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How Horror Movies Have Changed

Hailey Berthelsen

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Have you ever seen a horror movie from the 20th century and wondered why today’s horror movies are so different? After comparing older, classic horror movies you start to think, is the way we’re scared today different from the way we were scared years ago? In today’s horror movies we see much more graphic and in-your-face type movies. With older, classic, and creepier movies, we see much more subtle and psychological thrillers typically set in nature.

English film director and producer, Alfred Hitchcock, specialized in building up suspense and making thriller movies that tended to be much more subtle. Hitchcock worked as a director and producer starting in the 1940’s and ending in the late 1970’s.

“Always make the audience suffer as much as possible,” said Hitchcock. Some of his classics, “Psycho,” and, “Notorious,” are known for being psychologically complex and having a sharp and keen sense of humor.  

One good example of how far horror movies have come is comparing the original make of John Carpenter’s, “Halloween,” (1978) with Rob Zombie’s remake of the original movie in 2007. In Zombie’s remake, he made the plot to be very brutal and much more gruesome. His remake can also be described as disturbing to Carpenter’s original film as it contains more blood and violence that shouldn’t be considered “horror,” but to be a diminishing thriller.

Another great example of how much horror movies have changed, is the horror series, “Saw,” which contains seven horrific and terrifying films in the series. Saw, withholds all graphic content and grisly violence. Within each sequel, the films get more intense with violence and harsh brutality. There’s still a component of psychological abuse, however, the aspect of blood and physical violence becomes even more emphasized. The use of technology is also important when comparing these films.

The use of music and sound effects are different as they may have either added to the suspense or even stressed the obvious and made the film predictable. With all the technological advances, it takes more effort to scare audiences today than it used to. Plus there’s nothing worse than seeing a horror movie relying heavily on sound effects and less on the actual story that is over-dramatized by technology.

Taking you back to 1975, the movie release of the film, “Jaws,” had just come out and was scaring more and more people out of the water. The simplicity of a shark attacking swimmers at a beach had gotten audiences from the 1970’s still frightened to this day. The music in this film had really set the tone for how scary this film truly was because of how happy the setting and time was. Normally when you see horror films, it’ll be dark at night and usually there’s some type of psychological killer out to get someone, or even a group of people. However, there’s a twist in this film. Imagine you’re enjoying a nice swim with a loved one, you cut your knee, and then you’re in biting distance of a shark. This film had made people cringe at even the thought of taking a bath because they were so afraid of sharks. No other film has made audiences leave the theatre with such a huge phobia of the ocean.

It’s all about the “fear of the unknown,” states director of the film, Steven Spielberg, not about how violent and gory you can make your film.

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Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Extraordinary
How Horror Movies Have Changed