5 The Horror of Found Footage
Found footage became popular with “The Blair Witch Project,” the supposedly recovered footage of three missing film students, who couldn’t set a shot for all the gold in Fort Knox. The concept can work, like in “The Poughkeepsie Tapes,” which has the eerie quality of an Errol Morris documentary. But all too often “found footage” is synonymous with “shaky cam.” True, some rules are meant be broken, but holding the camera steady for more than five seconds is not one of them.
4 Sex Will Kill You
OK, we get it. The ’60s are in the distant past, and unprotected sex can kill you in more than one way. But why does even the slightest horror movie nipple-slip have to be punished with an ax to the head? Especially since that gratuitous flash of skin is often the movie’s only redeeming feature? Let’s be honest: None of the “Friday the 13th” installments has distinguished itself with great acting, script-writing or interesting plot twists.
3 Everybody Dies!
Watching a half dozen people trying to get away from a psycho killer or horde of bloodthirsty monsters, only to see the character everyone is rooting for catch it in the end is pointless. It only worked in Romero’s of “Night of the Living Dead” because killing off “the black guy” last was ironic in 1968. But most of the time, killing off all protagonists and letting the monster live is just an unimaginative way of threatening the audience with another sequel.
2 Vampire Boyfriends
Admittedly, vampires have always had a certain sex appeal—except for F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu.” But they were never beings you wanted to have a relationship with. The vampires portrayed by Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Kiefer Sutherland may be eye candy, but they are also bad news. Tom Cruise convinced audiences in 1994 that vampires have feelings, too. But Edward Cullen of “Twilight” is a strong argument that the only thing a vampire should feel is a stake through the heart.
1 I’ve Never Heard of a Zombie!
Seriously! Ten-year-olds go with their parents go to zombie walks, and you can buy zombie-killing ammo at most gun shows. But if you’re a character in a zombie movie, the idea of people rising from the dead and turning you into lunch is something you’ve never heard of. Romero got away with that in “Dawn of the Dead,” but only because no one had done it before.