It may come as a surprise, perhaps even a shock that there are folks walking around who actually love Halloween 5. I’ve encountered more than one individual who were of the opinion that Jason Takes Manhattan were their favorite Friday the 13th. And it goes both ways. We live in a world where some feel that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is not a good piece of cinema and even pockets of people who believe Rob Zombie’s Halloweens are superior to John Carpenter’s.
A single paragraph in, I’m sure there are some of you shaking your head and maybe even a few who are fuming, but that’s what I wanted to talk about.
When it comes to the entertainment industry, particularly film and television, horror remains a genre that is by and large looked down upon. Sure it’s been mainstreamed thanks in no small measure by “The Walking Dead” and even “American Horror Story,” but for the most part, horror is still perceived as second-rate. There is a belief among those who do not appreciate horror that it lacks artistry and that those involved are bereft of the talent necessary to cut it in drama or comedy.
Of course, we know better, don’t we? Though we are legion, you won’t find the same kind of viewership for “Ash vs Evil Dead” as you would for “The Big Bang Theory.” In the grand scheme of things, we are a small school of fish in a very large pond.
All the more reason to stick together.
And yet, we don’t. And I can’t help but wonder why?
We are all nauseated by the division of the current presidential campaign. The mudslinging and finger-pointing and name-calling has virtually everyone on the verge of slamming down the mute button if they haven’t already. There is no discourse, no exchange of ideas followed by intellectual conversation or debate. It’s just a constant churning of “I’m right, you’re wrong” while neither side actually hears or processes a word the other has to say.
Have you noticed the same scenario among horror fans on social media? Not everyone partakes in online arguments, but odds are good that everyone has at least seen it. This isn’t intended to be an indictment on anyone, just an opportunity to stop and think for a moment.
Differing opinions pit people against one another. It has been that way since the beginning of time, and will never change. However, rather than asking why someone likes or dislikes something, it becomes a pissing match. “How can you possibly?” followed by a snide remark or out and out insult, which opens the floodgates to bickering banter.
Being opinionated is a good thing. It means you have a take. However, that does not mean that you are completely right or completely wrong. Rather than disregarding someone based on their perspectives, perhaps ask them a question. Instead of saying that “Anyone who hates Halloween III is in idiot,” inquire as to what they don’t like about it. Believe it or not, some may just not care for it and it could have absolutely nothing to do with the absence of Michael Myers. There’s a least a glimmer of possibility that what they have to say in response makes sense, or that you offer a point they hadn’t thought about and one or the other of you, or maybe even both, reconsider their stance. If nothing else, both parties have a better understanding of why the other feels as they do.
Horror is supposed to be fun. And small group that we are, we should be in it together. Enjoy those like-minded individuals, sure, but also respect those who loved It Follows or The Evil Dead remake or 31, even if you didn’t.
It doesn’t take long for a thread on Facebook or Twitter to morph into hate-filled spewing, so why engage in it? Offer your thoughts, but leave out judgment of what someone else has said. You can state your case without openly challenging other people. Should someone cross that line, however, just let it go. Ignore it, move on and shut them down before it grows into something bigger. We all know there are trolls out there who are Ledger’s Joker, they just want to watch the world burn.
The genre offers so much to enjoy. Just this year alone we’ve had The Witch, Don’t Breathe, The Conjuring 2, Lights Out, six new episodes of “The X -Files,” the return of “Ash vs Evil Dead,” the emergence of “Stranger Things” and the announcement that Carpenter would be teaming up with Blumhouse to bring the Halloween franchise back to its original roots.
To say nothing of the resurrection of “Twin Peaks” or It just around the corner or the old school glory of the Universal monsters and eighties slasher flicks and the list goes on and on.
You may not enjoy all of it, but then again, you don’t have to. Everyone has an opinion, and those opinions are okay. You can have a take, but it doesn’t mean others should be berated for theirs. Criticism is a good thing. What’s better than constructive criticism? It is not just a statement of distaste, but rather one that offers specific reasons as to why, and gives others the opportunity to consider what you’ve said and respond in kind. Perhaps you can come to an agreement, even if it’s simply to disagree, but ideas were exchanged, points made and it would be a far more positive experience than simply hurling insults from behind a keyboard or smart phone.
Hell, I’m as guilty as anyone. I have to catch myself from over-extending how I feel personally about a film or director or actor because my perception does not mean I’m correct and others not. I think Silver Bullet is better than An American Werewolf in London. Many would disagree, but we should revel in those differing opinions and engage in conversation rather that going after one another’s throats.
We are a small school of fish in a very large pond, but when Jaws wades its way into our neck of the woods, we’d do well to remember that we are all that we have. Each other. Let’s be good to one another.