‘The Strangers’ scores at the box office. Huzzah!

I don’t even know what “Huzzah” means, but it seemed like an appropriate way to show excitement.

And I’m excited ‘cuz The Strangers, which I loved, pulled in $20 million at the box office this weekend.  Obviously, there was no way for it to compete against the Sex and the City movie or Indiana Jones (which actually fell over 50% from last week) but for a fairly low budget horror flick to come in #3 at the box office and still rake in this kind of dough in the middle of the summer movie season is a pretty big deal.

And it’s even sweeter because it’s an R-rated horror flick and it’s an original horror flick and it’s a good horror flick.  After the last couple of crappy PG-13 remakes have performed poorly, maybe people have finally gotten tired of the same ol’ same ol’ and they’re as excited as I am to have real horror back in theaters.  Or maybe it’s just that the marketing for the film made it look really damn good (which, I may have mentioned, it is).

Hopefully, this means we’ll get more good, original horror in theaters now.  As long as Repo! The Genetic Opera gets a big enough release for me to see it here in Greenville, SC, I’ll be happy.

‘The Strangers’ gets it right by goin’ old school.

The Strangers (2008)

These days, there seems to be two types of horror films in mainstream America. You’ve got the so-called “torture porn” films like Hostel and Saw. Or you’ve got remakes — either or foreign films like One Missed Call or Shutter*, or of classic horror films, like Prom Night (not that the original Prom Night could really be considered a classic, but you get my point, right?). They’re not always bad movies — though usually they are — but it’s really very seldom that one comes along that’s actually, um, scary. And they’re horror movies, right? Shouldn’t “scary” sort of be the whole endgame?

So when a movie like The Strangers comes along, it’s like a breath of creepy fresh air. I’m not going to say that The Strangers is the second coming of the American horror film or anything, but when a horror movie does so many things right, you can’t help but be giddy about its success (not financially, since the numbers have yet to come out; plus it’s competing against that other horror movie this weekend).

What makes The Strangers work so well is that it takes a decisive 70s approach to horror filmmaking. In particular, I’m thinking of the pre-Jason slashers like, of course, the king Michael Myers himself. A lot of the decisions that are made by the filmmakers in The Strangers seem to stem from a love of John Carpenter’s classic.

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