Top 5 Ways To Save Horror Movies

Published 5 years ago by

Let Me In ScreenRant Top 5 Ways To Save Horror Movies

It’s getting pretty scary out there for horror fans.

Horror hounds have suffered for years with weak remakes, torture porn-a-paloozas and other degrading attempts to make us jump. But 2010 represents a new low for the genre.

The Nightmare on Elm Street remake couldn’t scare a third grader. The biggest reaction to Devil came when audiences laughed over the story credit – “from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan.” And Survival of the Dead proved the zombie genre George A. Romero created has left him in the dust.

And let’s all agree that none of the Twilight films should be thrown in the horror category.

What’s worse is when a solid horror entry hits theaters it made precious little coin. Both Piranha 3D, the very definition of a B movie delight, and Let Me In underperformed during their theatrical releases.

The year’s bright spot came with The Last Exorcism, a no-budget affair which delivered real chills until the stilted finale.

So what’s a horror fan to do? Take action… and the sooner, the better. We may not know how to act, direct or otherwise produce compelling frightmares, but that doesn’t mean we’re unable to save our beloved genre.


Avoid 3-D horror movies

Piranha 3D stands as the exception that proves the rule. Filmmakers aren’t looking to 3-D as a new storytelling device. It’s a gimmick, plain and simple, and an uninspired one at that. Was anyone scared when the pickax popped off the screen during the My Bloody Valentine remake? Didn’t think so. Don’t pay the extra fee for 3D horror. You’re only marginalizing the genre.

Just say no … to mindless remakes

Most horror remakes reek. Yes, this critic actually dug the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Let Me In artfully duplicated the original’s somber tone. But most horror remakes exist to cash in on the brand, leaving little place for originality or story innovation. Horror fans were tipped off that Let Me In wasn’t your average remake by an impressive cast (Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins) and director (Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves). If you must pay to see a horror remake, check its credentials first.

Follow the blogs

The horror blogosphere is alive with film and DVD tips, trailers for upcoming films and interviews with the next wave of horror auteurs. Bookmark sites like , and to get the latest scoop on the scene. They’ll alert you to worthwhile imports sneaking onto DVD without much fanfare (like the excellent 2008 film Eden Lake) and horror directors who share your film tastes. You’ll be a smarter consumer and you’ll be strengthening the horror film community at the same time.

Support the indies

At the risk of sounding like the snooty video store clerk who turns his nose up at anything commercial, some of the best horror movies come from the indie realm. Splinter, Rogue and House of the Devil stand as prime examples of quality shockers that got little or no theatrical love. Technological leaps have given young, scrappy filmmakers the tools to make terrific films that look nearly as good as their blockbuster peers. Consider the creatures in the otherwise flat movie Monsters. They couldn’t be concocted so cheaply a decade ago – or look so menacing.

Tweet the best of the rest

Social media isn’t just for cyber-stalking the cute girl in gym or keeping tabs with your old high school chums. It’s a powerful tool to spread the word about things you care about. And, if you just watched a gripping horror movie that isn’t on most people’s radar, let your friends know about it. Some horror actors/directors may also be online via Twitter or Facebook. Send them some praise. Chances are it’ll make their day – and push them a little harder to complete their next horror feature.


So the next time you endure a lackluster horror film don’t shrug your shoulders and re-watch The Exorcist to cleanse the palate. Be proactive. Crush the film in 140 characters or less via Twitter and then scour the web for a more promising horror feature.

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  1. I love horror films and so far none of these are truly scary *sigh* im taking your advice!

  2. most of these ways to save horror dont matter to me. the only true..STOP WITH THE PG-13 HORRORFEST…its pretty simple. and yea remakes need to stop happening

    • Agree. I tend to refuse the PG-13 as it really isn’t a horror movie

    • PG-13 isn’t the problem. If you notice, not one of the actual horror movies mentioned above are PG-13 (Twilight doesn’t count). Being “R-rated” doesn’t solve the problem. That usually just means more gore, nudity and language. There is such a thing as a scary (and good) PG-13 horror movie.

