How the Global Pandemic will Change Horror

It’s hard to believe that things like stay at home orders, social distancing, and wearing masks in public have been the new normal for nearly six months.  For many horror fans, as well as all movie fans, this was an opportunity to catch up on watching movies that had been on our lists forever.

And while the world slowly returns to normalcy (or at least the closest thing), we can’t help but notice that the world may be changed forever.  This change spans countless areas, many of which no one has even thought of yet.  However, we can say we some level of confidence that the horror genre will change as well.  And here are the five most likely ways we see that happening!

Another Wave of Post-Apocalyptic Movies
For many, it was oddly cathartic to watch movies like Outbreak, Contagion, and even 28 Days Later during the worldwide quarantine in the early days of the pandemic.  In fact, there was even study done that found that horror fans did a better job of coping with the uncertainties and anxieties brought on by COVID-19 than non-horror fans did.

During the early days of the pandemic, we all felt like Jim wandering the empty streets of London.

This was attributed to that fact that horror fans are used to watching disturbing and unsettling stories, so in a way, we’ve been running these world-ending scenarios through our heads for years.

So to appeal to this, as well as to cash in on the popularity of the subject, we will very likely see many virus-based horror movies in the next few years.  Some may be directly or indirectly based on the real life pandemic itself, but horror movies that feature viral pathogens will be very relatable for an entire generation.

More Isolation Horror
Speaking of relatable, most of us when through the common experience of being confined to our homes for several months.  For introverts and diehard movie fans (myself included), being stuck at home was actually something of a blessing.  For extroverts, or those who still had to physically report to work, it was a time of great anxiety and frustration.

Feelings of isolation and depression ran rampant, the former being a very common theme in horror already.  So it won’t be at all surprising to see a slew of horror movies set during the quarantine itself, while not directly dealing with it.  The stay at home order can serve as the perfect plot device to get a character isolated at home while dealing with some sort of supernatural threat.

Memes like this became very popular, as we all related to it.

The Rise of “Zoom Horror”
Even before the pandemic, we were already seeing films like Unfriended and its sequel Unfriend: Dark Web gaining popularity within the horror genre.  As a society we’re increasingly living on the internet and regular communication with people far away is easier than ever.  So with this has come the rise of the “Desktop Thriller” or “Zoom Horror” movie.

As the world dealt with being stuck at home, Shudder released Host, a film shot entirely on Zoom during the pandemic to massive critical acclaim and audience popularity.  With very minimal actors, effects, and everything, it managed to be legitimately creepy as it sent goosebumps down the spines of millions.

It’s a really cool, creative, and creepy thriller. Check out our full review here.

Even now as the certain parts of the world still aren’t fully “open” quite yet, this style of filmmaking remains the only one that can still be done safely without risk of spreading Covid-19.  It’s a creative and fascinating new subgenre that will only grow in popularity, even after the pandemic is long over.

Even More Remakes/Reboots
This is a side effect that’s less direct and probably less on people’s minds, but it’s starting to show already.  Just in the last few months, Warner Brothers has announced a planned reboot of The Exorcist, and Universal has let slip an upcoming remake of The Thing (which would be the 3rd version of the story, 4th one in the franchise).

For the long time, The Exorcist was considered “untouchable” in terms of remakes or reboots. Not anymore…

While remakes in horror are nothing new, the timing is a bit suspicious.  We all know that the major studios lost hundreds of millions of dollars with movie theaters being closed for months and productions having to shut down completely.  Even now that theaters are starting to re-open, there will be shortage of new content as no one has been able to film for months.

So it’s very likely that these studios will be even more reluctant to take risks and rely on remakes/reboots of known properties much more than ever before.  The simple fact is, they need to recoup some of their losses, and releasing even more unoriginal, uninspired remakes will help to do that.

Sadly, it also means having to wait until 2021 to get Halloween Kills.

New Appreciation for Indie Filmmakers
But let’s end this on a positive note.  Because everyone was home streaming for months, it exposed many of us to films that we previously wouldn’t have seen or heard of.

Even if studios rely too much on remakes/reboots, there will always be creative indie horror, much of it being released directly to streaming, which many of us had a chance to catch a lot of over the last few months.

Either way, only time can tell how this will all play out. The long term effects remain to be seen.  Which ones do you see happening already?  Let us know in the comments below!

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