Tuesday, July 2, 2013


As each day passes, the modern audience is rapidly changing.  From movies hitting VOD before they arrive in theaters or smart phone applications that tell audiences when "boring" scenes are coming up so they can leave to use the bathroom, movie audiences just aren't what they used to be.  Of course there are the wonderful exceptions of film lovers that understand the phone is meant to be left off and leaving in the middle of a movie is disrespectful to not only the audience, but also those involved with the production of the film.  With audiences constantly changing and evolving, it's only natural for the modern horror film to change along with it.  Anthology horror films have been a favorite subgenre for decades, but there as recently been an abundance of anthology horror films being produced.  Trick R Treat, Chillerama, V/H/S/, The ABC's of Death, V/H/S/2, and the announcement of The ABC's of Death 2 have all proven that horror fans are hungry for anthology horror.  Short form filmmaking has become one of the most enticing mediums for horror audiences, and the success of these independently released anthology horror projects is prove of this idea.  The question remains, why?  Why are anthology horror films bigger than ever?  Despite the popularity of Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, and the countless other anthology horror projects that came before the current era of filmmaking, anthology horror went into somewhat of a hibernation and have only recently surfaced as something audiences loved to watch, and craved to get their hands on. 

A major draw to anthology films is the ability to satisfy our desire for nostalgia.  Regardless of the lies we like to tell ourselves, horror fans are some sentimental creeps.  We endlessly watch films from our childhood that may not have been a "good" film, but the sense of nostalgia it instills within us is totally worth it for us.  Horror movies are constantly being remade because we continually pay for admission to watch someone take a familiar film and give it new life.  We love the sense of nostalgia, and anthology horror films deliver us that satisfaction.  Anthology horror films are reminiscent of the late nights we spent watching Tales from the Crypt or The Twilight Zone.  For many of us, these anthology horror television series were some of our introductory experiences with horror.  I know I can remember sitting on my Grandfather's couch watching The Twilight Zone episode "The Number 12 Looks Like You" when I was only six years old and being terrified that when I got older I'd have to trade in my face.  The Trilogy of Terror and other anthology style made for TV movies were highly successful during their initial releases, and the resurgence has proven that we're a group of people who love their throwbacks.

We're also a generation (regardless of genre) of people growing increasingly more impatient.  We're an "immediate" generation, more comfortable with instant gratification than long term enjoyment.  The attention spans of the modern audience are rapidly shrinking, and anthology horror is the perfect remedy.  Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that people today don't pay attention to films the way they used to.  It's almost impulsive to check a phone and there are those that genuinely can't make it through a two hour movie without texting.  It's sick, but it's the world we live in. Anthology horror films satisfy the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" way of dealing with things. Audiences that are used to changing the remote control to something else if they find it dissatisfied no longer find themselves in the situation where they are forced to sit through a film they hate simply because they already paid for it.  When watching an anthology film, if an audience hates one of the segments, there's no worry, because something completely new and different will be coming up shortly.  This is especially appealing with films like The ABC's of Death, where segments are shorter than some people's bowel movements.

Perhaps most importantly, though, anthology horror films provide a sense of variety.  With the vast amount of information at our fingertips, the modern audience craves a multitude of different ways to tickle the brainwaves.  Anyone who has ever gone on a "click-through" on Wikipedia, or spent even 20 minutes on stumbleupon.com knows exactly what I'm talking about.  One moment you're looking up the run time of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and before you know it, you're researching the methodology behind dog breeding.  No one knows exactly how you got from point A to point B, but you know this game of mouse-click telephone was interesting and held your attention.  Anthology horror films give us that pleasure.  We're given a variety of characters with different names, different faces, different circumstances, and different stories.  There's no outlet for us to grow stagnant, and a range of our intrigues are experienced. 

I genuinely believe that anthology horror films will continue to gain popularity and become the next "it" thing in horror films.  Anthology horror films allow exposure for up-and-coming filmmakers and the ability to express new ideas and means of storytelling.  As long as the modern audience continues to evolve, anthology horror is going to remain a timeless subgenre that will continue to entertain.

1 comment(s):

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...
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