      • name one and i’ll see if i agree….

        • The Ring.The original remake was rated PG 13 and I dare you to say the reality based feeling of it wasnt scary as hell.It did exactly what horror is meant to do,scare you.They used two things we need the most to scare us.Telephones and Televisions.As well as the fact a video tape that could easily just be a group of images that are rather weird and random,as the source of a living nightmare.The Ring is a prime example.Feel free to disagree,but thats one.

          • I laughed out loud during the Ring. Not scary at all

          • i dare say i didnt like the american version…next.

            • The Sixth Sense was a good PG-13 horror film. And there are also good PG horror movies like Jaws, Poltergeist and The Changeling. In addition, there are good horror movies that are not rated like the original Psycho, and the original Night of the Living Dead.

              The rating really doesn’t matter. If it’s well-written, well-acted and well produced a good horror movie can be any rating. I refuse to buy in to the R-rated Horror Movie Myth.

              I still even get creeped out a bit by the G-rated version of Sleepy Hollow by Disney. :)

              • The 6th Sense to me was more suspense/drama than anything…but thats just me im sure.


                • Signs…

                  First time I watched that I was afraid to look out my windows at night. It wasn’t really scary, just freaky.

                  • Foo….im sad at you comment lol.

              • You can’t include Jaws and movies like Poltergeist in the rating discussion. Times have changed and ratings have changed in 30 years. You can only really compare today’s movies in ratings.

                • Can, too. You’re not the boss of me.

        • Anthony, maybe you should read this article:

          • You make some hopeful points about the ratings issue. Thank you for that!

        • Poltergeist.

          The Gate.

          The Others.


          • The Exorcism Of Emily Rose

            Are we good now?

    • Anthony, you need to read this article:

      The whole “it has to be R” is tiresome. How about we look at some horror films that’s r-rated: Freddy vs. Jason (crap), Alien Ressurection (crap), All of Rob Zombie’s films (mega-crap).

      • Little Monster,

        That’s a great list. Problem is that MOST PG-13 horror films seem to be teen-filled, jump-scare dependent garbage. But you’re right, often R-rated horror is just an excuse to up the gore factor.

        All in all, though, I’d say the R-rating gives filmmakers more room to “breathe.”


        • To me horror is dead. I have yet to see a film that has really scared me since ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ (original). ‘Cloverfield’ gave me chills, but that’s the closet I’ve ever been to being.

          The problem is that R-rated “horror” focuses on gore, nudity, and cursing (everything that doesn’t matter to me in film), but that’s not horror, that’s torture porn.

  3. I don’t even know what a modern horror film is anymore, its either crappy remakes or kiddie rated stuff, then there is the definiton between a horror film and a scary film because they are rarely one and the same.

    Many people seem to exclusively focus on gore as the staple for horror these days (Saw) but excessive gore simply isnt scary or shocking anymore, people have become desinsitized to it. As they have with the long banging orchestral sceech that is designed to make an audience jump out of their seats.
    Its the equivalent of walking up behind someone and banging a drum, it makes you jump but it is no way considered to be scary.

    its not a matter of saving horror movies, they need to be redifnied, is horror gore? Or is it fear?

    • Horror is supposed to be fear. I miss old horror films :(

      • lol old horror films?? what do you mean mr 19 year old ha ha

        • Mr 18! Get it right ;)

          i mean the old slasher films like jason/freddy etc now all they focus on is gore! Thats not horror its disgusting most times!!

          • LOl… why i even bother is just beyond me :)

            • 8-) *cracks up*

      • Of course it’s meant to be fear, that was my point, but horror films traded the fear for gore a long time ago. The problem is that there should be a way to have both, The Thing is a prime example, being incredibly gory but also genuinely scary.

        I find it a sad testament to the horror films of today that the best ones were the 70s and 80s, why can’t the film makers of today have half the skill of Carpenter, Cronnenberg, or Lynch.

        The only recent film that genuinely creeped me out was 1408. That film had some real fear going on.

