View Full Version : Changing Tastes in Cinema as You Grow Older

Todd Jordan
03-18-2011, 03:22 PM
As I get older, my taste in movies is the same as it was when I was an adolescent. I like monsters, violence, and boobies. If a movie has any of the three, it will have my attention. It doesn’t mean the movie is worth a shit, of course, but any of those elements will pique my interest.

I’m lucky enough to have a friend that I’ve been hanging around with since early childhood, and growing up we loved watching anything that we shouldn’t have. Among our favorites were The Gates of Hell, Boarding House, Creepshow, Slaughter Hotel, Day of the Dead, The Terminator, RoboCop, Videodrome, The Exorcist, The Re-Animator; we watched anything rated R we could get our hands on, so long as it looked like it was bloody, horrific, sleazy, and forbidden. His mom would watch these movies with us, and sometimes she would catch a movie on the movie channel and tell me I needed to see it (like The Entity for example).

Now that I am older, I just hit 40, I still love the same stuff I did as a kid and I love watching new old stuff I’d never seen before. I get the same kick out of watching Slaughter Hotel as I did 25 years ago, and I get all excited when I see something for the first time (recently The Guy From Harlem and The Necro Files). My friend however, did not continue his love of trashy movies. He seems to have gone the other way and kind of looks down on things like Weng Weng and sexploitation. He still likes the movies we liked as kids, but his tastes changed quite drastically. For example, he thought The Mist was awful (I think it was excellent except for the end) yet he thinks I Am Legend was a masterpiece (I say it was a pile of panty pudding). Black Dynamite, he says, was stupid and not funny, yet the movie Get Smart was a riot. I couldn’t even get through Get Smart. A year ago or so I was talking about The French Connection and he said he’d never seen it. Being one of my all-time favorite movies, I played it for him and he said it sucked. But Avatar is probably the greatest movie ever made.

I just don’t get how someone can change in tastes that drastically. Mine certainly haven’t. Are we enigmas? (“We” being those who love the drive-in movies and trash cinema.) Are we like the 35 year-old at a high school party? I really like watching these movies with others who appreciate them, but now with him I feel that part of our friendship is gone and it makes me sad. Both my brothers give me shit sometimes for the movies I dig but that doesn’t bother me so much. They weren’t movie buddies with me.

Ian Jane
03-18-2011, 04:40 PM
My tastes have broadened over the years but I still love the same garbage I loved as a kid. When I was younger I would pretty much only watch horror and action movies and hat was it. I wasn't interested in anything else and I missed out on a lot of oddball titles simpy because of genre bias. As I've gotten older I've found room on the shelves for the arthouse stuff and well made dramas and thrillers and more mainstream fare, but my heart is still a dirty, scuzzy one and the VAST majority of our combined collection is that type of stuff, the horror and action and drive-in style movies that turned me into a movie nerd in the first place.

I'm lucky enough to have a wife into the same stuff and a few like minded friends in the general vicinity who are into the same stuff as well as friends further away in other states and Canada who I don't see as often as I'd like to.

That said, in regards to the guys I grew up with, a lot of them 'grew out of it' so to speak. They gravitated to different genres the same way I did but left behind a lot of the sleaze and trash and gore and what not in favor of what I guess they probably consider to be more highbrow fare. I just made room for all of it, I guess.

I don't ever want to 'grow out' out of a good horror movie and I don't want to ever 'grow out' of being scared or getting some sort of childish rush out of watching something naughty. I like that movies still affect me that way and I hope they always do.

Mike T
03-19-2011, 06:01 AM
I'll be 43 this year...and I still love a lot of the stuff I loved as a teenager as much, if not more, now. And by more, I mean that sometimes younger eyes and minds don't pick up stuff and/or appreciate filmmaking techniques/skills as much as older ones do. That said, there's some absolute rubbish I watched when I was younger...but that's because I never picked up on the blokey appreciation-of-porn thing, but was still interested in girls and sex enough to want see films full of boobies and cheap thrills. That "absolute rubbish", like the 80s teen sex-comdies and junk like the D-grade Conan spin-offs, will forever be consigned to my viewing history (I've tried one or two over recent years and they really are junk of the lowest order; the adult me can't see what the teenage me saw in those films...apart from lots of boobies, and blood 'n' gore with the cut-price barbarian crap).

