Advanced Scary Movie Graphics: Terrifically Good or Horrifically Bad?

Some people like the classics when it comes to movies, others like the new innovative ones. Now that we are in the age of new technology, we can easily be awed by advanced technological techniques and complex graphics. One genre that has benefitted the most from this animation has been horror. Inducing fear in the audience starts with making them feel as though they are experiencing the terror with the actors. What better way to involve the viewer by making every aspect of this experience as real as possible? These new advancements have perfected the way in which we experience horror movies.

history of horror movies films


Some old horror classics lack the visual stimulations that current movies have. Despite this lack of perfected realism, these older movies are still highly talked about. For horror fanatics like me, these movies seem elementary; for example the original shower-scene in Psycho, 1960, does not even show the goriest parts of what makes the murder truly horrific. Other viewers are more attuned to the suspense and imagination of how the scene is being played out and enjoy the lack of gore. Although these movies have done a lot for the foundation of horror, some may be overrated and pale in comparison to the terrifyingly real experience current scary movies have the ability to take you through.

Psycho Shower Scene:

One subset of recent scary movies that has really benefitted from technology is the paranormal movies. The animation that goes into making people appear with and transform into demons, ghosts, and other creatures is truly incredible. Not only has the technology appealed to visual stimulation, but it also contributes to sound effects and surround sound that involves you even more directly into the scene. Unfortunately, it seems as though these efforts have gone unnoticed. One movie that did not receive as much credit that I thought it deserved was Oculus, 2014. The author not only had a complex, suspenseful plot, but also supplemented it with the use of realistic graphics. Unfortunately, now that this advanced media has become an integral part in today’s society and has made horror films easy to make, some of these movies are not getting too much attention.

Oculus Trailer:

There are some drawbacks to these new technologies. Some movies rely too heavily on their special effects and disregard the importance of a solid overall plot. In older movies, in order to be successful, the producers had to come up with a thrilling storyline to capture the audience’s attention, but now all they have to do is put a scary image with sound effects to keep the crowd watching. Current movies also leave less to the imagination, which would also disappoint those who prefer to extrapolate on what they are given in their movie. Some moviemakers have taken advantage of and relied on these effects to attract viewers, but when the technology supplements the plot seamlessly, the results could be amazingly scary, terrifying and horrific.

Movie remakes are a good example of how technology increases suspense and intensity in a production. This way there is no bias based on the opinion about the storyline when comparing older and newer movies. Some of the most successful remakes I believed have been The Amityville Horror from 1979 and remade in 2005 and Poltergeist from 1982 and remade in 2015. The effects do not take away from the plot, but convey what I believe to be the author’s main message and goal more efficiently. I feel like these examples further the idea that technology has helped and will continue to help implement the effectiveness of media. I cannot wait to experience what the next advancements will do to the future of scary movies.

The Amityville Horror Trailer (1979):

The Amityville Horror Trailer (2005):

Poltergeist Trailer (1982):

Poltergeist Trailer (2015):

Come on, even the 2015 trailer thumbnail is scarier than the 1982 one!

6 thoughts on “Advanced Scary Movie Graphics: Terrifically Good or Horrifically Bad?

  1. You make a really good point about the impact special effects are having on horror movies today, especially in terms of increasing their scare factor. One thing you didn’t mention related to this topic is the changing landscape of film as a whole. The shower scene in Psycho might seem fairly rudimentary now, but in 1960 the scene was considered revolutionary for its time. People didn’t see stuff like that on the big screen, and its shocking effect was what made waves across America. Over time, movies as a whole have gotten bigger, more expensive, more revealing, etc., and I believe that special effects in horror movies are a consistent part of that shift. In my opinion, the overuse of such effects can often take away from the cinematic qualities of a movie, which is why I often prefer dramas instead of over the top action movies. However, for a lot of Americans, special effects increase the wow factor and enjoyment of a movie, which is why I think we’ll continue to see the use and quality of them increase over time.

    • You make a good point explaining how movies as a whole have gotten more intricate in regards to special effects. I agree, there are many out there who can appreciate the movie at its core without the distractions these graphics may cause. For me, I believe special effects add to the essence of a movie in most cases.

      Also nice use of the word ‘rudimentary.’

  2. I love scary movies!! I completely agree that this new age of technology has benefited the horror film industry. Scary movies are so much scarier now that the effects are believable. I also agree that some of the newer scary movies have taken full advantage of this new technology and have forgotten about the plot… something necessary for a good film in general. So I think it’s a trade off between good effects and a good plot. This poses the question- Which is more important, good effects or a good plot? Perhaps a combination of both?

  3. The proof is in the pudding:

    Seriously though, I think you are definitely right that enhanced graphics can certainly lend to heightened storytelling and effect. I would have loved to see you more fully explain what it is you like about the new adaptations especially. And no matter who much flash bang there is, subtlety still has a place. Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was good, but I’m not sure I’ve read a scarier short story than Du Maurier’s “The Birds,” upon which the movie is based… and it thrives on subtlety…

  4. I think you provide really good arguments about how advanced technology and effects has changed the scary movie industry. However, I think something good to include in your article would have been something about how not all recent scary movies have taken advantage of the effects, and instead choose to go a more throwback route in their production. For example, one of the more successful scary movies of the past decade was “Paranormal Activity,” which used very few special effects if I remember correctly. One question I have would be if you think this advancement in technology is worth the price that would be have to paid to produce a movie high in effects, rather than a much less expensive movie with less effects. This is a question that producers in the future will have to answer.

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