        • 1408? Seriously?

        • DSB yes that movie was creepy, the story even creepier too!! its one of Cusacks best films. I love how they didnt over use SLJ as well :)

        • I think a big problem with today’s horror movies are they are to “clean.” Meaning they actually movie is to slick looking. They don’t seem real to me. That is why I liked 28 days later so much. It gave off that 70′s-early 80′s vibe of grit and “reality.”

    • DSB..Carpenter to me is the last great true to his art horror film director. he doesnt compromise and is unrelenting in his art.

      • Amen to that. Twin Peaks.

        • was something a really scary show.

          • hell yes it was! and i dare mention really ahead of its time as well

            • Bob still haunts my nightmares!

              • Bob was one creepy dude…had the of his menacing face image burned in my brain for the longest time

                • I love twin peaks, but i don’t know if i would call it scary though, great show and yes, very ahead of its time.

                  • “Millennium” had that same creepy, scary feel as well. More so than “X-Files,” IMO.

                    • There were a couple of x files episodes that stopped me from sleeping when I was younger, Squeeze and Home are 2 that spring to mind.

  4. This is an excellent read!! Major Kudos to the writer.

    But I do have to throw out a couple remakes that I did enjoy seeing. Amity Ville Horror was a good one and I did like the Friday the 13th remake.

    I have to agree that the Nightmare on Elm St remake was really really ect…… BAD!!! I did not see it and will wait to rent it from someplace. I did not like the look of Freddy at all. NOONE can play freddy like Robert did!!

    • AV Horror was ok, Reynolds was pretty good in it…Friday the 13th was good fun as well….and both R rated!

    • Dawn of the Dead was the best horror remake IMO. Having the Zombies actually run, amped up the suspense quite a bit.

  5. We need real horror! We don’t need shock horror.

    Shock horror is when you cringe because of something gross that happens on screen. Shock horror makes you jump, but quickly subsides. Shock horror is temporary.

    Real horror comes from fearing for your life, and forgetting the stuff on screen is fake. Real horror follows you home and makes you turn on the lights when you sleep. Real horror is more suspense than release.

    • The Former

      You got it all right :)

      I havent turned on my lights at night in a long time..

      • Don’t you keep bumbing into stuff?

        • Nope. Ive got my ipod light lol

  6. you mean real horror like The Devils Rejects?

  7. We need original stories. Look at Let The Right One In, 28 Days Later, the original Saw, those were original and have had great reviews. We are rehashing a lot of the same stories (along with remaking them). The state of horror sucks. Once we hit the 2000s (hell mid-90s?) horror just stopped being any good. It became blood and bodies vs truly trying to scare us. I think the attitude was “lets ramp up the suspense and have the bad guy jump out and make the audience jump.”

  8. It pisses me off beyond belief that Let Me In didn’t get the recognition that it truly deserves. I just saw it yesterday and posted on the review here at Screen Rant saying how much I disagree with how they blasted the fact that it wasn’t as good as the original. Saying this started a domino effect. I saw so many people in the comments saying stuff like how they’re going to wait for Netflix now and how they’re not going to see it because of that review.. I haven’t seen the original yet, but I thought that movie was fantastic and I am upset with Screen Rant that they may have attracted some of it’s intended audience away from it. That’s just my opinion. I have been coming to this site for awhile now by the way and I love it.

    Another horror movie I don’t think really had strong box office gaining was Splice which also came out this year. For a horror movie that wasn’t a remake or something that has been overdone (The Last Exorcism) it sure didn’t make too much money (if I recall correctly).

    • Sin yeah i agree let me in is worth the watch :)

    • I think I was on the list of Netflix people commenting, but after reading the book I want to see it, just need the time. I want to see the American before the Swedish as I think it will hurt the American to see the Swedish first.

      • Go see it on the big screen. It is a fantastic movie! I don’t know if I believe that if you see the original the remake will suck. I don’t judge movies solely on the fact that they’re a remake or that they’re not up to par with the original. I judge them like they’re their own movie. And Let Me In was fantastic.

