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2000 Was A Fantastic Year For Horror Movies


Nergal
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Worldwide, 2000 was a great year for horror movies, starting several beloved horror franchises and also seeing the release of modern classics as well as under-seen gems. During this time period, movies were seeing a focus on the human monster from the psychological thriller and serial killer era of the 1990s into a revival of slasher films (remakes unfortunately included) in the 2000s. Additionally, a new genre of horror parodies.

Genre fans can often identify horror movies made in the 2000s as they have a particular “look” about them that makes them unique. Something about the particular type of film/video and the early days of CGI made these films distinctly identifiable. But, in addition to that look, films from the late 1990s and early 2000s share recurring themes that ran through the majority of horror releases during that time. Because of this, 2000 serves as a brilliant cross-section of the time, starting the new millennium while still having one foot in the 90s.

The new millennium has become a time to renew and remake horror both through actual remakes of horror classics, but also through new and innovative horror stories tackling themes like misogyny, racial inequality, and politics as well as a rebirth of the indie film, meta commentary, and an increased awareness of foreign films in the general populace. We see the beginnings of this in a lot of the films released in 2000, which would pave the way for the years of movies to follow.

2000’S Major Horror Franchises


2000 saw quite a few of horror’s modern franchises start, the most obvious of which being Final Destination. Directed by James Wong, Final Destination is a horror movie focused around random accident murders. In an interesting contrast to most films of the era, the Final Destination series’ antagonist isn’t the traditional serial killer or inhuman monster coming back again and again, but rather a personification of death itself, taking its revenge on people who narrowly escape mass disasters.

The Japanese film series, Ju-On, parts one and two of Ju-On: The Curse, were released on V-cinema in Japan in 2000. In 2002, the next film in the series, Ju-On: The Grudge, was be released in Japan, and later was given the remake treatment in the United States as The Grudge in 2004. The series consists of 13 films to date: 9 Japanese and 4 American, with the latest film in the franchise released in 2020.

A female twist on the classic werewolf story, Ginger Snaps, was also released in 2000. Turning the traditional "werewolf as puberty" metaphor usually used for boys on its head, Ginger Snaps tells the story of Ginger and her sister Brigitte who are morbidly-obsessed outcasts. The movie explores what happens when Ginger is bitten by a strange creature, gets her period for the first time, and then suddenly starts to act in increasingly strange ways. Followed by two sequels, Ginger Snaps is a fan-favorite werewolf franchise of the 2000s, and shows the transition towards more inclusive film topics into the new millennium.

Pitch Black, the first film in The Chronicles of Riddick series, started the beloved sci-fi action franchise with this horror film released in 2000. Pitch Black sets up the character of Riddick, an antihero criminal who is being transported on a ship when it crashes on a deserted planet inhabited by strange creatures. A great creature feature amid a sea of serial killers and crime thrillers, Pitch Black is a beloved film and sets up the even more beloved character of Vin Diesel’s Riddick in the films and books that would follow.

The meta horror parody franchise began in 2000 as well with the release of the Wayans brothers’ first Scary Movie film. In response to all the slasher films getting stale and releasing increasingly off-the-wall installments, Keenen Ivory Wayans directed Scary Movie to make fun of the horror genre's many tropes. After Wes Craven’s Scream started a trend of meta horror films in 1996, the Wayans brothers took this idea further with probably the most well-known horror parody series in the genre.

In addition to new franchises emerging, audiences also saw several existing franchises release new installments in 2000. This includes the much-maligned Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and Hellraiser: Inferno, as well as Leprechaun in the Hood and Scream 3, all of which, with the exception of Hellraiser: Inferno, are widely considered the weakest in their respective series. If anything, these entries prove that 2000 wasn’t a flawless year for horror, but it does show that the new stories directors started this year offered significant improvements over continuations of older franchises, signaling a new direction for film in the new decade.

Modern Classics & Underseen Gems


Aside from the franchises that were started in 2000, quite a few horror classics were released that year along with several hidden gems. All in all, the shared themes amongst the films released in 2000 brought a focus on the human experience and human monsters, with serial killer and thriller movies becoming the most common type of horror release that year. The most famous example of this is American Psycho.

Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho is a film directed by Mary Harron that criticizes the yuppie culture of the 1980s through a serial killer who murders women and his corporate rivals while going off on monologues about specific materialistic concerns like the decor in his apartment or his workout routine. Perhaps one of the most well-known serial killer films next to Psycho and Silence of the Lambs, American Psycho puts Christian Bale on display as the psychotic and uniquely American killer, Patrick Bateman.

Similarly, another movie released in 2000 was Requiem for a Dream. A psychological drama that definitely seeks to horrify, Requiem for a Dream follows four characters who are affected by drug addiction and illustrates the ways in which their addictions affect their physical and emotional state as well as their lives in general. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film is dark and surreal, but highlights the horror of being human in a way that is extremely striking.

What Lies Beneath, the highest grossing horror film of the year 2000, also highlights the horror of humanity in a psychological thriller about a couple, a strange haunting, and a murdered woman. The story explores what happens when one half of a marriage is hiding dark secrets and the other partner starts pulling at the veneer covering them up. The twisting plot offers an interesting look at the power dynamics within a marriage and what it means to learn the truth.

2000 Brought Horror For Kids


In addition to all the traditional horror movies and franchises getting started in 2000, the year also saw the continuation of horror movies and TV shows being marketed to kids. In the era of Disney Channel Original Movies, the year 2000 saw the release of Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire, The Little Vampire, and Phantom of the Megaplex.

Many millennial horror fans got their start on horror with films like these from Disney Channel, in addition to, of course, the classic horror series’ Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps. These kid-friendly adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera and Dracula offer a gateway to the rest of the horror genre, while the 2000s also saw an increase in the PG-13 horror film and a push towards thrillers and horror movies more acceptable for teens and family audiences. It is perhaps this perfect storm that led to the renaissance of horror that we’re seeing now, decades later.

How The Year 2000 Helped Shape Modern Horror


Based on the franchises that were started and the stand-alone films that were released, it’s clear that 2000 was a bridge between the 90s and the new millennium in the world of horror. These films paved the way for the meta films and teen screams audiences would see in the coming years as well as the social commentary horror films that would come in the late 2010s. Perhaps the focus placed on human monsters, crime, and serial killers during this time also helped to open the way for much of the true crime craze that exists in the modern day as well.

From series about death and growing up to movies about serial killers, consumerism, and addiction, 2000 offered up some great additions to the genre, many of which fans still rewatch to this day and include on lists of horror favorites and classics. In addition, the increase in kids horror and PG-13 horror movies brought new fans to the genre, potentially contributing to the modern day horror renaissance. Directors started to experiment with meta themes and tropes in the horror parody after the release of Scream, leading to many of the meta horror films we see today, and audiences started to gain interest in foreign horror as The Grudge and The Ring gained popularity in the coming years.

Films of the 2000s have contributed much more to the horror genre than a lot of people give it credit for, and the first year of the millennium is a great example. Thanks to these directors, horror fans now have many of the most beloved modern horror franchises from Final Destination to Scary Movie, plus modern classics like American Psycho and Requiem for a Dream. Audiences now can enjoy smarter, more deep-cutting horror, as well as wonderfully gory silliness to choose from; fans have the horror movies of 2000 to thank for that.

 

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