Our friend John D. Morehead has moved his TheoFantastique blog to a new URL: www.theofantastique.com. Along with the move comes a new look and improved functionality, thanks to WordPress blogging software.
At a glance, it seems that John has successfully migrated all his old posts over, so don’t worry that anything will be lost in transition. His most recent post is about the “Problem with Today’s Horror Movies,” which he blames on our post-modern cultural context – a thought that was ricocheting around my brain while doing this take-down of Alexandre Aja’s MIRRORS. Morehead particularly laments the way that films like HOSTEL (pictured above) focus not on spiritual concerns of Good and Evil but on graphic depictions of torture and mutilation.
Morehead also mentions “commodification” (the turning of horror films into franchises – i.e., commodities), which is perhaps even more important than he states. We’re in the middle of a year that has seen numerous nationwide theatrical releases of indifferent, dull, and uninspired films that were considered potentially profitable commodities because they are trendy remakes: ONE MISSED CALL, THE EYE, SHUTTER, PROM NIGHT, MIRRORS.
Meanwhile, high-quality horror films receieve low-profile releases, appearing in a few theatres before being shuffled off to video (think of DIARY OF THE DEAD, THE SIGNAL, ROGUE, and – though some might disagree – MOTHER OF TEARS). There is enough good work out there to show that the genre is not in any existential crisis; it just needs distributors willing to do the work to turn little movies into sleeper hits, instead of simply relying on established but moribund franchises like SAW (which will be inflicting a fifth installment, like clockwork, this Halloween season).
UPDATE: It just occurs to me that I would be interested to hear Morehead’s reaction to MOTHER OF TEARS, a film that exploits the kind of body horror he decries, while at the same time espousing a view of the world in which Good and Evil are locked in a life-and-death struggle, with benign forces from divergent backgrounds (White Witchcraft, Christianity, and secular law) converging to defeat Mary Lachrymarum.