Name That Slasher Flick Villain!
The horror genre is a difficult thing to bring up in mixed company. Some refuse to even watch any film labelled as such, claiming to be too timid or to not like violence. Oddly, those same people rarely have an issue with Bruce Willis, The Rock, or Mark Wahlberg mowing down faceless henchmen in the name of badassery. Reaction to onscreen death is subjective, but horror films get the brunt of controversy, criticism, and vitriol. It’s the only genre dating websites deem worthy of including in profiles. Imagine that – whether or not you like a good scare may play a hand in determining your next romantic partner.
And the criticisms leveled at the genre are not entirely without merit. The genre has produced some of the most repugnant, immoral, and hideous films ever made. Producers often view it as a worthy cash investment, like a decent roller coaster. So long as there’s violence, sex, and a few jump scares, in the words of Carl Weathers, “baby, you got a stew goin’.”
The best horror is allegorical – its monsters representing the modern fears of the era. Willis can dispatch of all the terrorists he wants, and there may be a bit of catharsis in watching it, but the chances of the film transmitting an idea beyond “terrorist bad” is doubtful.
Horror, on the other hand, can reflect the social mores, fears and worries of the era in a way that challenges conventional thought. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead may seem like a simple zombie film, but it also works as a commentary on the hopelessness felt during the civil rights movement (it was released the same year of the Martin Luther King assassination, after all).
That said, sometimes you just want to get on the roller coaster, have a scream or two, and get on with your day. So how well do you know your fictitious boogeymen? Let’s find out.
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