Join Eric and Mike as they debate the scariest of all questions…what constitutes a horror film? Do you know? Really? Listen in…you’ll be surprised!
With The Oscars now right on top of us, something I’ve been hearing a lot from friends who aren’t invested in the genre is “Is Get Out a Horror Movie? Will I be able to handle it?” Many of my non-horror film friends have a very low scary threshold but were anxious to see Get Out. There are some pretty persuasive arguments that it might not be, but in the end, I would suggest that it is. It was marketed as a horror movie, there are definite dreadful overtones to it, it has a mad scientist twist to it with the promise of something approaching torture porn, and if you are a black person in this country, it absolutely is a horror film. But… it wasn’t a gory, jump scare laden production. It’s a horror-thriller, to be sure, but more the former than the latter. And, it’s a great gateway film to usher new fans into the genre. Welcome aboard newbies!
Those discussions got us thinking… what exactly is a horror film? It’s a great debate. How about Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer? Or Predator? Or the sole “Horror” picture to win Best Picture, Silence of the Lambs? Maybe Gone Girl? (Yes, somebody brought that up to me.) So, what are the criteria?
- Does it need to be gory or violent? What separates a movie like I Spit on Your Grave from something like Se7en?
- Does it need to be scary? What scares my mom, is very different from what scares me, which is very different from what scares Mike’s boys.
- Is the context of when the film was made a consideration? What scared a less jaded audience in 1950 might consider something scary that now seems quaint. Conversely, if a 1950’s audience member saw Hostel, they would poo themselves, and Eli Roth would probably have been jailed.
- Does it matter if it has a fantastical element to it?
- What about sci-fi?
Mike and Eric discuss these topics and more. Spoiler alert! We contradict ourselves a few times in this podcast! We definitely have a few “Ohhhh, yeah. Good point.” moments. In Episode III, we have a round of stump the host, where we propose a film and let the other host determine if it’s a horror movie or not. We had a lot of fun with this episode, and it has become a touchstone discussion topic in our future podcasts.