        • The ONLY thing that bothered me was the cgi,it was VERY BAD. Everything else was great!

          • How was the CGI bad? I thought it was fantastic. The way she killed people was crazy. (Especially the end)

  9. Horror movies aren’t dying. American horror is failing though. Foreign horror is alive and well, making movies that are gory yet actually good (High Tension, Inside, Martyrs, The Descent) and great atmospheric movies (Them, Eden Lake, The Orphanage).
    Horror movies aren’t going to die, they will just be cut into three groups. The Saw knock offs, the PG-13 cash-ins, and the good, outside horror films.

    • Asian horror is great stuff too…

    • Scott,

      This article is referring to US-made horror movies.


  10. How about no more MTV generation horror flicks.

    I will watch just about anything but after 10 minutes of the Nightmare on Elm Street I turned it off. Why the hell is EVERYONE in that movie wearing full make up? Especially WHEN THEY’RE SLEEPING?!?!?!?! This movie is ridden with these stupid mistakes.

    • Agreed! There’s only one brand of makeup acceptable while a character dozes off in a Freddy movie. Here’s a hint: it’s dark red :)

  11. Also, unless you’re really confident in your CGI, DON”T USE IT!!!

    The scariest movies usually do not use CGI. The Thing? Those puppet monsters still haunt my dreams. Horror make up artists are very talented people and deserve the recognition.

    • The Thing is just pure genius. Rob Bottin. is a master at his craft. its a perfect example of how special effects should be done. it still holds up today against anything out there.

      • I was just talking about The Thing this morning with a co-worker who hadn’t seen it. I told him the practical effects are incredible and the movie stand the test of time. In fact, now I’m going to have to watch it again this weekend. :)

      • And the crazy thing is, the effects still hold up to this day. They are EFFECTIVE. Sure, you know it’s kind of fake but all the other elements surrounding those scenes make up for it and you’re left with one scary movie. It’s similar to Terminator 2, the effects are still good even by today’s standards.

        Bring TALENT to horror movies, not “edge” or gimmicks (excessive gore, full on rape scenes, etc.)

        • Carpenter/Bottin=win-win

  12. Horror movies need to be more like Trick r’ Treat. It is easily one of the best this decade. It was def not scary but it was everything a horror movie should be…FUN! It didn’t depend on cheap gimmicks like 3-D nor did it try to take itself too seriously. It was funny yes, but it wasn’t bad. It was a fantastic movie all in all and it brought back the kind of horror movies that can make you laugh and jump all at the same time. (Also Drag Me To Hell)

    • what one? there were two Treat or Treat films

    • I thought Drag Me TO Hell was laughable. (In a bad way.)

      • it was horrible in my opinion..had better shops for a Raimi film

  13. Im a big movie fan,but I honestly think some of you guys are the biggest Jaded fans I have ever met.I agree alot with this article and some of your aguements,but you guys are always online.ALWAYS.(Anthony especially).If you dont like the state of horror,and you guys seems to think you are so smart,write some stuff and have a idea get through.Stop being so know it all and get some sun.I dont even see the owner of the site online that much,and its HIS site.Guys get a

    • What? Barrack is that you?

    • The opposite of a “jaded fan” is someone who gladly accepts every cruddy movie Hollywood pumps out and supports it with his $$. Hollywood will take the easy road of sequel or remake over having to come up with something original most of the time because it’s just easier and faster.

      If fans get picky and don’t support poorly made films, that hits the studios right in the wallet – where they have ALL their attention focused.


  14. Horror is a tough one. We WANT to be stimulated. Fear will do. We DON’T want two dimensional characters. I think Sam Raimi has the right idea when it comes to horror. Screams, things not seen. Pumpkinhead did that very well. Apparently, Carpenter’s Thing did that (when I saw it, the audio system wasn’t working ~ definitely unimpressive then). Speaking of tension-building creepy: The Creature of the Black Lagoon was perfect with its music score. Jaws did okay.

    Apart from that above, we need a good story, good dialogue.

