/ Tired Horror Plots

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Turdus torquatus on 18 Jan 2013
Just how many films are there which have the following plot:

A couple move to a previously unoccupied house, which is obviously creepy as f*ck from the off.
She is suffering from a recent bereavement / episode of mental ill-health, signified by clutching dead child's dolly or staring out of windows.
She sees freaky stuff, he doesn't believe her. Repeat.
Finally he believes her, it all kicks off, jeopardy, recovery.
House blows up or is boarded up.
End.
Only a hill - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:
Quite a few books as well...
paul-1970 - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:
The most hackneyed horror plot is the:

1. Misfit / Irascible old Person / Ne'er do well is burnt / disfigured / wrongly incarcerated
2. Move time forward x years
3. Young jaunty teenagers arrive for a party / holiday in house / patch of antagonist in first scene
4. Young jaunty teenagers pair off or form smaller groups to indulge in illicit practices - skinny dipping, drug taking, sex, etc
5. Young jaunty teenagers are murdered one by one by increasingly bizarre and inventively gruesome methods
6. One rather more wholesome teenager - probably one who has been vilified by the rest for not indulging - manages to evade capture and plays key part in stopping anatagonist in his steps
7. Police arrive to mop up. Body of antagonist can't be found
nw - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to paul-1970:
> (In reply to Turdus torquatus)
> The most hackneyed horror plot is the:
>
> 1. Misfit / Irascible old Person / Ne'er do well is burnt / disfigured / wrongly incarcerated
> 2. Move time forward x years
> 3. Young jaunty teenagers arrive for a party / holiday in house / patch of antagonist in first scene
> 4. Young jaunty teenagers pair off or form smaller groups to indulge in illicit practices - skinny dipping, drug taking, sex, etc
> 5. Young jaunty teenagers are murdered one by one by increasingly bizarre and inventively gruesome methods
> 6. One rather more wholesome teenager - probably one who has been vilified by the rest for not indulging - manages to evade capture and plays key part in stopping anatagonist in his steps
> 7. Police arrive to mop up. Body of antagonist can't be found

Spot on!

ThunderCat - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to nw:

Not so much a tired plot, more a tired cinematic technique device that you see again and again is:

1) lone person hears a noise in the darkest room in a scary house
2) person goes to investigate noise
3) music is ramped up to build the tension
4) person traces noise to cupboard, approaches door
5) music is ramped up even further
6) viewer expects monster / psycho to leap out of cupboard
7) lone person opens door, discovers noise is caused by the family cat
8) person (and viewer) breathes sigh of relief, music is ramped down
9) person says "oh Mr Tiddles, you scared me!"
10) person turns around to head out of scary room and...
11) BANG walks immediately into monster / psycho / Alien

You can normally spot the outcome at around step 4
Blue Straggler - on 18 Jan 2013
Go on then you lot, write a better one.

The formula tends to WORK, which is why it gets repeated. Whenever anyone tries to deviate from it, it at best registers a blip (see: Cabin in the Woods) before audiences want more of the same, or it totally polarises opinion (e.g. The Blair Witch Project), or gets very much overlooked (Silent Hill)

Did anyone see "Sinister" last year?
ThunderCat - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> Go on then you lot, write a better one.
>

Not my job. My job is to watch, criticise, be fleeced by theatres, be ripped off for popcorn, and to grumble at people using their mobile phones to update facebook to inform the world that they are watching a movie. :)


TheDrunkenBakers - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to paul-1970:
> (In reply to Turdus torquatus)
> The most hackneyed horror plot is the:
>
> 1. Misfit / Irascible old Person / Ne'er do well is burnt / disfigured / wrongly incarcerated
> 2. Move time forward x years
> 3. Young jaunty teenagers arrive for a party / holiday in house / patch of antagonist in first scene
> 4. Young jaunty teenagers pair off or form smaller groups to indulge in illicit practices - skinny dipping, drug taking, sex, etc
> 5. Young jaunty teenagers are murdered one by one by increasingly bizarre and inventively gruesome methods
> 6. One rather more wholesome teenager - probably one who has been vilified by the rest for not indulging - manages to evade capture and plays key part in stopping anatagonist in his steps
> 7. Police arrive to mop up. Body of antagonist can't be found

But I quite enjoy seeing annoying teenagers get bumped off in gruesome innovative ways.

