Monday, November 28, 2011

2011: THE YEAR HORROR WENT TO TELEVISION?

As the changing seasonal winds begin to blow throughout my Midwestern campus, I find myself reflecting about the year 2011.  As a proud survivor of TWO raptures and someone who managed to choose a school other than Penn State, I was lucky enough to ultimately deem this year as satisfying.  While my personal life has been decently satisfying, I fear that the world of the horror genre may be signaling a drastic change.  2011 was undoubtedly the year of unoriginality.  A whopping amount of the horror films that were released this year were sequels, remakes, reboots, or films heavily inspired by already beloved ones.  Obviously there were some "little indie films that could", (Hobo with a Shotgun, anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) but as a whole, this year was a little more than lackluster for quality horror films.  To contrast to this, television shows within the horror genre EXPLODED with creativity and entertaining themes. 

Previously mentioned on this blog, Ryan Murphy's sensational hit American Horror Story has completely taken the horror television genre by the collar and threatened it for its lunch money.  AHS is the combined effort of every staple within the genre and shaken all together like a bottle of glitter at a Ke$ha concert.  As a horror fanatic (and I huge Ryan Murphy fangirl) I feel it is my duty as a genre fan to try and expose everyone I know to this masterpiece, and pray that it continues on to earn the viewership it deserves.

Back for its fourth season is everyone's favorite Vampire series, True Blood.  I'll admit...I stopped watching the show halfway through the train wreck that was season three.  My hopes were crushed and I found myself unable to pay attention any longer to the ridiculous storylines and unbelievable character arcs.  A friend of mine is a complete and total diehard fan of the series and assured me that season four was more than making up for season three.  Against my better judgement, I gave the show another chance.  You know something, I'm so very glad that I did.  Season four packs a hell of a punch and Anna Paquin is as cute as ever.  Luckily for fangbangers everywhere, season four was powerful enough for HBO to renew the show for a fifth season to come out this summer. 

Earlier this October, AMC finally brought back the most talked about show of 2010, The Walking Dead.  Even after the very public firing of Frank Darabount, the season premiere, "What Lies Ahead" broke the record for the most watched cable drama in basic cable history, attaining 7.3 million viewers.  Not too shabby for a season opener, eh?  What excites me even more is that the episode was directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton...A WOMAN. Holla. Anyway, TWD has been bringing in the audiences with record numbers and although hitting a bit of a low spot throughout the middle of the season, last nights' mid-finale (directed by another woman, Michelle MacLaren) more than made up for it.  I am thirsting for it to be February just to find out how the rest of the season is going to go.  Last night really hit me in the gut, but it's exactly the jump start the season needed.  Is it a shock that the best two episodes of the season were directed by women? Not. One. Bit.

To put it bluntly, horror movies this year were less than stellar and horror television shows seem to be paving the way for genre fanatics everywhere.  Horror filmmakers everywhere should take a page from the book of these shows.  Remakes and sequels don't have to be the status quo, your audiences are THIRSTING for originality and characters they actually care about.  Quit slacking off and relying on jump scares and CGI and focus on what they teach you the first day of film school...the storyline matters. 

7 comment(s):

Jamie jubilee said...

Fantastic post!

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

Great post. The only show you mention that I actually watch is The Walking Dead but I think it is probably some of the best written horror I've seen come out in awhile. It really takes zombie movies back to their roots, back when zombie movies were more about the people then they were about the zombies. One of the only shows I actually find to be worthy of my time.

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Erich Kuersten said...

American Horror story is awesome, but Rick the Hat, 'back to their roots' would be Haiti, and 30s opuses like White Zombie. Fun fact: in the original 'modern' zombie opus, Night of the Living Dead, they don't even use the word zombie - they call them mass murderers and/or 'ghouls.'

I only saw the first episode but though Walking Dead was too slow, too overwrought with the kind of cliche "son, I love you" parenting drama that sank Fringe for me. And then when zombies do show up they're killed in these showy comic book panel ways that is soo yawn worthy.

American Horror story puts em all to bed! AMH kicks rocks! ****

John Baxter said...

Great post, I've only just come across your blog. Am off to get more.

Spike Ghost said...

I have not been able to watch The Walking Dead and American Horror Story even though i want to watch them both because i am Canadian and do not get FX or amc, and also i have so many series i need to watch these days (more than i can manage... i'm getting rusted with my TV watching). But those are two series i definitely want to seek out one day, especially The Walking Dead. There's another horror series that's often forgotten but is really good, It's Supernatural. (i am only at season 2 though (but i have seen the end of season 4 and 5 so i know what happens... also because of tumblr))

B-Sol said...

A very interesting post, and I hadn't even really noticed just how much TV had brought in the lion's share of quality horror in 2011. But it's so true!

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