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Campy Horror Is Making A Comeback Just In Time For Halloween

Rocky Horror Picture Show
20th Century Fox

The recent release of out-of-the-box movies like “Malignant” and upcoming horror-comedy “Night Teeth” proves there’s a pattern forming in the horror genre. Perhaps studios are realizing that it’s time to spice things up! And I am totally here for it.

“Camp” is playing off the outlandish nature of horror movie plots. In the horror genre, it embraces the corniness and ugliness of classic horror movies, speaking to the inaccessibility of filmmaking by a lower class. Campy horror movies are often deemed laughable by quality standards. Yet, in this sub-genre is a careful curation of niche beauty that is not publicly accepted as art.

The cult-following of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a prime example of how we shy away from the taboo. It makes us ask ourselves: why do we turn away from the grotesquely tacky and embarrassingly scary? Does this not evoke the true meaning of horror?

We may be too conditioned to be afraid of jump scares and nuances of psychological thrillers to truly appreciate camp. Nonsensical horror is horror nonetheless. Though it plays up the trends in society, it does remind us that the reality of human nature can be scarier than anything supernatural.

The upcoming release of “Night Teeth” on Netflix adds another comedy-horror into the mix. It’s a sleek, LA-set horror focused on a chauffeur who gets stuck driving two party-girl bloodsuckers. The trailer promises a wicked night ride but also incorporates elements of camp to add levity to the typical vampire flick. And I might be turning to this movie rather than “The Lost Boys” remake. The risk of branching out may be more satisfying than what’s expected.

In the same way James Wan took a risk with “Malignant,” giving us a crazy gorefest with a mystery, camp showcases whacky storylines that somehow come together to make sense at the climax. The true movie magic.

The risks usually pay off, even when the director is seemingly losing his mind, letting all hell break loose. There’s still a sense of art and the action sequences in “Malignant,” especially, are pretty killer.

It might not be everyone’s favorite sub-genre, and if you’re more into the creepy creatures, I completely understand. But camp in horror shouldn’t be overlooked or dismissed, because it really does show how we’ve been conditioned to viewing thrillers and horror through a particular lens. And why miss out on all the goofball-insanity Camp has to offer?

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