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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Roger Ebert and Horror Movies

At the beginning of the year I wrote a piece entitled "Roger Ebert and The Lovely Bones", in which I spoke about how I felt that Ebert's review was wrong and incorrect. Today I am writing in response to his negative review to the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

As I have stated before, I am an admirer of Roger Ebert's. Reading his reviews growing up changed the way that I looked at movies. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't. But, for the most part, he has given us solid reasons for liking or not liking a movie.

Over the past year or so, however, he has reviewed movies that he has disliked, by giving very weird reasons. His dislike for The Lovely Bones has been well documented here so I won't go into those reasons again. My main complaint is his review for A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Ebert's review speaks of many horror cliches and entries in his "move glossary", but his review reads like a cliche of his reviews on most horror movies. It is clear that Ebert does not like horror movie, so my question is: Why review them? Why does Ebert, who can choose any movie he wants to review, take time out of his day to review movies in a genre he hates?

There are many probable answers to these questions, many of which he will probably agree with. One, he wants to be the best critic out there by giving his readers a taste of everything. This is likely the best answer, but he fails on this end. He doesn't seek out horror movies and, by doing so, defeats the reason of being the best critic.

The second answer is that he probably likes horror movie, but refuses to give them a pass because it might ruin his credibility. He has given positive reviews to many horror movies, but only the ones that are smart. It seems that he doesn't like the fun ones.

The third answer, and the one that I am going with, is that he looks down on horror movies. Ebert speaks volumes on what are perceived as "classics". He has a series of essays entitled "Great Movies", but has only put two horror moves into this category, The Bride of Frankenstein and Psycho. And while those two are among the best horror movies ever made, it seems that there is a void.

Whether or not A Nightmare on Elm Street is a good movie is not the point of this rant. The validity of his horror reviews is. Horror fans are just as smart as "normal" movie fans and his dislike for the genre and us fans is something that needs to be examined. I don't take any of his horror reviews seriously and this is why I am writing this. I just hope that other horror fans agree with me.
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