I am 36 years old. That makes me about 252 in dog years. And since I have been watching horror since I was a kid, about 30 in fanboy/girl years. Normally, I am happy to meet other fans. It’s nice to feel a bit ordinary in a room full of your peers. But lately, something has happened. Over the past, oh I don’t know ten years give or take, there has been a significant swing in the mind-set of the ‘average’ fanboy and now I am almost embarrassed to know any of them!
Now before I diagnose the problem, we must begin with the symptoms. And since you have many other things to do today I will try desperately to give you the short list. Although really, this is a subject I can harp on about all damned day! I am not sure what age group you fall into, and I probably need to clarify that not all of the current generation of fanboys falls into any of these categories.
Shall we begin?
Number One: Today’s average Fanboy has STANDARDS.
I don’t mean higher standards. I actually mean “standards”… period. Do you remember a time when you were grateful to receive any kind of horror material, either paperback, comic book or the holy of holies MOVIE form? It was a treat, and whatever you got, no matter how bad it sucked, there was something about it that just said “hello little friend, I understand and accept you”. Now, fanboys are in sensory overload. There are movies on demand on satellite, direct to home movie mailing services, and then there is the internets! I am not saying all this is bad. I think the internet has made the world smaller and brought folks together who would have never known there were others like them around. But, has instant access to everything horror dulled our senses to the ‘novelty’ of the genre? Has it become less titillating to see so many choices on the shelves of the video store? I have to wonder.
Now all of this instant gratification has, in my mind, warped the fanboy. Now he/she expects better FX, a reasonable soundtrack, impeccable scripting and even (dare I say it?) STARS to appear in their fave films!! There was a time that most horror movies were chock full of unknowns, only certain names stood out and made careers of the business. To folks like Vincent Price and Boris Karloff; this was their bread and butter. Now it is chic. Don’t get me wrong, I don't think that the likes of Brad Pitt or Jessica Alba being in horror are the ruin of the genre. However, I don’t think we need to see star material to have a decent horror film.
Number Two: Fanboys are easy to DISMISS a film.
I have always thought about the world of horror as a sort of club. Not everyone can get into the door, and most folks don’t stay that long before deciding that they would rather bail out and join up with the action/adventure pussies. But those of us with staying power need to remain true to our school. I make an effort to watch as much in horror as I can. This can be hard these days with so many films coming out all the time, but a gal does what she can. I am not saying that all of it is worth watching, and I will definitely admit that most of the independent companies who churn out a new flick a week tend to be crap, except for Full Moon, who probably deserves their own post. What disturbs me is the fanboys who will ONLY watch certain films, by certain directors, writers, production companies. Who died and made you the horror movie gawd? I have been, on occasion pleasantly surprised by some films in the past. Movies that I thought probably weren’t going to be very good turned out to be sleepers and knocked my freaking socks off! But it happened because I gave the movie a chance. Don’t be a dick and look at the box and say “Oh so and so is in this” or “Geesh Michael Bay produced this” and then just put it back. Take some CHANCES!
Number Three: Fanboys tend to think “good” horror has only been around for the past 25 YEARS or so.
My heart was broken online one day when an up and coming fanboy of a young age typed these words to me: “I think The Exorcist is a boring piece of crap. And I hate B&W films because they are boring also.” What have we become when we turn our backs on our fathers and forefathers of the horror genre? What monsters are we creating that can look at a movie like ‘Last Man on Earth’ and call it DULL?! This is not a world I want to live in folks. Most of the films I really like were all made when I was either quite young or just a twinkle in my daddy’s eye. (Did I just type that?) I think most fanboys today are so inundated with data in this ‘information age’ that they dismiss anything antiquated or outdated. We have evolved the horror film into a mess of snazzy effects and plot less killings that most fanboys don’t have the patience to take in the classic material. Now I am all for the plot less killings and kewl FX, and I can understand all about the generation gap and that kids ‘these days’ are into different things; But this is HISTORY, these movies are your ROOTS.
Horror did NOT start with Freddy or Jason. Horror has been around so much longer than that. Ever read any H. P. Lovecraft? Ever watched a Herschal Gordon Lewis film? He is considered the “Godfather of Gore”. Fourtyfive years ago he made a little film called ‘2000 Maniacs’. Watch it, be amazed at how crappy it is, but be impressed that these guys were doing this stuff long before Myers was stalking his baby sister.
Number Four: Fanboys have become unreasonably SMUG.
What is wrong with today’s remakes? Perhaps I am missing the point of turning your back on some pretty decent kills and all the titties you could ever see on screen (not that I swing that way, but it keeps my husband happy) just because they have revamped an older movie? What I find even more disturbing is that some movies that are being remade aren’t even acknowledged by most modern fanboys until the remake is announced.
To me, the remake is an excellent chance to educate your friends and family about the films in question. It’s also a great way for some wonderful lesser known films to become topical and get the exposure they ultimately deserve! Take ‘My Bloody Valentine’ for example here. Before, no one even knew that movie existed. If I were to bring it up in conversation around the ‘modern’ fanboy I would get the brush-off. Ever notice that the fanboy of today will do that if he is not a master on the subject at hand? Fast-forward to now. The remake has come and gone and now it is a martyr to the ‘anti remake’ community. There is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth because those Hollywood bastards can’t leave well enough alone.
Now I am embarrassed to admit I nearly fell into this mindset at the beginning of the remake trend. Back when the remake of ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ came out I was more than a bit leery. But it was not because it was yet another movie being raped; it was MY movie being raped. I will state here and now that even though Zomblies are my fave subgenre in the great wide world of horror; my all-time fave movie is TCM. Ok, I was more than a bit leery; I was actually a little pissed. Alright, I was A LOT pissed! Then, saving grace: I discovered that they got John Larroquette to once again do the opening dialogue. I could not get to the theatre fast enough. And I was happy I did.
Now I know I just said fanboys spend too much time worrying about WHO is in the film, but this time it was about nostalgia. Larroquette did the V/O work on the original film. To me, this little bit of trivia was more like a seal of approval; it was the god’s way of telling me that this movie was gona be ok. More than likely I would have seen the movie, just so I could say I did. But having him in the opening- that was pure money for me!
Look, my beef with fanboys and their obsession with “stars” being in films is more about WHO is in it, rather than who is NOT. Get it? I have seen a lot of fanboys put a movie back on the shelf because someone they don’t LIKE is in the movie. Or some chick they think is ugly, or doesn’t have a good enough body, or some dude who they consider a douche bag. Who the fuck cares? I have watched a few films starring folks I consider pathetic and have enjoyed them a great deal. Hell, one of my fave comedies is “Beetlejuice”, even though it has that horrible little boy Winona Ryder in it.
Before this post gets just way too long I will end it with a quick diagnosis of the average modern Fanboy’s problem.
Fanboys of today are too damned SELFISH.
You should be grateful for what you have, where you came from and what direction the horror genre is taking today. You have movies, games, and music that we did not have 20 years ago. You have the world of horror at your fingertips and you continue to snivel because X star is in Y movie or Z film is getting the Hollywood treatment! Here is an idea, take it all in. Become a little more open-minded, and admit that the world does NOT revolve around you. But don’t ruin it for the rest of us by being a dick. Watch some classic films, use remakes as a tool to show folks how much better the original was, evolve your fanboy status beyond just what is coming to the theatres next week and, most importantly, grow the fuck up!