It could be, quite reasonably, argued that I watch a lot of junk now as an adult. But I look at this way: I love Hong Kong movies, and to me even a bad Hong Kong movie follows the "sex and pizza" analogy. Plus, there's no cinemas that run Hong Kong films near me anymore (or on a weekly basis, and regularly, anyway) so I have to rely on importing BDs and DVDs -- and that's a total crap-shoot whether or not I've spent my money wisely (ha, a HK movie pun! Geddit, Ian?) until I sit down in the living room and actual watch what I've purchased. But that's the same as the cinema experience -- you don't know if a film's going to be worth the ticket price until yo've seen it. Hence, why I wait for price to drop on new films I'm not 99% of.

But like Mr. Jane, my tastes didn't so much contract over the years as expand. I used to be narrow-of-vision on genres and stuff, and there's no way twenty or more years ago I would have even contemplated watching a rom-com or martial arts film (or a Chinese Opera, for that matter). But now, in my fourth decade, that's all changed and I'm a regular viewer of all genres, and films from myriand countries, that interest me. I still love and revisit the old gore films and trash of my youth, but my depth of field has since broadened. TBH, I'd say that it was the fun and entertainment of those old movies from my teenage years that actually instigated me to look further, explore and evolve. But whatta you do, hotshot, whatta you do? ;)

Ian Jane
03-19-2011, 10:37 AM
I think it's safe to say that at this point, folks like us are in it for the long haul. I just can't imagine a life without the wacky or the trashy or the sleazy or the scary or the sexy or the whatever.

Alison Jane
03-19-2011, 04:29 PM
I've seen a ton of films over the past ten years. It started when I was living in North Carolina and had nothing to do all day but watch videos. Down there there were a lot of mom and pop video stores that had 10 movies for 10 days for 10 dollars type offers on rentals. I'd rent stuff, bring it back and rent more. I didn't get to watch everything, but it was such a deal, who cared. I had seen films like Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave and Morrisey's Dracula and Frankenstein and dug the weirdness of it all. After that I got into other films like Last House on Dead End Street, House on the Edge of the Park, the Brownrigg films and the Re-Animator flicks. When I joined the Fango message board back in 2002 or so, I realized there was a cinematic connection between a lot of this stuff and had a resource for finding titles that I could look for and since DVDs were in full swing at that point and I was online, it wasn't too hard to find stuff.

I learned a lot about some really wacked out stuff around that time thanks to my friend Josh (he's on here as El Topo) and started getting into foreign films though I shyed away from Asian films initially because what I was trying to watch at that time all looked the same to me. Then came Franco flicks (Wicked Warden was my first and Barbed Wire Dolls made me an all-out fan) and I started getting into the seedier side of film and 70s stuff. My then boyfriend (aka fuckface) also introduced me to a lot and I stopped being so horror-exclusive. Since I've been with Ian, I've fallen head over heels for kung fu and action films which I avoided like the plague prior to him.

There isn't much anymore that shocks me but it's fun looking for something that will!

Robin Bougie
12-06-2011, 09:19 AM
I notice that, as the years go by, I seem to have a lot more patience for some things, and not for others. Like films from the 60s, 70s and 80s: As I dredge the bottom of the barrel in some of my fave genres and sub genres, I'll put up with a lot more in terms of low budgets, bad acting, and by the numbers plot cliches. Meanwhile, for newer movies I seem to be rather picky, holding them to a much higher standard for whatever reason. What is that all about?

Ian Jane
12-06-2011, 10:25 AM
Meanwhile, for newer movies I seem to be rather picky, holding them to a much higher standard for whatever reason. What is that all about?

It's about having a pre-existing affection for certain genres and time periods, I think. I do the same thing. In terms of smut, I'll put up with the lowest of the low in terms of acting and production values in 70s adult films and criticize modern ones for those same faults.

Todd Jordan
12-06-2011, 12:23 PM
Yeah I'm that way about older movies. I can watch a movie from the 70s or early 80s for the first time and love it for the exploitive elements, but a modern movie with the same elements more times than not is a piece of shit. Which leads me to think a lot of the stuff I like probably is shit, but I'm biased because I love the look and feel of the older movies.