Why Netflix is Starting a HUGE Horror Trend!
Netflix slate of Halloween films has a very different flavour this year, with the company’s annual “Netflix and Chills” schedule filled with international shows and movies. But why is Netflix “ordering out” for this years horror fest?
The answer to this question is quite simple, but its connotations reveal the new direction in which the top streaming service is heading, which could possibly shape the very face of Horror and Cinema itself.
The horror genre has always had this idea that budget doesn’t matter. Expensive CGI and grotesque creature may be scary, but they could never be as terrifying as the viewers imagination, which is why some of the most horrifying films have had tiny costs. As far back as you can go in cinematic history, horror has always been delivered on a budget. The ideas behind big budget horror never really took off until the 80’s, which is why that decade felt so much more wholesome in quality. Film’s such as the Evil Dead, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity all had extraordinarily small budgets but managed to create multi million dollar franchises. It is this type of success that all horror films wish to emulate.
The Evil Dead (1981)
International studios generally don’t have Hollywood budget thrown at them, which is why it’s rare to find amazing horror outside of the usual arenas. That is why so many worldwide film-makers attempt to break into the industry with horror, as budgets don’t necessarily need to be big to be good. But let us make things very clear, having a low budget doesn’t give the film a free pass to glory, it still needs to be watchable. The last decade has seen a huge influx of the genre, but so many miss the mark by thinking that gore, violence and nudity are a sure way of securing success. One of the biggest common complaints I have had with many recent horror films, is the script. Without any coherent story, character development or good dialogue, films are boring, confused and pointless.
It’s also important to realise that international content has a hard-enough time as it is, let alone with genres such as horror. Countries such as America and the U.K. have a very particular way of life and everything about a different society and culture can be confusing and even scary to people who have never experienced life outside of a Starbucks. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the language, and even when you do subtitle a film, many people hate them. Some even refuse to watch films that have them. But luckily for international cinema, horror is a language that everyone can understand, so even if there are many barriers on the way, terror has a way of transcending them. A jumpscare is a jumpscare no matter what language you speak.
Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight (2020) – Polish Horror on Netflix
So where does Netflix fit into all of this? Well, it seems that the streaming service has really understood the merits of international films. But more than that, they understand their audiences better. This is why Netflix have been creating an unprecedented amount of dubbing on a level never seen before in entertainment history.
The companies own research has found that despite people’s preferences for original films, they prefer to watch the dubbed version. And so, to keep up with the trend, Netflix’s investment in dubbing has grown. Netflix works with more than 125 facilities worldwide to meet the demand of global dubbing, so that people in India can enjoy Stranger Things just as much as you do. But the reverse is also true. I was pleasantly surprised to find Manga series Parasyte on Netflix recently. I had already seen an imported version of the amazing show, albeit it with subtitles, but on Netflix, it now has a shiny new English audio dub. And it was not a quick and cheap affair either, the voice acting was spot on! But it’s not just this one show, there are LOTS of films getting new dubs.
Parasyte: The Maxim (2014) – Anime TV series on Netflix
Dubbing is series business for Netflix. And as they ramped up localization in regions unaccustomed to seeing foreign shows without having to read subtitles, they are also improving the work environment surround the process.
The company recently signed a three-year deal with SAG-AFTRA, its first overall deal with the union representing Hollywood actors, which includes provisions to improve pay rates and working conditions for talent dubbing shows into English. In April, David McClafferty took over the newly minted position of creative manager for English dubbing.
This new way of packaging content means that many new markets are now on the same level as Hollywood films. This brings new culture, talent and entertainment to a worldwide audience. With Horrors low budget need and hardcore fan base, the genre can start to grow in ways that we never imagined.
The Binding (2020) – Italian Horror on Netflix
Halloween in 2020 is going to be a sorry state of affairs, with Covid 19 looking to derail the usual frivolities we have all grown to expect. Trick or treating, parties and cinema events are all off the cards now. However, there is one single saving grace that should bring a little horror back into Halloween. With Netflix’s new appreciation of international cinema, they are delivering a huge host of new films, from around the world, all leading up to Halloween. Yes, Netflix has “order out” for this year’s offerings of horror. And whilst at one point, that might have been met with mixed reactions, no one can complain when it’s being delivered in a flavour everyone can enjoy.
So, what does all this mean for the future? Moving forward, Netflix are only going to be investing more into this dubbing strategy. By opening brand new markets and giving new talent a solid platform to express themselves, we can expect to see the horror genre grow. Whilst many people may dislike the pay to watch formula of entertainment, one thing is very clear, it is paving way for the future of cinema. A future where culture and language are no longer barriers, but springboards moving us further.
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“Howdy Horror Fans – I love Netflix and Chills. Some of my most recents dates are resting nicely in the basement freezer. I’ll THAW them out eventually. After all, there are only so many bodies you can fit in there! So, Netflix are into DUBBING? When will they get round to BATTLE ROYALE? Anyhow… hit us up in the comments below. Tell us which films you wish were getting dubbed? Until next time…