Okay, I know we all learned our horror basics from Scream but seeing as it was a slasher or a parody of a slasher or whatever the hell it was, it ignored some basics of the supernatural horror films. Of course, I watched one last night while on my horror binge.
But seriously, let’s take a look at some of the conventions of the supernatural horror genre or more specifically, the haunted house movie. There are a lot of smart movies of this kind out there, but there’s this reliance on building up the tension which makes your previously smart characters look really stupid.
First and foremost, when you’re meeting with a realtor and you ask “what’s the catch?” and they say “well, this house has a history…”, ya know what that means? Yeah, it means dead people. They may be in the walls or they may be buried underneath the house, but “history” means “dead people”. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Secondly, there’s always this moment where somebody sees like a charred corpse in the mirror or a crazy face in the window and they do a double take. Why a double take? You know it’s not gonna be there when you look back! I mean, seriously, it never is! But here’s my thing on this, if you thought you saw it once… you probably saw it. Don’t waste time on the double take, just get out of there.
Finally, for today’s lesson… GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! So much time is spent on creating tension in the movie with things not being where people put them last or little children creating imaginary friends that don’t say very nice things. There are a ton of warning signs, just pick one and go with it.
Now I realize this would mean no more horror films, but seriously? I mean, how many times have you been watching a movie and the character that you THOUGHT was smart falls prey to one of these tired conventions? Granted, each horror movie does it in their own way, but you can expect to find at least one of these in your basic haunted house horror whether it’s Amityville Horror or Poltergeist or even The Haunting in Connecticut.