Horror Movies Through the Decades

“What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie? You have to have a favorite, what comes to mind?” -Ghostface, Scream’s Iconic Killer

When choosing a favorite scary movie, many factors come into play. From the plotline, characters, and gore, every part of a horror film plays a role in what makes the picture perfect. Iconic films don’t become legendary over nothing, so what made ones from earlier generations so great?

Horror movies weren’t really what we could consider horror until the 1960s. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was groundbreaking. It demonstrated a gore factor that was still relatively new in a thrilling way. After the film’s infamous shower scene, movies became much more daring and began to push the limits. 

Halloween (1978) is the next film in what appears to be a pattern of evolution. This movie combined the suspense of a thriller with the newfound gore of horror in a gentle way. And was a wonderful way to ease people into what was coming. Much like in the movie Psycho, a deranged man follows and creeps in on his chosen subject(s) for a good chunk of the movie. Eventually both killers take their first victim, and this is where the films begin to differ. In Psycho, after his kill Norman Bates, begins trying to cover up his actions immediately. Michael Myers on the other hand does the exact opposite. Myers jumps into two more kills and even tries for a third, completely unaffected by the idea of being caught. Between the increase of fatalities and gore, Halloween becomes a gateway to the next generation of gore.

Of course after that, the 1980s, flipped a 180 on what audiences knew to be horror.  The decade is chalk full of horror movies, for example, Friday the 13th. Though this release was only a couple of years after Halloween, things took a dramatic turn. While Halloween hosted more gore than Psycho, it could still be considered mild when placed next to Friday the 13th. There were a couple more kills in the newer film, but that’s not what made it stand out; the camera no longer panned away for the violent scenes instead it zoomed in. The one major similarity between the two movies is the final girl, a trope that raged during this era.

Next, in the 1990s dozens of horror films premiered but the most iconic is easily Scream. Scream introduced a less serious approach to horror. Rather than stone faced killing, there were jokes that made everything feel lighthearted, in an eerie way There was even more intense gore, a greater special effects focus, and characters were not afraid to get a little bloody. The movie certainly had its unique and fun new twists, but it was clear that it took a lot of inspiration from its predecessors; in the first scene they even referenced the biggest titles of the previous two decades. 

Finally, alongside the 2000s and 2010s,  horror movies, in my opinion, fell off. The genre went from fun new ideas coming out every few years, to almost purely remakes or cheesy excuses for jumpscares and gore. Though there were some hidden treasures made in this time, the majority of the content lost originality, and the enjoyability that audiences crave slowly disappeared . 

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *