“Know thyself we do not” – Guillermo Del Toro.
With being connected to everyone all the time, the only place we really have to ourselves is within us. We no longer have that natural feeling of suspense and unknowing because we rely on the internet to give us answers. Cell phones, computers, TV — Without them, there is a sense of emptiness and unease as if our only source of knowledge has been taken away from us. This is all being reflected in the films we watch, specifically horror movies. They’re not really scary anymore. Honestly, I feel like the only thing that could truly frighten us is ourselves.
If we didn’t scare ourselves, then what would scare us?
There are always new movies being released, but they are usually recreations of older films. Why? Well, because making an original film is practically impossible. Thus, we make alterations of a film. Over time we have transformed fearful, horrifying creatures into a pleasant fantasy. Vampires used to terrorize cities, burn in the sun, and possibly turn into a bat. They didn’t sparkle and have children. Zombies ate brains and guts — Now they’re capable of love? What do we have to be afraid of if everything can be turned good? Perhaps it’s adapting to the way we live and the constant changes in our lives. Hardly anything is original anymore. The monsters in the movies aren’t what they used to be and they certainly aren’t scaring anyone. Not anymore, anyway.
What is scaring us is our own world, and more specifically — ourselves. Like I said, we are always in-tune with the internet or TV. There is always something messed up going on — kidnappings, murder, terrorism. All sorts of scary stuff. I get it, I really do. Why would we want to watch even more horrific things in a film — a huge source of our entertainment? Well… Del Toro says, “Monsters will always provide the possibility of mystery in our mundane “reality show” lives, hinting at a larger spiritual world, for if there are demons in our midst, there surely must be angels lurking nearby as well”. Naturally, we have a need to escape our boring, repetitive lives and seek more. Monsters feed our curiosity. But most importantly, it gives us hope. Have you ever noticed that in most horror movies, the bad guy is defeated at the end? I mean… There has to be a happy ending somewhere, right? Another is that “…whereas other monsters emphasize what is mortal in us, the vampire emphasizes what is eternal in us” (Del Toro 632). Archetypes like these serve the purpose of fulfilling our world’s needs — like the need to confront fear, for instance. Perhaps changing what used to scare us is our way of confronting it.
It’s sad for the horror industry, though. It’s becoming a dying genre. Our current day horror flicks are boring, cliche, disappointments that are shown in the theaters for two weeks and then off to Netflix they go.