July 12, 2010

Meme, Myself, & I: My One Wish for the Horror Genre

While checking out The Jaded Viewer blog a little while back, I came across an entry titled, If You Had One Horror Genre Related Wish, What Would It Be?, which I thought was pretty interesting. It's part of an ongoing series of posts on Big Daddy Horror Reviews, with each contributor offering their own wish regarding horror films. The Jaded Viewer's wish? More non-white final girls (those female characters that managed to survive to the end of the movie). A good wish because you can probably count on one hand the number of female characters that outlast the villain who are not pretty white girls.

I thought I would offer my own wish, since I've seen enough horror movies to hold a firm opinion on something I'd like to see change--and am fairly certain will not change within my lifetime.

My wish: No more teen slasher flicks that feature clichéd, boring archetypes characters.

Whether it be the arrogant jock, the snobbish prep, the slutty cheerleader, the brooding emo chick, or any other characters among the stockpile of clichés, Hollywood--and even some independent film makers--insist on rehashing the same tired, two-dimensional meat puppets as fodder for whatever equally hackneyed slasher villain is in the script.

Horror movies are maligned in many ways, both fairly and unfairly. Just look at the teen slashers of the late nineties and early oughts; after the success of Scream, Hollywood couldn't churn out enough clones and thinly disguised rip-offs in order to cash in on some perceived demand. And while every genre of fiction has its own fair share of well-worn characters, the horror genre seems the least willing to push beyond its borders--at least as far as film is concerned.

Sure, as teens many of us instinctively drifted into cliques of the like-minded and like-dressed, but Hollywood makes it look like the cliques are given standard-issue dress codes and behavioral features as if they are government issue. I am simply sick of seeing the athletes bullying the nerd, the it-girls conniving against one of their own, the virgin girl resist the advances of her horned-up boyfriend, or the goth chick seeking clues in some obscure Wiccan text their lesbian aunt gave them. It may not seem like it from the other side of the fence at times, but there's more going on in the life of a teen than the artificial angst portrayed in those god-awful films.

Finding horror films that depict teenagers and early twenty-somethings in a sincere light are rare treats. And to be perfectly honest, as I sit at my computer right now, I can't think of a single title to give as an example. They're out there, though. And if you're as tired of the same ol' shit as I am, yet have better memory retention than me, you can probably name a couple of them.

But, so help me god, if anyone suggests The Final Destination, I will reach through the interwebs and hurt you.


  1. You know what? I don't mind that at all. In a teen slasher flick, the teens are chum. I don't get tired of watching heavily stereotyped teenagers get picked off in gruesome, often ironically appropriate ways. When it comes to frequent, bloody murder, as far as I'm concerned, enriching the characters actually makes it less fun. I don't want to care about them! I want to cheer when they die! And interesting variations on the archetypes don't guarantee a better movie (Shrooms comes to mind). I'd love to see more variation in the final girl type, but as for her dim, doomed buddies? Just line 'em up and knock 'em down.

  2. Great answer! I loved the meme so much, that I had to put in my own $.02. Holy Terrors

  3. Amanda - I can enjoy the occasional piece of chum in my movie viewing, but a steady diet wears on me. Empty calories and all that.

    Michelle - Thanks. I left a comment on yours too.