Saturday, October 3, 2015
"The Babadook", "It Follows", and How Hype Kills Horror
Hype can be a terrible thing, especially when something in the horror genre receives mainstream praise.
Case in point are two very recent films that seemed to do similar things when they got hyped up by pretty much everyone. "The Babadook" and "It Follows". Both films are supernatural in nature, with "The Babadook" revolving around a mentally fragile mother and her physically draining you son contending with a monster, while "It Follows" finds a young girl haunted by a demonic entity that gets transmitted like an STD. While both films have plenty of subtext and underlying themes, etc.; both of them also received a shitload of acclaim from the mainstream press.
For hardcore horror fans, mainstream recognition and acclaim is usually the kiss of death to the rest of us.
Now amongst many of MY ilk (i.e., people that don't consider "The Ring" the greatest thing ever), we tend to not like either movie, but it seems like "The Babadook" gets a more positive reaction to "It Follows". From my own personal view, I surprisingly enjoyed "It Follows" quite a bit, and I totally fucking hated "The Babadook". In fact, I consider "The Babadook" the most overrated horror film that I can remember of this decade. I can understand why many didn't seem to enjoy "It Follows", but I really enjoyed it.
Anyway, personal tastes aside, when a horror movie gets any type of mainstream press or positivity, it's usually because something about it is designed to appeal to a mainstream audience in the first place. Horror movies can range from being truly scary to just plain sick and shocking for the sake of being sick and shocking. For those of us who have pretty much seen everything the genre has to offer, it usually takes a hell of a fucking lot to impress us. For a mainstream audience that doesn't usually go for this type of thing, it takes a hell of a lot less to impress them.
That is why with horror, and pretty much everything else, when you hear the hype train coming with everyone hopping on it, you should probably ignore it until you see the product for yourself to decide if it's worthwhile or not.
Also whatever you do, don't watch "The Babadook". You'll want to rip your own eyeballs out and shove knives in your ears. If you've had the displeasure of seeing it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen it...don't. Just fucking don't.