Did that title get you to click on this article? Point proven. I could have titled this plenty of things that would have captured your eye like “Why Halloween Ends Is The Worst Abomination Of Mankind Since Rob Zombie’s Halloween II” or maybe something like “Why Halloween Ends Is The Best Sequel Since Rob Zombie’s Halloween II“. So, sorry for the dirty trick.
It seems like especially with access to movies better than ever, access to people better than ever, and with everyone having an opinion on movies, the takes that are rancid or nearly godly, get amplified. Take a movie like Halloween Ends for example. Go and peruse the #HalloweenEnds or check out a random horror group on Facebook. The moment the movie comes out, it’s doom and gloom.
There are entire groups of people devoted to this, that know exactly what gets people going and how to get engagement. You see, it’s not the people and their opinions that are horrible for horror movies, it’s the mechanisms. Twitter is built around engagement. YouTube is built around engagement. Facebook is built around, some pasty white lizard-man, and engagement. It doesn’t matter if it’s people praising or pissing, you get any engagement, and it works for their algorithm. A movie simply cannot be “okay” anymore. Unless of course, the rabid monsters want to come after someone for thinking a movie is simply “okay”.
Divisive Is The Most Bullshit Word In Existence
That’s really what it comes down to. Take a look at the reaction to plenty of films released just this year or last.
Halloween Kills? “Divisive”
Texas Chainsaw Massacre? “Divisive”
Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness? “Divisive”
Prey? “Mostly excellent, but still ‘divisive'”
Terrifier 2? “Disgusting, gore-filled, but still divisive”
It’s not just limited to horror movies, but for the sake of Fright-A-Thon we’ll keep it limited to those. Everything has to be divisive. If it’s not divisive, it won’t last. It needs to be a competition. The incels need to be mad. The film Twitter people have to turn their noses. Just because a movie does something differently or makes you think, doesn’t mean it’s divisive.
It’s not only that, but now with the rise of Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score and critic score need to be pitted against one another. It’s a justification for people to enjoy the movie, when they can just enjoy the movie and not give a crap about reviews. Part of my job is to review things, it’s not my job to tell people to like or dislike something, that’s for them to decide. Reviews are subjective. The greatest of all-time, Roger Ebert, might not have liked horror movies very much, but he put it perfectly.
“In my reviews, I feel it’s good to make it clear that I’m not proposing objective truth, but subjective reactions; a review should reflect the immediate experience.”Roger Ebert
But this era of social media has amplified the need for horror movies to be this divisive experience that you either ABSOLUTELY LOVE or DESPISE COMPLETELY. A movie like Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) doesn’t help with Leatherface killing off very easy-to-see caricatures of Millenials/Gen Z’ers, but that’s part of what horror movies do. They take our current circumstances and comment on them, in some cases, better than others.
Entire personalities on the internet and social media are built around hating something so deeply. The inverse is true as well, there are personalities that are hell-bent on loving something to show the haters that they’re right. That all trickles down to something like this very website.
“You Won’t Believe What People Are Saying About Halloween Ends“
All of this coalesces into a stew of social media hyper-negativity or hyper-positivity combined with SEO-friendly titles that you’ll click on. Add in trolls that drum up hatred, and you get a tiring experience. Luckily, there’s an easy fix that not too many people seem to know about. Take your phone, laptop, computer, Facebook tab, Rotten Tomatoes page, or Twitter timeline, and close it.
If you enjoy the movie, if you think the movie is simply okay, if you didn’t like it very much, that’s perfectly okay. The golden rule might be to say “please and thank you”, but the second golden rule should be “don’t crap on someone else’s good time and don’t make someone feel bad for not liking something”.
Film critics giving reactions to something is one thing, but anyone else jumping on to make them feel bad one way or another for their take is something completely different. It makes for a “community” that is filled with toxic people who give the good ones a bad name.
It’s a sin to revisit things. A revisit either has to conclude something is much worse or that something is much better. Sometimes, you revisit things, and they’re not as bad as you remember, but still not your favorite. I did that recently with Rob Zombie‘s Halloween films. They might not be the best in the series, but they aren’t the abominations of mankind that I remember from renting Halloween II so long ago.
Somehow the internet and anonymity have taught people that art and joy are something to be fought. The hatred is tiring. Film criticism is tiring. It’s somehow a race to hate something the most. So let’s try to see through, fight the fire of hate, and get back to possibly not enjoying things, or thinking things are okay. Most importantly, let’s get back to just respecting or not caring about a “bad” opinion and moving on past toxic stupidity.
For more on Horror, make sure to check out the 61-day Halloween Content Marathon, Fright-A-Thon.