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Novelist Scott Sigler’s horror column appears every Thursday.
What is “real” horror? Can you define it? Measure it? If you can’t measure it, is it like one of those cats-in-a-box quantum physics questions? I don’t know about such things, but I’m willing to take this concept and make it my own. Therefore, dear readers, welcome to the first installment of: “Yeah, but is it Horror?”
So is there any real horror these days? Stuff like Night of the Living Dead or even Night of the Lepus? Granted, this is a just a step away from what you might hear at a Star Trek convention when two geeks fight over who is the best Enterprise captain. But it’s also fun. So put on your black clothes, hang that cross upside down, turn your nose up in the air and let’s get elitist about horror.
Is it horror? Is it scifi?
What the hell is Blu-ray? (I paid $20
for this brand-new VHS player, so will someone please start selling
tapes again?) Predator is many things, and one of those things is definitely horror. Let’s go through the check list, shall we?
• Ugly monster? Check!
• Escalating body count? Check!
• Isolation and little hope of survival? Check!
Killing someone then pulling their spine and skull out of their back
with a gruesome crunchy-squelchy sound that Taco Bell could only hope
to achieve in their commercials? Check!
• Endless sequels? Checkity-check-check
Yep, Predator meets all of the requirements. You can call it horror.
Okay, Laurel K. Hamilton’s novel doesn’t even hit shelves until May 27 and it’s already the number one novel on Amazon.com’s horror chart.
But is it horror? I mean come on. Dig the description of this book: “A
favor for Jason, vampire hunter Anita Blake’s werewolf lover, puts
her in the center of a full-blown scandal that threatens master-vampire
Werewolf lover? What? This
gives new meaning to the term “heavy petting.” I’m stunned by the
number of softcore monster-porn romances that dominate the “horror”
charts. For God’s sake people, let Joss Whedon have his Buffy schtick to himself, okay? Just because it’s got a werewolf and a vampire
doesn’t make it horror, especially when said monsters spend more time
smooching than killing. Or maybe I’m just bitter because Hamilton sells
more books in a week then I do in a year. Yeah, unfortunately, I think
Another repetitive, borderline snuff-film
seems like the scary stuff, but let’s take a closer look. It has
chopped up bodies, but does that automatically make it Real Horror?
Well … yeah. There’s no question the movie is horror. Definitely so.
The real question, however, is does anyone care? Now I haven’t seen
this yet (honestly, I don’t get out much), but the trailer sure looks a lot like Eli Roth’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre . So Frontiers might not be cutting new ground, but if you watched Hostel and you’re thinking “Man, I really need to see another Achilles tendon severing,” then this is the movie for you.
Fake Horror Posters
from Cracked.com’s “Fun With Photoshop” series comes a set of crude,
vulgar, sophomoric fake movie posters. Posters include Stephen King’s Lint and a brilliant Signs 2. Yeah, but is it “Horror?” No. Is it funny if you’re a horror fan? It’s hysterical. Go check it out.
got zombies, but is it horror? Well, it’s also got Robert Englund. That
would seem to make it horror for sure, but Rob also did that alien TV
series V. Just ’cause you dress like a lizard doesn’t mean you’re
scary, and just because the hot broads are undead, doesn’t make it
horror. But, it’s got strippers, and that’s rarely a bad thing. And
it’s got Jenna Jameson, which is never a bad thing. Is it horror? Who cares, I’m in!
So, has this little judgmental exercise helped us define what is “real” horror? Um … no. I mean I
know what real horror is — horror is my business, after all, and
business is good. Those of you who disagree with me clearly know as
much about horror as I know about cats in a box. Although, if the cats
in the box are dead … is that horror? That will have to be a blog post for another time.
Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at www.scottsigler.com. Infected, hit stores on April 1, 2008. If
you don’t agree with what Scott says in this blog, please email him
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include all relevant personal
information, such as your address and what times you are not home, in
case Scott wishes to send someone to “discuss” your opinions.