The popcorn is popped. All the lights are off, except for the glow of the TV or computer, where the spooks are getting ready to play out their story, all in an attempt to scare.
Lately though, the ghouls and goblins haven’t been the ones playing on TV sets. The ghouls have given way to the psychos that make students cringe in an evolution from monster to maniac.
“Nowadays it tends to be about shock value and how many pints of fake blood can be used,” said Emily Williams, a 21-year-old senior music education major. Williams said she isn’t a fan of the recently released gory films, instead she prefers the classics like Alfred Hitchcock.
Noah Arnold, a 31-year-old shift manager at The Video Station, said there are different sub-genres when it comes to horror films.
“It’s a question of two schools of thought,” Arnold said. “Psychological horror and gore horror. Psychological horror dealing with ideas being more scary.”
Tyler Sparks, a 21-year-old junior sociology major, said classically scary films are more to his taste.
“Chucky was one that always freaked me out.” The 1988 film, actually titled “Child’s Play,” featuring a doll possessed by a serial killer, was one of the many classic horror films to come out in the eighties.
Sparks said the gory films aren’t to his taste, but the trend is one he believes Hollywood follows to keep up with the times.
“The more [film-makers] update it for a new generation the more intense it gets, and gory. I don’t want to see those intestines,” Sparks said, “But death sells.”
“Gore has overrun psychological these days,” Arnold said. “A lot of students want to see the most messed up stuff they can find. It’s not run-of-the-mill students that come in for the psychological thrillers anymore. [It’s] a lot of film students and parents.”
Will Holsclaw, a 29-year-old shift manager at The Video Station said people look for horror movies more this time of year.
“People are constantly coming into get good horror movies, and we try to figure out what sort they want,” Holsclaw said.
The current trend of gore hasn’t slipped past Holsclaw either.
“It kind of takes people to the limits of what they’re exposed to,” Holsclaw said. “Maybe they’re desensitized to the things they’ve already seen. People enjoy feeling afraid or disturbed. It puts them in touch with their emotions.”
Horror movies aren’t always about the scare.
“There’s a much stronger theme of comedy in horror now than there used to be,” Holsclaw said. “Comedy is the instant relief from horror and having both at the same time is kind of having the sweet and salty at the same time. People like a little bit of safety in their horror films. Sometimes, not always.”
For Holsclaw though, suspense is where the scare is.
“I admire [movies] that build up tension slowly like ‘Alien’ or ‘The Shining,’” Holsclaw said, “It’s unusual for a film to really disturb me anymore.”
“The Halloween movies, by far, scare the shit out of me,” said Alexis Matthews, a 21-year-old senior political science major.
“It’s the scariest. I like suspense over gore. For students, I would recommend Italian cinema from the seventies,” Arnold said. “It’s got definitive style without being too gruesome.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana Faria at Ana.firstname.lastname@example.org.