Horror in the 1990s: A Time For Shaky Cams, Classy Cannibals, and Meta Killers

The tiring horror genre gets a well-needed resurrection in the 1990s

Kill. Slash. Sex. We saw it all by then. With the never ending Friday the 13th and Halloween sequels running all through the 80s, the people were tired by the 90s. No one wanted to see another killer killing sexual teenagers. The rules of the slasher have also been glorified to the point that it became predictable. Every time someone had sex in the movie, the audience knew that person was going to die in the next scene. If you didn’t have sex, well, that meant you were the final girl and be right back was sure to get you killed. Another common trend for the 90s was the odd obsession of urban legends. With a movie literally called Urban Legends and another called Candyman, it started to create a new trend that quickly became tiresome. It felt like everything the 90s regurgitated failed.

That was until Scream, Silence of the Lamb, The Sixth Sense, and The Blair Witch Project came along and revived the horror franchise all over again. To find out which one is the ultimate reviver, I asked you guys to vote which one you liked more. Here are some of the tweets that I received:

At first, some questioned the 90s horror movies

Some liked The Blair Witch Project’s ad campaign

Others liked the original Scream but not so much the others

And the classy cannibal got some love

Before announcing the winner let’s look at the contestants:

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

VARIOUS

A lot of people consider The Silence of the Lambs more of a thriller than a plain out horror, but there’s definitely some horror elements. Either way, the film did a lot for the horror genre. It was the first horror to win Best Picture at the Oscars and the third movie to win the Oscar’s “Big 5.” Not only did it win those awards, but it was also hugely popular among practically everyone. It put horror back on the map in a The Shining kind of way.

Scream (1996)

1996, SCREAM

After his successful film, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Wes Craven was feeling the tired slasher genre fading as everyone did. What came next was a movie that was one step ahead of its audience. Scream’s world is that of horror fans, and that meta is what worked so well for the franchise. This was to appeal to horror fans that were tired of the modern horror tropes. The characters were aware that horror movies existed and that made for smarter characters. No more yelling at the dumb horror characters that always get killed in the most predictable way. This way of thinking is what revived the slasher genre.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

the-blair-witch-project

Known for its brilliant ad campaign, The Blair Witch Project scared audiences in 1999. The catch was that fans did not know if they were watching real events unfolding on screen or if this was just another horror movie. The Blair Witch craze later died when people knew that it was just a movie. This gave birth to all the other found-footage horror movies and all the Paranormal Activity films. Now, when horror fans think about this movie, it’s usually associated with the negative found-footage trend

The Sixth Sense (1999)

thesixthsense

Another negative association comes with M. Night Shyamalan who many consider The Sixth Sense his one hit wonder. However, The Sixth Sense is so intricately put together that it had to make this list. When you know the twist, and you revisit the movie, everything still makes sense. Too many times, people have made thrillers or horrors with twists and it doesn’t make sense when you re-watch the movie again. Too bad that M. Night Shyamalan didn’t follow up The Sixth Sense with other incredible films, because he could have been the next best director.

Who wins the award for the best resurrector?

Scream edges his opponents by a small margin to claim the win.

scream_logo_fanfic

Wes Craven will always be one of the greatest horror director. I wished he would have finished the Scream movies like he wanted too. I’m a great fan of the franchise as well as other of Craven’s movies. However, Scream will always have a place in my favorite horrors because it’s one of the movies that got me into horror. Still, it’s not hard to admire the guts that this franchise took and it paid off significantly. If Scream weren’t such a big success, I cannot imagine where horror would be now.


What is your favorite horror movie of the 1980s? And if you didn’t vote, don’t worry you can still vote in the upcoming polls. 

Vote or tweet me with the #HorrorByDecade and you could be featured in the next article and stay tuned for a special announcement in the coming weeks. 

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