JC: Horror Bodies

Posted: July 6, 2011 in J.C. Personal

Good looking girls, or at least decent looking girls that don’t mind taking their shirts off, have been a staple of horror films since the first slasher appeared onscreen. (maybe not the very first, I’m not talking genre theory here) but eye-candy for men is as pervasive in horror as some people find it perverse. While more often than not, the breast bearers are done away with by the monstrous thing, I’m not sure that horror directors are doing a good thing for us fans. Of course, one of the draws to horror is the body, whether it is nudity or the defiling of the body, allowing the audience to see things that they would normally not is the thing that keeps us coming back. What do horror fans talk about most… the kills and then the women. I am making broad statements about the genre, of course, but I’m doing so to make a point. There is not enough draw for women to horror. I have met many women at conventions that love horror, and I’m not talking about those that are already “in” when it comes to horror. I’m talking about the average movie fan, or “normie”, to quote one of my favorite podcasts.

What got me thinking about this? My wife and I watched The Crazies recently. The remake released in 2010. This was not the first time I had seen this one. I quite enjoy it. It’s not perfect, but it has great atmosphere and Director Breck Eisner does a good job at building tension. This movie has some decent jump scares, it has an element of believability, and it has some everyday people doing everyday things. It has some blood and an element of mystery to it. What else does it have? Timothy Olyphant playing the lawman role he was born to play. Maybe not as reluctant as Seth Bullock and I have not watched Justified in order to make a comparison, but he fits the bill as a cop.

I’m not lobbying for full male frontal. What I’d like to see are more believable and decent looking (by whose standards, I’m not sure) men as the leads in horror films. If you need someone unlikable to die, keep the d-bags as the counterpart to the women of questionable morals, but don’t make all of your characters clichés. It makes it tough to care about anyone and only furthers the common misconception that horror films are nothing more than trite garbage.

Give us some complex characters and situations we can identify with. Then kill them off and watch the reaction. Your audience will have a bigger “buy-in” and you may help elevate the much maligned genre. To those already doing this, thank you! You help make the ten bad films worth watching to find the good one.

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