So... What's your favourite scary movie? I can almost guarantee that it isn't a recent one...
It's October, which means the internet is piled high with articles about the best scary movies to watch for All Hallows Eve. Unsurprisingly, most feature the classics: Halloween; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Friday the 13th; The Exorcist; The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; Child's Play; The Evil Dead; The Shining, Rosemary's Baby, Candyman and, of course, the one that arguably started the slasher flick phenomenon, Psycho.
The horror genre, in particular, is a hard one to crack. There's a definite line between a good horror and a bad one. In no other genre is that line so pronounced that films were classed in an A and B-movie status (although I can think of a few rom-coms that should be degraded to at least a C-class). There are exceptions to that rule, those films that are so bad they're good, but generally the good films grab one of your fears or paranoia and squeezes until you're checking under your bed and sleeping with the lights on.
For me, A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the ultimate horror films. As a child, who should not have been watching said film and was slightly afraid of the dark anyway, spent many a night trying not to fall asleep - just in case. The film took the universal fear of nightmares and made them even more real. Real, and with knives for fingers. Maybe it's just me, but recent horror films have failed to grasp modernised fears, with most just reusing those cheap thrills and tricks from old classics.
If you don't know these rules, please pay close attention to this public announcement from the authority that is Randy from Scream. If you do know these rules, you should watch the clip anyway because Scream is genius.
The Conjuring had that tension. On paper, it should have bombed. Old trope - paranormal experts investigating a supposed haunted house - all stuff we've seen before. Yet, James Wan's excellent direction kept us tense and jumpy all the way through until the last act. Which is why it did so well at the box office - we like to be scared by a scary movie.
The 2000's sucked for genuinely scary films, but with The Conjuring's success and The Babadook rolling around in praise at the moment could we be back to having our wits scared out of us? I think I might buy a night light... or is that too premature?