Hollywood Gothique
The Vault

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.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.