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Sunday, May 22, 2005

A bit more modern horror lamenting. 

So I just saw the TV commercial for High Tension for the zillionth time this week, and it strikes me again as it's struck me before: the weird action hero empowerment that inevitably consumes the last 20 or 30 minutes of most modern horror movies.

You know how it goes: the first 70 minutes, the heroine runs around in a tight top, screaming in fear, until she and her ever-dimishing band of scrappy Former WB Stars get their hands on some shotguns, the featured rock song from the soundtrack kicks in, and It's Clobberin' Time. Freddy vs. Jason certainly takes slasher film material and turns it into strictly a brawlfest, and the so-bad-it-hurts-to-type-the-title House of the Dead seems fixated on ridiculous, overlong sequences of blowing zombies away. Even the immensely entertaining remake of Dawn of the Dead falls into this trap.

(If one of you has seen the remake of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I'd be curious to know if it follows this climax trend, rather than the truer-to-the-tone ending of the original.)

Even as I type this, I realize the trend isn't all that new; Aliens springs to mind as a movie that strove to combine both horror and action elements, gradually shifting from the former to the latter over its 135 minutes. Perhaps that's simply a testament to James Cameron's skill, or perhaps we've just lost our way.

I'll go with the default explanation: video games are, obviously, to blame.

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