Before jumbo-super-flatscreen 5000s started barging into everyone’s front room like a loud, drunk uncle at the wrong niece’s holy communion, cinema used to be able to boast things regular, poxy televisions could only dream of – big pictures and mega sound to name just two. But those days are gone and cinema can now be seen on the floors of most tech expos scrounging the mucky carpets for leftover ideas while repeating the mantra ‘3D: I believe in you’ over and over again. The poor bastard.
There are still, however, a few things that cinema can hold on to with all the cockiness of an ice cream vendor in a heatwave, and chief among these is its role in procreation. It goes like this: “So, you wanna go to the movies?” “Yeah.” “There’s a new horror on.” “Cool.” Years pass… “I love you” “Let’s get married.” The end. It’s a heartwarming tale (told with, we might add, electric dialogue) but one that also expresses the important role the date movie still has in relationships, horrors specifically. As well as the big screen and stereo sound, cinemas offer a neutral ground for young couples, a haven away from the watchful eye of the inquisitive parent or, worse still, the uneasily empty bachelor pad. The lowlights and silence cinemas offer aren’t necessarily undesirable either.
But even this is under threat. It would seem that the manufacturers of the JSF 5000 Deluxe Plus (since the first paragraph was written a new model has been released) have conspired to change the horror movie and forever affect cinema’s attractiveness for first dates by altering this great tradition. No longer are horror films full of fun, frights and wit; horrors are now made to disturb you. If you leave the cinema not knowing exactly what a severed Achilles tendon looks like or how someone might appear with an eye hanging out of their socket, then this new, ugly breed of horror would feel as though it’s failed. As if the stale, mauled pic’n’mix, the overpriced not-at-all-like-polystyrene popcorn, seats wet with bum sweat, floors that leech onto your every step and dodgy projection don’t make you feel sick enough already, we now have to look at beautiful idiots being skinned alive. To prove how horrors are no longer appealing to the unsuspecting romantics of today, let’s re-imagine our heart-warming story from before, but with a modern bent: “So, you wanna go to the movies?” “Yeah.” “There’s a new horror on.” “Cool.” 100 minutes pass… “I hate you” “Barffgghhhhoaarrghfh.” Incidentally, this not only supports the point I’m making but also endorses the idea that all remakes are inferior.
So it would seem that cinema is under serious threat of losing a string to its rapidly thinning bow and there really isn’t much we can do about it. I could argue that, say, Drag Me To Hell, the rather good Sam Raimi horror (that is so clearly a reaction to the sort of gore-porn this article was inspired by) is going to set things right, but it will no doubt prove to be the exception that proves the rule. Perhaps I’ll just observe for a bit longer and let natural selection continue to systematically destroy the dinosaur of cinema. Not that I’m too bothered: I’ve just ordered a JSF 5000 Deluxe Plus with built-in vending machine.