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FANTASTICA Presents: The Small Scream, or Why Horror Deserves Television

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As some people might have figure out in the last 20 years, the internet can sometimes be a really awful place for rational discussion. Thanks to knee-jerk reactions, simple-minded trolling and a wave of intolerable ignorance, message boards around the net have become defunct while social media has become a place for more intimate, depressing forms of harassment. When you throw in something like film culture, where every opinion is divine until otherwise stated, the internet can be a shark tank as subjects like reboots, sequels, film adaptations and modern cinema are as likely to rouse vehement hate as opposed to any sense of open-mindedness.

To that extent, trying to push new, more exciting fright flicks onto horror fans nowadays has become an ardent chore; while more and more fans are gravitating towards VOD, there’s still large sects of horror hounds who either pirate films or consistently ask the filmmakers on Twitter when it will be coming to Netflix. While this mentality has driven the more like-minded genre fans towards the film festival scene, it’s also driven many fright filmmakers to more fruitful territory: television.

Now, this writer doesn’t need to reiterate the popularity of horror on television; even HANNIBAL is gracing the cover of FANGORIA #343, for crying out loud. And while horror, while normally an imaginative genre in its own right, benefits from the time and budget on television that most fright films dream of having, there’s another silver lining that comes with the medium as well: audiences are much more forgiving of television than film.

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Now while that doesn’t mean there won’t always be people rushing to Twitter to condemn something (rather, anything) that doesn’t meet their standards, the proof is right in front of our eyes. Look at any talk about a horror franchise on FANGORIA’s Facebook feed and almost every thread finds a majority of people needlessly complaining about or disregarding certain films entirely. However, because of the natural construct of television and how the chapters (presumably) put together a bigger picture, there are far less criticisms of television horror and, miraculously, even more patience when it comes to poor episodes in the bigger picture.

For instance, take SCREAM: THE SERIES; this writer (among other FANGO contributors) was no fan of the ho-hum pilot, which even was frustrating by late sequel SCREAM standards. However, as the series has progressed, the show has found an odd balance between riveting horror television and grating teen soap opera. But had someone instead taken the same material, cut out some of the more unnecessary red herring subplots and released it all as a new SCREAM trilogy and one might assume fans would be far less patient and forgiving, despite it not being necessarily different whatsoever. In some ways, the tried-and-true stigma surrounding television that has mostly gone away still subtlely exists among audiences, constantly reminding us that television almost requires our patience and forgiveness as we’re already committed to the show.

But all in all, television and horror’s currently symbiotic relationship has been a boon for all involved, with actors, producers and filmmakers from across the cinematic spectrum all getting a chance to work with a certain amount of freedom (and in some cases, just work in general). Even better is the fact that these filmmakers don’t necessarily have to worry about having their work crucified on the internet, nor exist under the noses of snobby film fans who worship 30-year-old franchises and get belligerent about remakes yet never seem to support new films whatsoever. And with fandom turning into- dare I say- a more positive territory as more and more quality television hits the genre, perhaps horror and television will be permanent petrifying pairing.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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