COOL YOUR FUCKING JETS: THE PROBLEM WITH ‘HALLOWEEN’ BACKLASH, FAN ENTITLEMENT AND HORROR CLICKBAIT

 

If you’ve been living under a rock, or been blind on social media for a good long while, then it’s probably news to you that Blumhouse is making a new HALLOWEEN film set release in 2018, directed by David Gordon Green with a script co-written by Green and actor-writer-multihyphenate Danny McBride. Even better, hey, we’re getting a new score by John Carpenter! This should be exciting news for longtime horror fans who have loved the franchise centered around the Haddonfield butcher, who have loved the franchise despite its rocketing up and down in quality over the years.

 

Except those starry-eyed kids who grew up perusing the video store aisles have become jaded, armchair cinephiles who bitch and moan when any filmmaker or writer doesn’t create a film that caters to their narrative. It’s the equivalent of people hurling obscenities at their television on Super Bowl Sunday because the players aren’t doing what they demand of them.  It’s not Jack Anybody’s film, and it’s not their place to demand the filmmakers change the way their art unspools. It’s this gap where fandom starts to slide into entitlement, where people with social media accounts think they’re best friends or boyfriend and girlfriends with their favorite celebrities because they’re both on Twitter, or people who see the imepdning Dsney/20 Century Fox merger and think “jeepers, my slashfiction is coming true!” Similar complaints will waft up from the stinky undercurrent: “They’re not telling the story right! It’s not canon!” “They didn’t cast the actress who originally starred in the first series of flims in the franchise!” And on and on and on it goes, until it’s dull noise.

 

Fact is, it’s Green and McBride’s work. They can do whatever they may with the film as they’ve been given the keys to the HALLOWEEN name. They’re tell their story and the audience and critics recieve it how they will.  Even with all the right choices McBride and Green make, whether it be getting Carpenter approval on the story or having him compose the score, or promising more atmosphere along the lines of the original film or bringing Jamie Lee Curtis back to course correct a story its creator admits went off the rails due to a six-pack and a rapidly stagnating storyline. None of it matters to the audience who wants more, demands more, consumes unendlessly and then turns it’s back on the creative energy they’ve seen because it didn’t turn out right.

 

The way I see HALLOWEEN being covered by websites, horror or otherwise, shines a light an ever-growing problematic issue: the incessant need for clickbait journalism. It’s essentially monetized warfare with the consumer on the losing side of the battle. Write an attention grabbing headline, pull the pin and write five paragraphs that summed up bascially amount to, “we don’t know, but here’s what this could mean.” Take for instance the recent news that HALLOWEEN would be undergoing reshoots. Writers flocked like seagulls to their computers to create endless paragraphs about these mythic reshoots. “Does this mean the production is in trouble?” Does this mean that the release date is going to be pushed?” No and no, it usually never means that. What it means is that it’s a film production that’s moving with the ebbs and flows of literally every production in the history of cinema. It’s just more publicized to the audiences in a way it never used to be publicized. Subsequently, the argument isn’t always on the reader. Far too often, the writer is guilty of “after-the-fact criticism,” whereupon we tell the audience that that film they liked once upon a time — well, maybe it isn’t as good as you once thought it was. That’s emotional warfare. And it happens far too goddamn often.

 

Look, I get that clickbait exists for a reason. It keeps the lights on simply enough. But the problem is the laziness of the articles. If websites must rely on  the creative crutch of clickbait then they must create a four course meal article, not simply something that gets someone to glance at it for two seconds and move on to something of more substance. The worst offender is an article about Easter eggs in a mainstream horror movie, namely IT. And this isn’t on a spam site. This is on one of the most popular horror sites today. Because ninety percent of clickbait I see nowadays is usually hate-clickbait, weaponized articles that solely exist to stir up the masses leading to unheraled commentariat anger about something they just plain don’t know about. But as I mentioned long ago, if people have fingers and a keyboard, they’re going to express their displeasure and soon the displeasure becomes a yawning void that begins to consume itself dramatically and flagrantly.

 

If the new HALLOWEEN isn’t your cup of tea, then that’s fine. It’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But don’t add to the staticky discourse of negative voices overwhelming the internet and social media and comment boards with their stupendously bad hot takes. Cause your voice isn’t authentic anymore, it’s just another voice in the crowd, albeit one that’s allowed to have its own stunningly bad opinion.

 

Let’s use social media for some good, please? For one, we could rank the HALLOWEEN films. That seems like a perfectly pointed way to waste our time until the void consumes us.

 

 

 

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is a Dallas-based writer of both films and of Internet goings-on. He's also in a movie on Netflix, but won't tell you the title, for fear of transmitting a RINGU-type curse into your home. He can be found on Twitter as @madmanmarz81.
Nathan Smith

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