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in Filmmaking
on Oct 28, 2006

While SAW 3 slays at the box office this weekend, check out this excellent dialogue between Scott Tobias and Noel Murray over at The Onion‘s A.V. Club on contemporary horror. Here’s an excerpt from Tobias’s comments:

So where is horror going? It seems to me that the genre has hit a crisis point creatively: J-horror is dying off, Hollywood is running out of ’70s and ’80s horror staples to remake, and surely at some point, the Saw and Final Destination franchises will lose their novelty. (Though maybe I’m giving audiences too much credit on that last one.) At the same time, the genre feels more liberated than ever to go in any direction it pleases. With a studio like Lions Gate willing to throw its weight behind The Devil’s Rejects, Hostel, and other unsavory fare, there really doesn’t seem to be any limits on the dark, subversive places a horror film can take us. It worries me when thoughtless splatter films open to great success, while a witty crowd-pleaser like Slither gathers respectful reviews but no audience. If studios feel that regurgitating the same formulas is the surest and easiest route to success, there’s nothing to stop them from churning those films out. I worry, too, that there are no great horror auteurs emerging from the pack; outside of Zombie, who I believe is a major (though dangerous) talent, there are no Romeros, Carpenters, or Argentos that we can count on to put their distinctive stamps on cinema and carry their genre to new places. And yet I remain optimistic, because good, thoughtful horror films keep getting turned out one way or another, whether they slip through the studio system, find backing from the rogues at a major-mini like Lions Gate, or get imported from overseas like Shaun Of The Dead or The Descent.

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