Elite or intelligent rebranding? The kind of horror film that divides fans

As any dedicated horror fan knows, there are many different subsections that make up one of the most popular film genres in the world. Whether it’s paranormal, slasher, zombie, gore or comedy, horror has embraced virtually every aspect of filmmaking to add a dark or terrifying twist to the handful of traditional storylines.

In recent years, the term “high horror” has come to the fore, creating a new category often referred to as “horror for non-horror fans”. But is this new classification a way to divide the horror community, or to attract new fans to create a larger audience?

What is High Horror?

Most horror genres are pretty self-explanatory. Comedy horror encompasses films such as Shaun of the Dead, zombieland and Jennifer’s body. Even relatively modest films like ghost hunters and The Addams Family fall into this category, albeit on the milder end of the spectrum.

The characteristics of the slasher category freddie and Halloween; gore has it Hotel and Seen series; psychological horror boasts the brilliant and Othersand The Blair Witch Project fits awfully well into the paranormal mould.

High horror, on the other hand, is used to refer to films that explore themes beyond gore.

Family drama, mental illness, and social commentary or injustice, when incorporated into a film in a meaningful way, are the devices that take a film from mere horror to elevated horror.

Which Movies Are Considered High Horror?

The term itself is relatively new. Applied by critics to Robert Eggers’ 2015 fear festival The witchit was used to distinguish the new generation of horror films it influenced from mainstream films with their obvious villains and scares.

The Oscar-winning film by Jordan Peele in 2017 get outand its follow-up, 2019 Weare considered prime examples of elevated horror, tackling themes beyond the purely macabre, such as systemic racism and trauma.

“Time and time again, you find that the more you hit on the truth that people haven’t seen that way, the more successful it is,” said writer-director Peele. Variety, messaging through horror.

Hereditarystarring Toni Collette, which focuses on family trauma and motherhood, as well as grief and loss, found herself the natural heir to the 1968 Oscar-winning actress Rosemary’s baby.

Midsommarstarring Florence Pugh, remains critically acclaimed for its portrayal of an emotionally abusive and manipulative relationship between protagonist Dani (Pugh) and her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor). Hereditary and Midsommar were written and directed by Ari Aster, who, along with Peele and Eggers, masters the genre.

Snobby or smart company: Why some fans don’t like the term

Having found its niche at the intersection where horror meets satire, 2022 Screamthe fifth in the series, used its famous opening scene to muddy the high horror genre.

In her phone conversation with Ghostface, when Jenna Ortega’s character, Tara Carpenter, is asked the age-old question: what’s your favorite horror movie? She answers: “The Babadook. It’s an amazing meditation on motherhood and grief.

“It’s high horror… Scary but with complex emotional and thematic underpinnings. It’s not just schlocky, cheeseball nonsense with wall-to-wall jump scares.

Dismissed as just a modern term for the genre of psychological horror that’s been around as long as cinema, the rebranding has been credited with attracting an audience that might otherwise not care about these movies in the first place. traditional sense.

In doing so, the term has become somewhat divisive in the world of horror fans.

“High, of course, refers to something that is above the rest, and that’s exactly how it’s used – to separate those who prefer a ‘more sophisticated’ film to a typical slasher or creature,” said Lor Gislason of Horrorobsessive.com. “Some filmmakers still find the horror genre almost a dirty word; it’s like they’re trying to escape it and use something else rather than embrace it.

Updated: April 24, 2022, 04:15

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