    I’m a dad. I’m not supposed to like upper-torso feminine nudity in North America (hey, let’s call a spade a spade). But, I have to admit a little of that is titulating. A little of that.. I agree there is a line; too much and it detracts from the point. Blood and guts works only if it is dragged out. Have you seen The Wolfman remake? Too fast is NOT scarey.

  15. I’d say casting for horror villains has gone down the drain.

    To me, a right actor as the “monster”, even in a bad movie, can make for a scary experience.

    Stephen King’s IT – movie, not so great. The clown? scared the living crap out of me (I still hide the DVD so I don’t see the cover with Pennywise on it)

    Freddy – again, the movies are not so great but people were terrified by Fredd (Robert Englund) and that’s what made them effective.

    Hellraiser – first movie was really good but the sequels got worse and worse. The actors playing the monsters kept the franchise afloat.


    • having It as a TV film above all the other TV adaptations is the the biggest mistake ever. i can handle the shining, rose red, desperation, the stand as all TV formula maybe, but NOT It.

      • Hmmm I thought having 2 parts was good. It would be really hard to squeeze IT into 1.5 hour movie. Split it into 2 feature length movies? Maybe.

        I know they’re remaking it into a movie but I already have a feeling they’ll screw it up. Call me pessimistic. Unless they cast Tim Curry as Pennywise again, then I’m onboard.

        • ogb…they still left out a lot of things from the book, and yea the theater remake unless they actually film it in two parts wont be promising either.

          • Anthony, I was OK with some of the things they left out. The book’s ending was WAAAAY out there and as bad as that spider was in the movie, I thought it was better than the book’s ending (at least for a movie).

            I did miss some of the developing story of the book in the movie.

  16. I, half-jokingly, like to tell my friends that the scariest film I’ve ever seen is “American Beauty”…I’ve met and know know people like those characters–truly horrifying.
    In terms of horror films that are SUPPOSED to be horror films, I must say that I go for creepy and suspenseful over gory and shocking; yes, the latter disgusts me and temporarily raises my blood pressure, but I don’t actually feel any desire to lose my appetite or bite my tongue. F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” is verrry creepy, as is “The Children” (the original, I believe, unless I’m forgetting an earlier version). Are these stunning pieces cinematic perfection? No, but they DO succeed creating a major sense of unease…of fear. I also love John Carpenter’s first “Halloween” (the second was okay only in that it was literally a continuation of the first film). The rest and the Rob Zombie remakes were (in my opinion, at least) CRAP. I never got into the other 80s horror pics (the Freddys, the Jasons, etc.). The theme from “Jaws” is, to this day, one of the greatest horror musical pieces composed.
    Continuing in this vein (with all apologies to any vampires out there), I loved “Let Me In”. I loved “Let the Right One In” too, but I found different things to appreciate in both. I will stick to the American remake, at this point, to keep my thoughts pertinent to the discussion. I enjoyed the acting and the established atmosphere (I was dubious about setting it in the American Southwest, but it worked wonderfully, as it turns out). Also, with due respect to the ScreenRant review (I believe Vic reviewed it?), I disagree with two things the review found unfavorable: I thought Chloe Moretz DID convey the vampire’s world-weariness and social uncertainty (the sort of naive maturity a creature like that might, in fact, possess) quite well…I saw her as the vampire who is the jaded adult stuck eternally in the body AND mindset of a child. The music (with the exception of one portion near the beginning of the film, when it DID sound cheesy) added tremendously to kinetic, uncertain, frenetic, and oppressive atmosphere(s) throughout the film. I appreciated the soundtrack for what it was: a living background to the progression of the story.
    Oh, and one preference I had of the American versus the Swedish film: When the vampire girl undresses, the Swedish version SHOWS her…TMS (too much seen); the American version very tastefully blurs her while maintaining the flow of the scene…it simply SEEMINGLY focuses on the boy’s expression in light of the odd situation. I thought the American film’s method of playing out the awkwardness worked better.

