August 9, 2020

Thrillers, Grindhouse, And Horror… Oh My!

HarveyScaretissue.com is proud to present our guest today, Harvey Gibson.  Harvey is a film student living in Canada. I met Harvey on the set of Fear Clinic earlier this month, and we spent quite a bit of time brainstorming on ideas.  When not in school, he works as an educational assistant and as a tooth cobbler’s delivery boy. He also moderates the official Tumblr for the Fear Clinic movie (fearclinicmovie).  You can follow Harvey on his personal Twitter (@horrorchampor on Instagram (@horrorchamp1408).

We asked Harvey why many horror fans discount grindhouse/thriller movies, and this is what he had to say:

I realized I was gay when I was 12 years old and had fallen in love with Hannibal Lecter.

Wait, what?

Don’t worry; this article isn’t about my love affair with Hannibal Lecter.  While it is a true story that probably speaks volumes about me, I just wanted to get your attention.

I’m a huge horror movie fan but Silence of the Lambs is my favorite movie and has been for a long time. It is a psychological thriller, which is a genre that I don’t think horror fans give enough credit to. I think that there can be an element of elitism in the horror fan community. If a movie is not horror “enough” or “scary” or whatever, it will get dismissed as not up to par with horror standards. I have been guilty of this attitude, sneering at B and C-rated films and refusing to watch them because they were an affront to my horror sensibilities. Somewhere along the line, my snobby opinions changed. I can’t say exactly what it was, but something did change and I began to branch out and watch films that had not met my “horror standards”.

I love thrillers and grindhouse flicks as much as I love horror now. They can be just as unsettling, gory, scary, and/or entertaining as a horror film. Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite examples. It is a great movie that showcases the brilliance of the genre. Thrillers tend to be less fantastical than horror movies can be, and I feel that they can touch on a different type of fear than horror movies do. (Obviously I’m speaking broadly because I can’t account for every single exception to the rule.) For example, the newly released Homefront is a crime thriller. While it isn’t scary in the traditional horror sense, it can be a terrifying movie for people who are afraid of real life events rather than a supernatural entity or slasher killer. It also reaches a broader audience because a lot of movie-goers are wary when it comes to delving into horror.

Grindhouse is another great genre that does not get talked about enough, in my opinion. One of my favorite grindhouse flicks is Hobo with a Shotgun, starring Rutger Hauer (See Trailer Below). It’s set in a dystopian city where the titular Hobo with a shotgun delivers “justice one shell at a time”. While not particularly scary, it is gory and extremely entertaining.

Harvey and Corey Taylor on the set of Fear Clinic
Harvey and Corey Taylor on the set of Fear Clinic

Of course not everyone will be a fan of thrillers or grindhouse, and I understand that. Yet, there is a complaint that lots of new horror films lack something that classics had. I think that the horror industry could learn a few tricks from thriller and grindhouse movies. I mean, there are always multi-genre films that can be classified as more than one, but I mean on a larger scale. If you’re looking for a new angle in horror, take some elements out of a good grindhouse and stick it in a horror movie. Watch a bunch of psychological thrillers and sneak in ways to freak out the subconscious of a horror movie audience.

On the flip side, there are elements from horror that I would love to see in thrillers and grindhouse.  No genre is perfect and I’m no expert by any means. There are going to be people who disagree with me and that’s awesome, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Finding a genre of movie that you love is great and I encourage it. I happen to love all three genres and think there are stylistic approaches that would be absolutely wicked to see crossover from genre to genre on a regular basis.

Harvey Gibson

Harvey Gibson

Harvey Gibson is a Canadian film student who curates the official Fear Clinic Tumblr page. You can follow his personal Twitter at @horrochamp or Instagram @horrorchamp1408.

View all posts by Harvey Gibson →

2 thoughts on “Thrillers, Grindhouse, And Horror… Oh My!

  1. Love the post Harvey, and thanks again for contributing. I do think a lot of people discount grindhouse films in horror unless we are talking exploitation, torture porn, or something dealing with the supernatural. Hell, even directors use the word liberally. Take for example the movie Grindhouse. Rodriguez’s part is a zombie apocolypse with Grindhouse elements (over the top, gory, comic book feel). Perfect addition. I mean, come on…machine gun leg. AWESOME. Meanwhile, Tarintino’s part was a decent movie, but didn’t seem like it should be grindhouse worthy in my eyes. It was a slow burn, and while the car scenes at the end were action packed, not over the top. Thriller’s get their place (usually) if the antagonist is “iconic”. Lecter is a perfect example, but there are hundreds more that don’t (The killer in Bruce Willis’ Color of Night is a perfect example here-She had a split personality, she killed multiple people. But, this movie is considered an erotic thriller for other reasons. Her character is memorable, but not iconic in horror terms.) Hell, give me a good movie. That’s all I care about. Screw the labels.

    1. GREAT call on The Color Of Night! Absolutely LOVE that movie (regardless of the fact that we’re shown Bruce Willis cock… ugh. Jane March is smoking hot in that flick and to your point TJ it’s got a tremendous story.

      As for Silence… couldn’t agree with you more Harvey. I’ve always had a hard time “classifying” Silence as a “horror” movie vs. a “thriller” and you’ve nailed it here. The labels really don’t matter. It’s a near perfect movie with a near perfect villian.

      Thanks for contributing!

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