Horror Movies on Netflix: “THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS” Review 6

Don’t you think that getting engrossed with a saga of horror movies is pretty much of a mixed bag of outcomes?

Isn’t that doubly disconcerting when you have already come into contact (but not seen) dozens of horror movie sagas that you would like to get into, and you find out that they have between half a dozen and two dozen or so sequels when you thought they were just three or four movies?

A modality that is very common about movie sagas is that many of those that innovate, sometimes also mud up the time sequencing of the story, with back and forth retconning and pre-quelling the stories to the writers and directors (and other movie-makers involved) hearts’ content.

Still, it’s a fact that most of the sagas move with the times and always show something that happens after the events of the previous movies. I think that the non-sequential timelines of movie franchises are the only questionable point of these kinds of stories.

A series of horror movies may be a great story arc sustained through the years, or it may be evident that the filmmakers are in it only for the money. And all kinds of variations between those two extremes. Still, these statements should be tested on a case-by-case basis.

It’s not only that the different configurations of each series of horror movies, and the general reaction of audiences to it are something subjective to the tastes of each person. Nor they are something that can be predicted with any level of real accuracy.

It’s also that when you have to judge a saga, you generally tend to compare the different installments of the series one against the other, forgetting that they are all a part of an either tightly or loose-knit grander narrative.

Horror movie lovers make their voices heard after they watch a sequel that they don’t like. Very often their whine is “they have killed the franchise with that turkey of a sequel”, or something along that line.

And this has a compound effect, with other viewers, that didn’t understand the movie or its place in the grand narrative that the movie occupies concerning the rest of the installments. A compound effect of people with a low threshold of film enjoyment is just looking for something in a movie to make it the reason for their rejection.

More often than not, the compound effect I’m talking about is caused by one among the crowd of dislikers that does some serious actual thinking for ten or twenty minutes to find a defect.

Soon after that barely-thought-out critique is published, all the second-rate whiners jump on the bandwagon and parrot what the other said; when asked what is it about that particular installment in that determined movie saga that they don’t like. A very pathetic situation, that I saw repeating itself, over and over.

Horror Movies Series Deserve Better

Best Horror Movies on Tubi “HELLRAISER: JUDGEMENT” (2018) 1
“Hellraiser: Judgement” (CC BY)

I propound to go easier on the judging of horror movie franchises. Don’t forget that horror is more related to the fantasy genre than to the reality one.

What we must bring to the table is to be forgiving and not going into any of the sequels of any of the sequel-heavy horror sagas with high expectations. First, a horror movie is not “Citizen Kane”, and second, why do some prima donnas of the audience always have unrealistic expectations for movies? Don’t expect to learn enlightenment and the meaning of life from a movie because 99.9% of the times, it ain’t going to happen.

Just watching horror movies that are part of a saga with the awareness that they will benefit from being judged in the context of the complete franchise; considering the episodes that came before and after it.

And if you want to compare a movie of this kind, as a last resort, compare the whole series to similar whole series. Not that doing that has any sense, but at least you should pick a franchise with a similar genre, and a similar quantity of installments.

I think this humble approach is better than pitting a movie against the other ones in the franchise. I believe that for the grand narrative of a horror saga it’s not that bad that the pace, tone, and other elements of the story change from installment to installment.

There will always be fans that are going to be disappointed, and the truth that one gets to learn very early about mass markets like motion pictures are is that you can’t please everyone, all the time.

You can please the ones that want instant gratification and a regular American horror cinema experience some time. But you also must, some other time, give food for thought to others that, notwithstanding that they love the traditional narrative structure of Hollywood, are ready to understand and capable of appreciating a continuity with highs and lows that invites to see the group of movies as an integrated product with a grander meaning.

You can analyze a cookie-cutter movie individually, and say, “the writer followed this or that syntagma, and here are all the stages of the story gracefully (or ham-handedly) deployed where they should be”. The script of such a movie is known as a screenplay that was written by the numbers, and more movies are written by the numbers that you would imagine.

Still, it takes a different kind of analytical power to pick a very long horror saga (think, for instance, the Amityville franchise of horror movies) and see the grand narrative behind it, if any.

A Grander Narrative Needs a Bigger Content

horror movie series

When you approach a franchise of horror movies with a more sophisticated system of meaning-finding, like trying to find out if what happens in each installment of a saga fits into a larger pattern, with different dynamics and ultimately a supplemental meaning to the message of each standalone movie in the franchise.

It’s difficult to find articles that approach a horror movie series integrally, and there isn’t a content format to review complete sagas instead of individual movies. If you try to review a saga of horror movies using a classic movie review format, you don’t have virtually anything at your disposal in the standard movie review format to make the review useful.

The only thing that I think is useful to review a series of horror movies that is a carry-over from the standard movie review format is the section of the review dedicated to analyzing the intertextuality of the franchise.

Because of this void, a new review format, to review horror movie sagas as a whole, must be invented.

Rules for Horror Movie Series Articles

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Follow this Template Prototype
to Review Horror Movie Series

A. Open with a paragraph disclosing what horror movie saga you’re reviewing.

B. Does the plot evolve and change, or it’s always the same with a different setting, and possibly, characters? Does the premise of the first movie apply to all the ones that came after? Does the premise of the movies changes from episode to episode?

C. What about the cast? Are the main characters the same ones through the saga, are they played by the same actors?

D. Do the elements of the mise-en-scene and mise-en-shot (cinematography, editing, effects, entertainment value, music, sound) of the saga evolve or involve each new installment?

E. Does the story have the same social relevance that it had when the first movie of the saga was released?

F. Which installments of the series were more and less popular with you? Why?

G. Do subsequent episodes improve on the theme and moral of the story?

H. Which installments of the series would you recommend? Which ones would you recommend against?

I. Is the grander narrative generated by analyzing the whole series as a whole realistic, or it’s just a milking of the cash cow to make dollars?

J. What about the inter-textual quality of the series as a whole? How each episode relates itself to the others, how the narrative arcs interlock, and how each movie references the others in the series? I think this section, and the next one, of the reviews, are the two with the most potential to make a review of a whole series of horror movies something interesting and useful.

K. What is the integrated compositional effect of the saga? Do the cause-and-effect storylines span through two or more movies in the franchise?

L. How did each film in the series fare at the box office? How was each film in the series received by critics? How did audiences respond to each release?

M. Aim at an article that is from 2000 to 2500 words when finished.

You don’t need a lot of preparation to submit your first piece of horror movie series material. A few additional hints:

Before submitting, please read at least more than one movie saga essay on this sub-section of the website.

In the body of the article, link to off-site resources, your website, your social media profiles, or other pages at your discretion

Write a copyright note at the bottom line of the content to make it clear that each one of the rights of the material stays with you

After you publish your article, wait several days and return to see your validated contribution published.

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