Teens and Horror

Every horror fan is familiar with the typical slasher film plot. A group of teens get into mischief and invoke the rage of some psycho killer. Most of them end up brutally dismembered with the exception of the virginal hero/heroine.

Yes, we are very much ‘in the know’ about this particular story but the question that arises: why are teens often the victims of these crazed killers? It’s almost like these psychos have a checklist for their victims. They go down the list and ‘teenager’ is the one requirement that is always check marked.

The proof is in the movies themselves. Go down the aisle of your local video store, take a gander and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll find dead teens scattered in suburban neighborhoods and at camps ala “Friday the 13th.” The Voorhees’ sure do love them some teenagers.

Mama Voorhees sliced and diced the likes of Kevin Bacon and co. in the original. Camp Crystal Lake was her hunting ground and mommy dearest took no prisoners. She may have gotten her come-upins but not without resurrecting her son to carry out their diabolical plans of scaring the crap out of ill-behaved teens. “Halloween” also yielded a disturbed Michael Myers who was persistent in his search for long lost sister Laurie Strode. Throughout the series, he slaughtered and stabbed the hell out of kids, only to name a few of his killing methods.

He made teenage babysitters think twice about taking care of kids. “Scream” is another prime example of teens marked for death by slashers. Granted, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson created this movie as a bit of a spoof on the stereotypical slasher movie. Neve Campbell, Jaime Kennedy, Rose McGowan and others were the unlucky teens in the first installment of the series. Once again, not so smart kids doing not so smart things dying in not so nice ways. 

So, what is it about teenagers that implore these killers to come at them like a mad dog? Perhaps, it’s simply because they are prone to making very flawed choices. Teens think everything is easy and really don’t care about much except booze, sex, and fun. Teenagers’ brains are programmed to explore with no fear and no cares.

They do what they want when they want despite parental advisories coming in all directions. They will go into a dark and isolated wood area to have sex or smoke a joint. They will run up the stairs instead of down the stairs. They will explore the scary noise alone, away from safety. They will use a spirit box and read from a demonic book even though they are advised not to. All of it boils down to teenagers’ inability to comprehend just how dangerous the world is. The warnings of evil and danger are nuisances to them. So, they choose to ignore the sign that says ‘Danger- Do not Enter’ and the cautionary tales of the all-knowing adults. This is probably why teenagers are the prime victims for crazed slashers. Easy prey for sadistic monsters.

The slasher film M.O. has continued and shows no sign of changing. As horror movies continue to get made, more and more teens are piling up. The horror world continues to take away our young people for our entertainment.

However, you and I know those malevolent killers are holed up in their dark abodes smiling and quietly thanking us for providing endless victims who will never get it: the world is not always nice. If the teens in these movies still don’t comprehend that, perhaps they should get sent down the horror aisle of their local video store to understand that point.

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