What the Fog?

Welcome to this week’s Nerd Condo Newsletter, where we dignify and deride the weekly happenings of the uncool. There will be a mixer in the courtyard Thursday at 7:30 pm, complete with clear malt beverages and awkward mingling with females. Festivities will end promptly at 8, so no one has to miss Smallville.

The Fog remake opened this weekend, and wasn’t even screened for critics. That means the studio wants to make all its money in the first week and get the hell out before people realize how awful the movie is. No doubt this movie is terrible, even with the presence of Clark Kent. It's part of a bigger, growing problem. There is definitely something wrong with horror films of the past few years. They’ve been rolling through theaters like a poorly-rendered CGI fog, slowly destroying the very genre I love with lack of originality.

Lately, horror movies have become horror-lite and horror-less. These are PG-13 affairs that simply remake old movies and foreign imports, trading scares and obligatory sex scenes for cheap pops and franchise-raping. In the past few years, we’ve gotten The Ring (remake), The Grudge (remake), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (remake), Aliens Vs. Predator (a double penetration franchise rape), and Freddy Vs. Jason (the one example of how to have fun with a franchise). None of these movies are original ideas. They’re all mining from other sources. And the original stuff we’ve been getting isn’t exactly the stuff of Jaws. Have you seen Saw? Great premise, mediocre movie. House of 1000 Corpses? Nice try, but nothing people will talk about in years to come.

And where are our new, frightening horror icons? There’s no new Freddy or Jason, no Michael Meyers. The attempts have been sad, at best. No one’s dressing up like The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers on Halloween. The source of fright in recent horror movies has been foggy. It’s a “grudge” or a “curse” or “the fate of death.” It’s not a guy with a lecherous past and a well-sharpened gardening tool. (which reminds me, does Jason have to sharpen that damn thing or what? You'd think steel on bone would dull the blade after a while. Miracle Blade, perhaps? Anyway...) The last "real" slasher was whoever wore the Scream mask, which parodied the genre so well, it may have frightened anyone from trying it since. Except for the Wayan's Brothers. And we saw how that turned out.

There have been good horror movies recently. 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead. But notice that these movies have a distinct enemy in common, and an awesome one at that. While zombie flicks are definitely a genre that’s been done over and over, these movies are able to offer something new, and they don’t fuck around with PG-13 ratings.

Have horror movies peaked? Have we lost all creativity that we can no longer wrap the metaphor of death in a crispy-faced, pointy-fingered child murderer? I wonder if we’ll ever get our next-generation boogeyman. The fact that they couldn’t even accomplish this with a movie titled Boogeyman may indicate an answer. But hey, I must be wrong. The Fog was Number 1 this weekend despite being a terrible PG-13 remake.

If you think my memory is clouded, help clear the cobwebs with a gigantic, blood-drenched machete at Guerrs@thedeckingcrew.com

10/11/05 - Lord of the Head Ring?
10/5/05 - Whedon Need No Education

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