Elevator-Pitch Horror Is Here to Stay

It’s sneaked an old breed of horror for some time. One film here, another there. But now, in 2022, it’s time to give it a name: elevator pitch horror.

These films are exactly what they sound like: you can sum up their vanity in one breath. Creepy Airbnb house? Test (barbarian). A contagious and dishonest smile that will kill you in seven days? OK (to smile)! Maybe it’s haunted Zoom calls (host) or a beach that makes you old (Old). Or a series of gruesome murders on a porn set (x). And for the next year, a comedy twist on the genre: a bear on cocaine (cocaine bear)! Not all of these came out this year, but this definitely feels like the pinnacle of the concept.

These are not new types of films. You already have a favourite. perhaps Ringu, where watching an avant-garde videotape makes a ghost crawl out of the TV (again in seven days). or ultimate goal, where some hot, young people piss off Death himself. or I know what you did last summer, where some hot young guys get away with a hit-and-run, but anyone knows what they did last summer. or Candydman, where people say the title five times in the mirror to summon his killer (or at least do a great courtship job with their friends). These films spread first through the culture premise. They feel like they were created like those game shows—Just tattoo by us, ex on the beach– whereby the title must certainly have come before the details. Elevator pitch horror revels in its hook that sells to entertain you and lure you back to theaters.

If that just sounds like formulaic horror, it is – to a degree. But elevator pitch horror is a definition that grows out of its opposition to elevated horror. The rise of this genre requires it to be defined. A key difference is how audiences are encouraged to talk about these two types of films. Heightened horror films are seen as metaphors or cautionary tales that address societal issues through the lens of Gore, and as Wesley Morris recently argued The New York Times in modern blockbusters they are discursive. While it’s okay to only discuss the plot of an elevator pitch horror film, upscale horror films demand a bit more. There has to be a discussion on the topic, or at least something bordering on the topic.

The Babadookso it’s not about a big man in a top hat popping out of your kid’s storybook, it’s about family dynamics, the pressures of having kids. Hereditary It’s not about a pensioner cult cheating on death and getting naked, it’s about family dynamics, the pressure of having kids. The witch It’s not about a billy goat acquiring souls for devil’s butter, but about family dynamics, the pressure of having kids. Nothing really came in at night It comes in the night And that’s the point. Discussing elevated horror films is literally missing the wood for the trees, being overly commercial; After all, an elevator pitch is a capitalist formula that reduces art to its profitable premise.

Clever criticism of elevated horror has been around for some time. As critic Nia Edwards-Behi points out, the concept derives from a cultural snobbery, a distrust of genres. Much of this has to do with a common critical error, well beyond the film, of assuming that pulpier works lack thematic depth. Nobody watching candy mana parable about racism and gentrification, could argue that it is unsubstantiated. barbarian, which is hard to summarize without spoilers, presents itself as a slasher of sorts at first, but then goes somewhere else entirely. Serious issues arise from dubious worlds.

As with most cultural classifications, look too closely and the distinctions become vague. Ari Aster could probably serve midsummer in an elevator; It follows could fall into either camp. However, there is a useful distinction to be made here. These films are consistent with how most viewers react to horror: they literally react to it, without pretense. They conjure up their own pitches (my boyfriend still hopes to someday write his film Bad Weed Turns London’s Stoners Into Zombies); they debate whether they would stay in an Airbnb with a strange man. Because one of the most treasured joys of horror movies is that very literalness: the impossible or possible scenarios that could befall anyone in a frightening world.

https://www.wired.com/story/2022-return-of-schlock-horror/ Elevator-Pitch Horror Is Here to Stay

Zack Zwiezen

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