My friend Nigel Floyd has coined the phrase cattle prod cinema to describe the new breed of horror movies like Insidious Chapter 2. What does he mean and why do I hate them so much?

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 61. Posted by MikeLee

    on 24 Sept 2013 21:19

    Not sure I agree with this one. I understand the argument and the view - but there were jump cuts and moments in the piece to camera that you and Nigel were doing that were trying to illicit a reaction in the same way. They didn't, so demonstrate that you need more than the cattle prod to provoke a reaction.

    There does have to be some element of context to make it work. So there is an element of skill and storytelling.....

    That said, I totally agree its not very good storytelling - and they don't seem to be good films, (haven't seen Insidious so must reserve comment).

    So my view - more that jus a poke in the ribs, but not enough more to be any good!!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 61: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 61: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 60. Posted by D_A_I_S_Y

    on 23 Sept 2013 23:12

    Hi, I just saw Insidious Chapter 2, and I knew it would be just like the other one - stupid of me, but I was hoping it might be a bit creepy this time, but it wasn't. I found that there was too much explaining and storyline and trying to make it logical, when some of the scariest things are unexplained and illogical. The same with The Conjuring - all that stuff about the mother was just daft. Scariest films I've ever seen:
    1. Audition - absolutely horrible and confusing and terrifying
    2. The Ring (original version) - I had to sleep in the living room with the light on afterwards (even though my TV was there, but it was a very small one at the time!)
    3. Inland Empire - that one is really insidious - again totally confusing, but incredibly creepy
    4. A weird film called 'Sometimes they come back' (I think that's what it's called, but I was too scared to IMDb it!) - there's this whole sequence when the main character (teenaged girl) is in a house babysitting and this guy comes to her door and asks if he can come in and use her phone, and it turns out that... (can't say because of spoilers!)
    5. The Orphanage - creepy and horrible and stayed with me for ages
    I'm sure there are others, but I can't remember them all right now.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 60: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 60: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 59. Posted by Gav

    on 23 Sept 2013 12:16

    Are these films not more akin to fair ground rides? You'd be as well as popping up you hands and going for it ... or maybe creeping through the haunted house (which I think has the exact same effect).

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 59: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 59: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 58. Posted by Jake

    on 23 Sept 2013 08:40

    I really liked The Conjuring (I know I'm going to be in the minority in that) but it wasn't just the jump scares that made that film scary for me but I can see what they mean by cattle prod cinema. Yet to see Insidious 2 but I doubt it will match the original.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 58: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 58: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 57. Posted by ToolManDan

    on 22 Sept 2013 12:48

    You're not too old for these films, it's just the culture is in a phase right now where this is what people respond to. You can still show people 'The Changeling', 'The Shining', or indeed 'The Haunting', where nothing apparently scary actually happens, and most people will still concede that is the better cinema. That said, everybody is different and particularly in this genre, what one person will respond to, another won't.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 57: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 57: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 56. Posted by ParisTexas

    on 22 Sept 2013 07:19

    Mark, Nigel - thank you for bringing the cattle prod phenomena to my attention.

    I really don't think this is to do with age as such. Perhaps this is a sad indication of what much younger teen fans expect from horror today - immediacy and little investment but it's what is bring fed to them.

    I'm 30, consider myself a horror fan, and grew up in my early teens on such films as Halloween and Amityville (the original). I don't feel drawn to see more recent horrors. In fact, the possibility of seeing The Wicker Man in a cinema is pretty damn exciting - even if it's the sing-a-long version!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 56: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 56: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 55. Posted by John

    on 21 Sept 2013 19:37

    I suppose it's similar to wacky slapstick in comedy and emotional manipulation in drama -- things that just elicit a reflexive reaction are fine (or even good additions) if they're used in moderation in a film that has something else going on, but if they're literally all it has going for it then you're naturally going to feel cheated. If you're watching a terrible comedy and find yourself laughing at someone faceplanting into a cowpat, or a schmaltzy drama that gets you sobbing by killing off the family dog, you have that same feeling of "Ugh, they got me, how could I have let them buy me so cheap?"

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 55: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 55: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 54. Posted by huntisova

    on 21 Sept 2013 17:31

    I've been watching horror films since I was about 10 (starting with the likes of Fright Night, Re-Animator, Evil Dead I & II, etc) & it has been my favourite genre throughout my life. Aside from the Hammer Horror repertoire & the stuff made prior to 1950, I think I've seen pretty much all there is to see. To give you an idea of my tastes, films in my top 10 would be: The Shining, The Exorcist, Ringu, A Tale of Two Sisters, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ju-on The Grudge, An American Werewolf in London, Who Can Kill a Child, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist).

    I've always watched horror films because I enjoy getting scared. Recently it's become more difficult to find films that leave a lasting impression, but I have to confess to finding some enjoyment in the likes of Insidious & Sinister recently. Although they are primarily 'jump scare' films, during the initial watches I have to confess to being genuinely on edge. I know all the cliches & can usually read a jump coming way in advance, but there were moments in these films that 'got me' when I really wasn't expecting it. I found this to have quite an unsettling effect; after making me jump more than once, I really was quite nervy & didn't feel 'safe' not being able to read the scares. Thus, the goal of being scared whilst watching these horror films was accomplished.

    Now, in this sense I feel these films are a one-shot deal. When the scares are diminished on a repeat viewing, there's not much else to really unsettle & linger after viewing. Still, I'm happy to have an enjoyable one-shot scare experience to keep me going through a period where exceptional horror films seem to have dried up. If anyone knows of any truly great 'non cattle-prod' horror films from recent times, please list 'em up here!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 54: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 54: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 53. Posted by Ieuan

    on 21 Sept 2013 13:01

    I very rarely watch new horror films, like you Mark I tend to go for a Cronenberg or a Carpenter or a Zulawski over the "new breed" - however I do think you are looking at this a bit through rose tinted specs. For every Halloween or the Thing there were a dozen Child's Plays or Maniac Cops - the video nasty market wasn't just nasty for the gore but for the appalling plots, acting and dialogue very often too. I think a more interesting question is not "when did this happen" - since it has always been there - but "how did this strain of horror filter in through the mainstream"? In other words, "why are the horror flicks that are taking $40m over a weekend the direct descendants of Blood Beast Terror, rather than the Exorcist? Why and how did the cheap shock horror win over sustained suspense?" I have my own theories, that more or less boil down to "these are not real horror films and the people that watch them don't like real horror." Real horror is the sense of dread from Lost Highway or Videodrome. But they don't want or like to feel dread on that level, so it is not correct I think to say they like horror. There, my two cents for what it's worth.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 53: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 53: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 52. Posted by Matt Cipolla

    on 21 Sept 2013 03:18

    I loved the first Insidious and enjoyed the second. The latter wasn't scary, but I liked it due to its mythology and intertwining nature that goes into the original. The scariest movie ever is easily The Shining due to its ambience, score, and subliminally disorienting nature (spacial awareness, intentional inconsistencies, etc.) and its insanely foreboding tone throughout. However, horror films that I can watch the most are Scream or The Cabin in the Woods due to their satire and comedy.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 52: 1
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 52: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Previous

Next