boogeyman

Where Did All The Boogeymen Go? A Look at Movie Monsters Then and Now

It’s that magical time of year, dear ghouls and ghoulettes! A time for haunted houses, horror movies, and mass murder.

Well, um, at least movies about mass murder… 

Halloween is just around the corner and every year, as I binge horror movies old and new, I find myself craving more from today’s horror films.

With movies like The Nun and Hereditary (both good movies, by the way) that deal with demons and possession frequently popping up in box offices and streaming services around the globe, I’m left wondering: Where have all the boogeymen gone?

Remembering the Greats

Every horror fan knows and loves the greats like Leatherface and Freddy and Jason. These guys, movie after movie, kept us scared and we wanted needed more.

Do you remember when you would go to bed at night and hoped Freddy didn’t visit you in your dreams? Or when you took a summer vacation to the lake and hoped Jason didn’t snatch you down to a watery grave?

What is there to be afraid of now?  Inverted crosses?  Found footage? Demon possession? Well, I guess demon possession would be scary, but you know what I mean.

Found footage of a demon in a forest or just a weird stock photo?! You decide! | Image by sukhisj from Pixabay

Looking back at the last decade of horror we’ve seen jump scare after jump scare and the possession of my mom, your mom, and everyone else’s mom. 

Though scary, demon possessions don’t transfer over into everyday life. At least not the same way someone like Michael Myers does. I mean for Christ’s sake the boy just started killing people! He could literally be your good-for-nothing neighbor’s mean little kid.

I’m in no way of saying that possession isn’t real, for those who believe in that sort of thing; I’m simply saying that many of the older horror icons could’ve easily been our friends or classmates growing up.

Freddy, on the other hand, was absolutely positively terrifying for other reasons.

I mean, think about it: When do you usually watch horror movies? Night. What do most people do at night? Sleep. Can you control your dreams? No. So why is Freddy terrifying? He only appears in dreams, people! 

No, you can’t actually be killed by a scary burnt man in your dreams, but dreams can be so bad you don’t want to ever sleep. I know. I’ve been there.

They’re Out There: The Modern Boogeymen

If you’ve made it this far and you think I have a point or are at least interested in what I’m trying to get across, hear this:

I am in no way shape or form saying that any of these demonic, possession-based, jump scare-ridden movies are bad movies (at least not all of them). I’m simply saying that we’re seeing fewer and fewer boogeymen on the big screen — and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like horror movies are scarier when they present a real life situation that shows how sick our world can be or makes us feel uncomfortable in an otherwise comforting (or exciting) situation. 

The boogeymen from the 2000’s exist and are out there. They’re simply drowned out by movies made to scare the masses with religion and the occult.

I mean if I have to see another inverted cross, I swear to Christ I’m going to…! Alright. Sorry about that. It’s just so overused.

Anyway. Moving on… 

These boogeymen have been reserved for real horror fans. The ones who know that the next best horror movie won’t be in a theatre (or will only be there as a special viewing for a limited time, then straight to Blu-ray it goes).

Movies like Terrifier and House of 1000 Corpses or even The Strangers gave us boogeymen who gave us a reason to be scared. A reason to not travel alone at night (or at night at all!).  A reason to lock our doors, grab a weapon, and — please, whatever you do! — don’t open the damn door.

Real-life physical people are scarier than any ghost, demon, or entity any day of the week.  How many times have you seen a headline that read “Ghost Boy Kills Again”? Or turned on the news and heard, “This just in, demon goes on murdering spree in local mall”? You haven’t and you never will (at least I hope not).

If these guys make your local news, it’s time to start worrying! | Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Bringing this all to a close and answering the question that’s been burning in my brain since I was just a 12-year-old ghoul: Where did all the boogeymen go? 

They’re here. Still with us.

They’re few and far between, yes; but when you find one they stick with you. They make you remember why you fell in love with horror movies so long ago…

It wasn’t the jump scares or the demons. It wasn’t the paranormal occurrences or the inverted crosses. It was the boogeymen.

The boogeymen that stalked you in the night. The boogeymen that made you afraid to sleep, swim, travel, or even exist.

The boogeymen that could be anyone around us or, worse, the boogeymen that we could become.

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2 thoughts on “Where Did All The Boogeymen Go? A Look at Movie Monsters Then and Now

  1. Wow! Awesome post! I couldn’t agree more. I grew up watching all of the original Friday the 13th movies, and I would argue that I’ve never been quite as terrified as I was when Jason appeared out of nowhere. Even as a small child, I understood that those characters were not going to make it out alive. Thinking back on it now, I attribute the Friday the 13th movies and Night, Dawn, and Day of the Living Dead to my love of horror. I was a big fan of the old Romero movies for the same reason you mentioned; the stories seemed…possible. The locations were familiar (Except the secret underground facility in Day :P).

    This article was a nostalgia-filled treat. Thank you!

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