Mark Jancovich, in his article Genre and the Audience: Genre Classifications and Cultural Distinctions in the Mediation of The Silence of the Lambs, discusses the difficulty of classifying horror films as horror because horror is subjective. The preeminent perception of horror is it is supposed to be scary and it should evoke the feeling of horror in the viewers and personally, this was also my perception of horror which is why I was hesitant to take COM 115.9 because I am not really fond of horror movies because they scare me. But as the semester progressed, watching various films in class, and hearing the analysis of each movie, it made me realize that horror isn’t confined to its definition of solely being scary as people understand it.
Moreover, horror films shouldn’t be judged on its ability to scare you because it depends on how the people perceive it. For example, easily-frightened people may be afraid to watch Evil Dead because they would find it to be too terrifying. My friend, on the other hand, found it comedic because of the persistence and determination of the monster until the end. But even though, he found it funny instead of horrific, he still enjoyed the movie and would recommend the movie for other people to watch. This just proves that just because a movie is not scary, it doesn’t mean that it was overall a bad movie.
This brings us to the example of the movie Spring which we watched in class which started out very dramatic given the death of the mother of Evan, the lead character. Afterwards, the movie shows his living conditions and talks of his ambition and aspirations before. He decides to embark on a journey to Europe and just travel like what most of us want to do. Given this, it seems that this movie is not a horror movie but a movie of finding yourself and finding what you want to do in life.
Furthermore, it made use of Europe as a setting which is not commonly used as a setting for a horror movie because Europe is closely associated to romance movies. Similar Pontypool, Spring falls under what Joan Hawkins discusses as the category of paracinematic movies because it doesn’t specifically fall under one category or genre but it covers three genres: horror, romance, and sci-fi.
It is part of the horror genre because of the presence of a monster, something unfamiliar to us because as depicted in the movie, the monster seemed to change appearances like It Follows but the forms the monster takes on are the traditional monsters we see in horror films. It is part of the romance genre because Evan and Louise develop a relationship in the movie no matter what how fast it was, Evan fell in love easily with Louise. It is part of the sci-fi genre because of the explanation of Louise’s condition and how it was about genetic mutation.
Going back to Jancovich’s discussion, there is an unclear disctintion or definition of the horror genre in Spring because as the movie progresses, the focus shifts to the relationship of the couple and even after the revel of the monster, the focus is more on how will they make the relationship work. But even though there seems to be overshadowing of the romance genre on the horror genre, the movie is not treated less of a horror movie. Instead, the addition of the romance and science fiction aspects enhances the movie and makes it better and more enjoyable because people are attracted to anomalies. Spring gives us the problem of how a relationship would work between a human and a monster. Although Louise argues that she is still human and what happens to her body is purely genetics.
I, myself enjoy some horror films with romance in it because it somehow gives me a breather or a break from all the action, gruesomeness, or brutality happening in the movie. However, it depends on how the romance aspects are incorporated into horror movies. I find some of the romance aspects in horror movies unnecessary. I feel that some films are just desperate in putting romance in their movies that it feels like it’s forced.
Spring also displays feminism and patriarchy in our society through Louise. She is a female monster who objectifies men in a sense that she just uses them to obtain the embryonic cells she needs and then disappears which is her plan for Evan which is why she broke up with him out of the blue. Also, she has lived for hundreds of years and still lives alone and hasn’t settled down with someone.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie because it presented another type of unusual monster which shows us that horror deviates from the normal and is mostly about the interaction of the monster with reality. Moreover, the setting was beautiful and the plot is not as heavy as the other films we have watched in class.
Mark Jancovich, “Genre and the Audience: Genre Classifications and Cultural Distinctions in the Mediation of The Silence of the Lambs.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)
Joan Hawkins, “Sleaze Mania, Euro-trash, and High Art: The Place of European Art Films in American Low Culture.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)