Why I think Jurassic Park should be a horror film.
Scroll through Jurassic Park’s IMDB or Wikipedia page, and you’ll see the film listed as a Sci-fi, adventure, thriller, all of which are labels we can all broadly agree with. But what about horror? Since i’m writing about it on my broadly horror blog, you’re damn right I think we should add that term to it. Here’s my case for why Jurassic Park should be considered a horror film.
It’s basically Frankenstein with dinosaurs
I know way too much about Frankenstein. I’ve seen every film with Frankenstein’s monster in it, written copious amounts about it, read huge amounts of academic work. Not because I wanted to you understand, but because I decided to pick it as my dissertation topic for my BA degree in Film. Never again- that’s all taking up valuable brain space which I could fill with much more interesting and important stuff, like the name for the weirdest phobias, or the names of people who I see every day.
So you better believe I see a Frankenstein’s monster when I see it. Mary Shelley’s book changed the face of horror as we know it, and the ideas she penned on that stormy night at Byron’s house was perhaps the most culturally significant moment for our works of dark creative. Shelley’s book was broadly about when science goes too far. You know, like the picture of the twinkie-doge that floated around as a meme for a little while. Shelley was concerned with galvanism, or electrocuting things to make their muscles spasm posthumously.
It’s easy to see how this basic horror narrative can be applied to Jurassic Park. Dicky Attenborough’s scientists took that step too far into the unknown and Jeff Goldblum and the crew all had to pay for that mistake. It’s in many ways a modern adaption of the horror novel. If that doesn’t qualify it to have horror as a genre, I don’t know what does.
It’s scary (for the right demographic)
I’ve mentioned on here before that when I was little, I had lots of problems sleeping. This was largely down to unknown reasons; I just found it hard to get to sleep. Sometimes though this was definitely down to a reason. I remember after my first watch of Jurassic Park being terrified that i’d glance at my window and see a giant T-rex eye staring back at me. This was unlikely for a few reasons:
1) I’d have heard it coming - they’re big, stompy bastards. I means, i’d just seen the film, I should have known that.
2) I had shutters which would entirely block any chance of seeing outside.
3) Finally, and most importantly so perhaps I should have mentioned it first, T-rex is extinct.
My irrational fear in this case was really unusual. I’d seen hundreds of much more objectively scary films. Since my sisters were older than me, I would often sit through some of the scariest films of the age and not bat an eye. Infact, I even watched horror films late at night to help me sleep on occasion. Yet, I was terrified of this borderline-family-friendly film. The truth is, I don’t really know it particularly scared me. But, I know for sure that it did, and if it can scare someone, surely that should contribute to it being considered a horror. For the same reason, I would argue that the original Watership Down film should be a horror.
6 foot turkey? More like Slashers.
Jurassic Park is not ambiguous about the fact the velociraptors are to be feared. Sam Neill mimes cutting open an irritating child’s guts with the claw of one of these apex predators, an later we saw them hunting down the whole Scooby-Doo crew as they ran around the dinosaur riddled park. In truth, it’s now widely believed that velociraptor was considerably smaller than believed at the time, ironically about the size of a turkey. Still, the velociraptors in the film are bigged up to the maximum, and we know exactly what to expect when they get out - systematic and unrelenting stalking of our heroes. Sound familiar? Well that’s basically the format to a slasher film right there, ladies and gentlemen. All that’s missing are the masks, and we could have had Nightmare on Jurassic Street. Nevermind though.
So, there you have it.That’s my case for writing a single extra word on the IMDB page about Jurassic Park. Now, to make all that somewhat redundant, I want to mention briefly that I don’t really believe in genre outside of as a marketing tool, given it’s hybridity, it’s evolution, and the homage nature of cinema. So, don’t I feel silly now!
Do you think we should market Jurassic Park as a horror film? Are there any other non-horror films that you think we should reclassify? Let me know!
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