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Monday, March 23, 2020

A New Sub-Genre of Terror: Peanut Gallery Horror

We dub it just that for a reason, though, and we'll explain further. Seemingly by osmosis some of the greatest golden nuggets of the heyday that is the horror genre float up in a sea of sweltering acid for us to admire, such as this particular trailer:


Remember this film? From a bygone era.... But don't you love it when you see something, and it looks so familiar that it almost takes you back to the day when you practically listened to the radio for "The Shadow" or "The Chicken Heart"? You're then left trying to crystallize those images of a movie (or book, even) that grabbed you in a way only Freddy Krueger could.

Those Are the True Golden Nuggets of Horror: But as a Result, There's a New Kind of Sub-Genre, We've Noticed




And, to some degree, we see it in the likes of STRANGER THINGS, and maybe even IT. However, we're calling this the "Peanut Gallery horror" sub-genre for good reason: because for some reason, the main protagonists tend to be kids, who are so incredibly smart, dodging alien invasions, vampire ninjas, giant spider monsters and more -- with literally little to NO help from adults --

And you might notice that the adults honestly don't have too much to say of worthy meaning, droning on like the ones you'd see in a Charlie Brown cartoon -- AKA, the "Peanut Gallery"!

These were horror movies existing somewhere between the truly hideous in FRIDAY THE 13TH and the truly campy in MONSTER SQUAD. Stay with me on this:


Imagine a film that's fully aware of its cheekiness, but also unafraid to scare the willies out of your toddler: that's INVADERS FROM MARS. A rather creepy and eerie rendition of the more haunting INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, but kind of meant for kids. It seemed to be very much aware of the campiness, but without hitting you on the head.

Other examples of this would be the CRITTERS films, or perhaps THE GATE and GATE II, and who knows what other gems you might find, because there's a wealth of them.


And We Just Might Find Much More If We Research Into the Horror Genre


The fact is INVADERS FROM MARS was actually a REMAKE of a '50s classic. So you can see the cyclical nature of these tropes repeated and celebrated. In fact, this remake (which apparently Steven Spielberg was set to direct until Tobe Hooper took over) unabashedly framed this film to totally honor just about every piece of camp available in the original shlockness monster that was the '50s version.

While phenomenons like STRANGER THINGS, GOONIES and MONSTER SQUAD really do touch on the comedic side of things, this one -- sometimes accidentally, sometimes not, but always subtly hints at comedy -- truly aims to pass out some gamey nightmares! And for sure Charlie Brown would lose his hair over this. That is.... If he had hair.

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