    Just a few of my thoughts…

  17. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake was good, the only remake i really respect. The sequel was crap tho. Rob Zombies Halloween is pretty good too, there’s some startling parts. One of my favorite more recent, 2005 i think, was Silent Hill, maybe u gotta be a fan of the game to like it but that was a good one.

  18. As much of a surge as Scream gave the horror industry, it hurt the genre too. Just my opinion.

    • in a way yes it did, but still that movie(im not talking about the sub-par sequels)changned the rules too. between Craven and Barrymore coming up with the shocking opening sequence, and the fact there were not 1, but 2 killers at work was just pure brilliance.

      • Absolutely. Until the wave of films after wanted to have the same wit, same shock, same ‘plural killers’ routine. The first film remains one of my favorite horror films & one of my favorite in-theater experiences. :)

        Then again, it did introduce (most of) the world to Matthew Lillard…. :| :)

  19. I don’t know guys and gals, i saw the first twilight movie not knowing anything about it. And knowing that teenage girls look to that as romantic advice is the scariest thing i’ve ever thought of lol.

  20. Avoid pointless remakes? Thankfully they are already starting to do this with Let Me In. It’s good. I mean it’s good because the original is great. You know, made a good movie out of a great one. Literally. But yes, support the indies and foreigns make it so better movies in general come out. Problem is, getting enough people to do that in order to make a difference.

  21. “And let’s all agree that none of the Twilight films should be thrown in the horror category.”-Christian Toto

    I dunno, Christian…if a psychic version of an electromagnetic pulse were issued (and the tweener girlie fanbase somehow proved impervious to same), we might see the TwitLight Film Saga nominated for/winning Best Picture; that sounds like a horror scenario to me!

  22. This whole article sounds like a thinly veiled attempt to undermine Saw 3D. Audiences have long abandoned this series so I don’t believe this was necessary. The links are appreciated though, so kudos there.

    • Shane, damn… you found us out. Our criticism of all the schlock, quick-buck horror movies out there was REALLY just a plot to have Saw 3D fail at the box office.


      • I hope it works! :)

  23. There was nothing wrong with the use of 3D in “My Bloody Valentine” remake

    There. I said it.
    It used 3D well. It was a decent remake. It was a better remake.
    While I still think one scene could have been trimmed…

    By the way, I thought “Daybreakers” from earlier this year was a good film- although it only had a few elements of horror. Yes, this year of horror has been a bit of a washout. I mean, when one of the best happens *to be* Daybreakers 30 Days Of Night : Dark Days a DTV effort… something’s not quite right.

    When the film “Black Death” only gets a UK release and is tossed to the US with a VOD platform, something is REALLY wrong.

  24. i agree with this guy 100%. we get non stop action crammed into resident evil films when they are made, and they should be story driven mainly and good action placed in the right spots. also remakes for the most part suck because they try and change everything when they do remake them keep them fairly the same as the original, and if you want to get creative then try and think of chilling things to add into a horror movie not hey lets add this guy jumping off a wall with a round house kick then dodges bullets and super jumps (etc) that is crap. however i would love to see these remakes made right. resident evil like the first game, the creature from the black lagoonb done darker and more chilling, but kept in the amazon, island of dr moreau done more creative but add alot of creepy things into it but also add a dark human element or angle into the film kinda the way splice did but different.a splice sequel has to be made,a x-men film i know its not a horror film but i would like to see it go a little darker, and steve altens the loch would be awesome to see if done right, and lastly a underworld the origins of the corvinus family. this guy is right we need better qaulity in horror films,sci fi thriilers, and killer animal films, and all films for that matter. but yeah i would love to see some really good horror films with great story, acting, and effects, and less cheesy comedy, non stop action, and lame stories. bring on the great horror,sci fi thriller films.

  25. Heres where Horror films have screwed up. I cannot go to most horror films at theaters. Why? Because why go see some truncated R-version when I can wait a few months for the Unrated. The unrated options has made most theaterical viewings obsolete for me. Evil Dead and Insidious being two prime recent examples.

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