Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Count yourself lucky, Bishop!

Reading back yesterday's blog posting about finding a balance between writing and a part-time job. another thought sprung to mind: I should count myself lucky to have gotten the job when I did. An awful lot of people are getting made redundant or not having their contracts renewed right now. The recession is biting hard across many areas, with devastating consequences. So having too much work? Not easy, yet something of a luxury too.

Spent yesterday researching horror films from the past hundred years, and digging out journal articles on the genre. Today it's writing time. I've got a lecture to map out, highlighting the key horror movies of the 20th Century and illuminating current trends in the genre. Hollywood remakes of international hits and the torture porn sub-genre are likely to get more than a few mentions, as they've dominated recent releases in this field.

One thing has stood out clearly: for the past forty or fifty years, Hollywood has been following others when it comes to horror. Indie filmmakers are the ones who have pushed the genre forward, as evidenced by features like Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Evil Dead, The Blair Witch Project and Saw. It's hard to think of a horror film made by Hollywood since the 60s that's broken any new ground.


Brian Robinson said...

PG 13 Horrors are an interesting strand. Hollywood makes them for kids and leaves out the horror (The Fog). Indies/non-Hollywood types make them and they can be truly scary and affecting (The Others).

Gordon said...

"It's hard to think of a horror film made by Hollywood since the 60s that's broken any new ground."

The Exorcist.

You can have that one for free.

(Admittedly, still the early 70s, and hence not exactly recent either.)

Antonia said...

The Exorcist was truly shocking in its day. I remember hiding under the blankets when I got home, and a friend crying, petrified. For me, it was the evilness of it, not the scariness, if that makes sense.

Jon Peacey said...

Isn't The Exorcist in the Demon Child sub-genre which could be seen to have started with Rosemary's Baby in 1968 and the Demonic Possession sub-genre which can arguably be seen to go back to silent films such as Haxan and The Student Of Prague.

I'm curious as to what groundbreaking Hollywood horror there was in the early 60's. The one I can come up with is Psycho but that was pre-empted by Michael Powell's career ending Peeping Tom (the first slasher film?). Some have argued that if the release order of the two films had been reversed it might have been Hitchcock who lost his career!

It could also be argued that during the 20's and 30's Hollywood was following others- the key talent behind the camera (Leni, Freund, Julian, Laemmle, etc.), in front of the camera (Karloff, Browning, Lorre, etc.) and the key stories themselves (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, etc.) tended to be imported.

Anyway, that's my ha'penny's worth...

Anonymous said...

I can't believe i've been in your classes for two weeks and didn't realise who you were. You should introduce yourself with a Simpsons-esque 'you may remember me from such things as...'. I've enjoyed your two lectures although I'm in utter disbelief that you haven't seen 'Strange Days'. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by James Cameron. How has a genre writer like yourself not seen this? Fix this immediately :)