today. While the film offered no body or seen apparition, it frightened audiences across the world with what they couldn't see.
People got tired of watching senseless (and utterly disgusting) torture and an escalating body count. For that, they can watch the daily news. That's why they responded to genuine chills and a chance to use their imagination about those things that bump and scare. Here's some ideas about why today's crop of horror flicks are connecting with a broader audience.
First of all, women in peril is always a turn on. Hot (and talented) leading actresses who are as strong and courageous as any man add a lot to a horror film. Possession offers one of today's most sought after actresses in The Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence. Apparition delivers as well with Twilight's Ashley Greene.
Secondly, what you can't see lets your imagination fill in the blanks. Consequently, movie goers often create much scarier monsters than the film makers themselves. Watching people holding their breaths and whimpering while praying they don't get caught is mesmerizing. Most people have been in a similar situation at some point in their lives. It's gritty and real.
Creaking doors, strange sounds and sudden movements out of the corner of an eye sends chills down the spine. In contrast, torture porn forced people want to look away. That video time stamp in Paranormal Activity led the audience down the horror trail with pinpoint precision. Still, they weren't ready for the inevitable reveal because the lead-in was so innocuous.
Audiences either love or hate video cam films. While Cloverfield gave a crop of people headaches, that didn't stop them from coming back for more. That's why a lot of today's horror flicks use the same process. Shaky cameras honestly add to the scare factor for most people. Somehow it makes everything seem more real.
Ever since the Exorcist, people have been fascinated with demonic take over. While it might be a little over done in today's horror flicks, it's still a proven draw.
Movie audiences' fascination with horror comes and goes in cycles. Right now, the genre is hotter than ever. Tomorrow, who knows?