These arent horror films that you speak about.

Salems Lot, now there's a horror film
Blue Straggler - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to ThunderCat:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler)
> [...]
>
> Not my job.

Just testing!
Turdus torquatus on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> Go on then you lot, write a better one.
>
> The formula tends to WORK, which is why it gets repeated. Whenever anyone tries to deviate from it, it at best registers a blip (see: Cabin in the Woods) before audiences want more of the same, or it totally polarises opinion (e.g. The Blair Witch Project), or gets very much overlooked (Silent Hill)
>

A slightly fairer challenge might be: go on you lot WATCH a better one. I've only myself to blame if I find Hollywood genre films a bit samey, so I try to find films which deviate from that. Cabin in the Woods is a good example. This is what led me to watch the Spanish film The Haunting (No-Do), stupidly thinking it would be different.

Some critics only seem to be able to get a handle on a film if it clearly complies to a genre, which can't help.

ThunderCat - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:

I don't know if Eraserhead qualifies a horror movie but it scared the shit out of me when I saw it. Not in a shock - horror way, but more in a queasy, uneasy, unsettling lingering afterthought sort of way.

I still get The Fear whenever I recall the "In heaven....everything is fine" song...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RctPKy25LBU
paul-1970 - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
>
> These arent horror films that you speak about.

> These arent horror films that you speak about.

Well, some may call them 'slasher' films, but really this label is a sub-genre. Examples of my 'plot' are the Friday the 13th films and the Hallowe'en series. There's many more too, but none I can think of are as good examples or provide at least one good film as these two series.

And for sure, as is often the case, the first film in the series took the whole thing more seriously and so was by far the better film - and was also more horror than slasher 'inventive ways of killing people'.

For me, good and 'proper' horror is a film that takes its subject matter seriously. 'The Exorcist' is a good example, and perhaps even 'Blair Witch Project' too, as these are both played straight and rely more on tension and what we don't see in order to frighten us.
Blue Straggler - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:

Do that same film in Spanish however, and all the Brits are falling over themselves to crow about they 'saw this great "non-Hollywood" intelligent horror film, wow they really know how it's done over there, shame most idiots can't be bothered to read subtitles' :-)
Turdus torquatus on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Indeed. I'd suckered myself into thinking that all Spanish films were as good, and as different, as the stuff by del Toro and Almodóvar. That taught me.

Some people wouldn't be prepared to believe that The Others, with Eric Sykes, is so much better than The Haunting, which is Spanish.
Peter Walker on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus: The Others has a Spanish director/writer/composer.
Blue Straggler - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:

The Haunting is a 1958 American film isn't it? Do you mean The Orphanage?

I recently watched a couple of quite serviceable made-for-TV Spanish horror "short features", they were fine but no better than if they'd been American:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477311/
and
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0430164/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Some would have you believe these (and The Orphanage) are amazing. They are not, They are just decent ways to pass the time!

I always felt that Neil Jordan's daft-but-acceptable "In Dreams" would have received a RAVE reception had it been a Spanish offering!

Interesting though that you mention The Others which as someone pointed out, was directed by a Spanish gentleman with solid credentials.
The aforementioned Silent Hill was directed by a French chap.

Maybe that's the ideal formula? Get a continental director, and see what happens when you give him a bigger budget and a "name" cast :-)
Turdus torquatus on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Turdus torquatus)
>
> The Haunting is a 1958 American film isn't it? Do you mean The Orphanage?
>

I meant this Haunting:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0829251/

It seems to have at least three different titles.

Turdus torquatus on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> The formula tends to WORK, which is why it gets repeated.

You might have a point. Having just endured "Trapped Ashes", I can understand why audiences might not be ready for a plot revolving around a woman's carnivorous breasts.
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Blue Straggler - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:

I looked it up. Sounds, er, fascinating...

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