A post-Halloween tradition is to bust out the Minutemen as a palate cleansing device.
I like Minutemen a lot. ‘The Punch Line’ got me hooked. Eighteen songs, fifteen minutes; they’re both complex and simple, dealing with deep context, diverging abstracts and yet, still very accessible. The music isn’t obtuse. It’s not the 1-2-3-4 punk rock or hardcore that came about their day. It’s been well documented how awesome the Minutemen were by people who, unlike me, were there to see them and experience them when they were fresh.
I think the last decade was one of decadence. A lot of self-indulgence and precocious bits of art have reflected a cultural shift away from the societal and physical restrictions. Rudimentary forms of communication, like ‘zines, radio and mail-order have been replaced with blogs, podcasts and Twitter feeds. While before, there weren’t that many sources for information, the rarity placed greater importance on them. Maybe it made them more trustworthy, or there just wasn’t enough counter evidence to dispel them. Whatever.)
With the internet allowing everyone to know what everyone else is doing, a lot of those of past scenes bemoaned the homogeneous mush of culture that has produced LCD Soundsystem, Twitter and Zooey Deschanel. Because we CAN have it all, we have decided to have it all. Want ten people in your band? Go ahead. Want to have two different genres in your movie? Why not?
I think we’re set for a rejection of “indulgence,” of “excess.” Musically, I welcome the return to the forefront of the 3 or 4-piece, bare bones rock group that looks at all these cumbersome groups producing over-the-top sound as obnoxious. Less Arcade Fire, more G.G. Allin (sans excrement and misogyny.)
Horror, I think, hasn’t been as affected by the increase in connection/communication, save that old tropes have been demolished. The fear that “the phone has gone dead” is now eliminated, meaning that cell phones either have to have the hokey plot-point of “not getting any reception” or, the more realistically, running out of power. Increased communication means that the fundamental ‘fear of the unknown’ is easily dispelled.
I think there will be ways for modern horror to work around this, if they aren’t already.
There hasn’t been a wide-spread, mainstream film that has made people afraid of Social Networking (except, well, The Social Network but that piece of fiction made Mark Zuckerberg look like a autistic-dickhead. Whether that’s an accurate portrayal remains debated.) Having someone(s) using your Facebook account to track you and ultimately, kill you will inspire parents to be afraid, even more so than they should be.
But what about a monster, creature or killer that can’t be explained by a Wikipedia page? Or a group of people using the internet for some nefarious means? John Carpenter’s At The Mouth Of Madness, a great film, uses the idea of communication spreading madness. This is also done in Tobe Hooper’s novel, Midnight Movie as well as The Ring. What about a viral video that caused more than a few laughs?
As for excessive, indulgent behavior, a corner of Horror’s foundation is built on gratuitousness. Blood, breast and beast, like The Vooduo say. However, some restraint might return the genre back to its effectiveness. The first Saw movie had some weight to it, before the excessive sequels neutered the franchise. Dealing with simple antagonist v. protagonist (with decent explanation, outside of some bullshit writing like that in High Tension) will probably give fear a bit of a boost. The continual success of the Paranormal Activity movies show that people STILL like to be scared, even if the movies are, in my opinion, trite. If there can be a horror movie like a Minutemen song, simple in presentation but deep, layered and not totally obtuse/abstract, it’ll be great.
Horror exists in the realm slightly above pornography and slightly below art, meaning that often, if it maintains a low-enough overhead, it can do whatever it want. If there are films out there that have used these ideas, and there HAS to be because I know I’m not the only one to think of these, let me know.