Rescued from the Crypt: What was wrong – and right – with horror films nine years ago
One nice aspect of upgrading to a new website is that, while trolling through the archives to make sure all the old posts made the transition, I occasionally come across something I forgot I had written, and it turns out to be halfway decent – a forgotten remnant of a time when Hollywood Gothique was new and readership was low. To wit: V for Vendetta – and American horror’s current lack of culture shock.
The basic premise is that V for Vendetta, in touching upon themes related to terrorism, taps into the cultural zeitgeist in a way the horror films of the era (circa 2006) failed to do, emphasizing shock and awe at the expense of deeper resonance. I hasten to add that the piece is not a tirade against on-screen violence. Rather, I upgrade the then-current films for pretending to take a no-holds-barred approach when in fact the bloodshed was covering up a deeper cowardice – a fear to tackle anything deeply disturbing.
Not all was gloom and doom, however. I did find a bright spot in the J-horror genre and even in its overseas remakes, which used their supernatural trappings to exploit the post-9/11 fear of unexpected death inflicted for no rational reason.
Anyway, I’m proud enough of the piece to want to bring it to light again, for what it’s worth.