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The Kent state: Seeing horror through the eyes of a new scream queen

BABADOOK is being marketed with a keen eye.. viral is king. Slow paced and low key.. It's working quite well. Media source after source, horror sites, and general entertainment icons are all praising this film..

The way you know it's working: People talked about it before it was out. And when it came out. And... People are STILL talking about the BABADOOK, the horror movie of the year according to many.. the WASHINGTON POST interviewed the director of the film, Jennifer Kent.

A few noteworthy comments from Kent include,
“A lot of people, when I spoke to them, as a woman, and said, ‘Oh, I’m directing a horror film,’ it was like I was directing a snuff film or porno or something terrible,” she says. “The view on horror is that bad”. And “Women do love watching scary films. It’s been proven, and they’ve done all the tests. The demographics are half men, half women. And we know fear. It’s not like we can’t explore the subject.”  

The movies making the biggest impression on KENT were HALLOWEEN and THE THING. Kent also makes his superb point about horror itself:
“I feel like a lot of the people who make horror actually don’t understand its depth and its power,” she says. “Unbeknownst to themselves, they’re looking down on the genre. I also think a lot of horror is made cynically, and by that I mean that it’s made to make money.

Absolutely agree! Horror has a few elements that can be done very wrong. But when right, it can change cinema for a decade.. A few films which did so include FRANKENSTEIN, DAWN OF THE DEAD, HALLOWEEN, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, SAW, and now quite possibly BABADOOK. When horror is done in the way it should be, it gives us a morality play of our time. A pop culture judgment, and a realistic portrayal of who we are as a people at any given moment in history. . I think Kent understands how horror can do this, and how so many times it's done wrong..

To further that point, the WASHINGTON POST interview delved more into violence itself..

And on violence in horror–the gorefest and torture porn of recent years–Kent says that.
“the worst of them — the most violent and degrading and debasing versions of the form — probably are geared toward people who maybe identify with the killer, who maybe are getting off in some way.”  

Yet again, agree.. I often recount my story of how uncomfortable I was sitting in a theater years ago during HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES when people wildly cheered for each murder scene.. It disturbed me and wasn't how I thought horror should be done. The problem with the film was how well-shot and effective it was--making matters even scarier.

I would love the chance to sit down and talk to Jennifer Kent in some detail.. I think her points on horror and her thoughts on the genre are spot on.. There is a good chance that Jennifer Kent has become the new queen of scream, as some have dubbed her.

From the land down under, she took over the world of horror..




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