Why You'll Agree 15 Seconds Is the Right Length for a Horror Film Today
It seems those 'slow burning' horror films from the golden era are not being adopted by this new generation.
A horror movie's job, essentially, is to scare the audience by building up tension throughout its run-time and venting this tension at key points in the film. Most movies run somewhere between an hour and a half to two hours (unless you're Peter Jackson then all bets are off) giving enough time to really spin a story and get into the characters. However as a species we're heading into an era of ever decreasing attention spans and it seems those 'slow burning' horror films from the golden era are not being adopted by this new generation.
No Time To Waste
The 'kids' today don't want to wait for anything and I'm used to hearing people younger then 20 (ish) say that a film was boring or slow. When I ask what was boring it's usually a common reply of "nothing happens at the start". When I point out that a movie has to establish the characters and the story they seem to switch off. It seems that good story and plot points are no match for quick blood letting and gore tactics that are normally the calling cards of a bad film. So the question is how do we adapt to this new culture?
Since The advent of YouTube in 2005, You Tubers have been on the rise but it's this new phase of superstars through 'Vines' that have caused a shorter attention span. Vines (if you've been living under a rock for the past few years) are basically videos that can be anywhere from 5 seconds to maybe a minute or 2 in length. They are usually silly prank videos with the person filming a situation from their perspective and then commenting on what's happening. Sounds weird but they're usually fun and kill a few minutes or seconds of your time.
Even die-hard horror fans are apt to say they haven't got the time to watch the latest movies out because they simply don't have the time to fit them in. Ask them again if they caught any shorts online and no doubt they'd be able to rattle off quite a few (especially David.F.Sanberg's Lights Out which went nuclear). Again though, it seems the shorter the better as anything above the minute mark gets less attention from a casual audience than something under. 15 Second horror is here to stay and even one of the biggest festivals in the world, Raindance, has a 14 second Horror event every year.
Personally I would rather watch a bunch of 15 second horror movies, each one having a different theme and direction than a feature film that falls flat on its face. Of course filmmakers can't make a living by creating 15 second movies as they're not a 'product' that they can justify selling. Still with the playing fields being leveled with these online platforms I do wonder where we're heading in terms of entertainment.