I Just Want You (Not) to Love Me

author Gaspar Noé
written by Željko Luketić


In the 1930s, film audiences were frightened by Dracula’s and Frankenstein’s, in the 1940s, Abbott and Costello used the pair to keep their audiences in stitches, whereas in the 1950s, there were giant tarantulas and the fear of nuclear war. Zombies were born a decade later, but the horror genre flourished anew in the freedom-loving 1970s. It is in this sequence that the Canadian documentary Why Horror? (2014), through a story about the social acceptability of a movie fan, tries to speak about what is at the same time the universal question of that part of film history: why we are afraid and why we like to be frightened even more. The aforementioned film offers a warm American story about how confronting our primordial and unconscious demons is precisely the way to counter those fears bravely and directly. What it lacks, however, is something that, in the art of filmmaking, has been maturing for a long time and in detail, something for which the origin of the horror genre is just the inspiration, and which manifests itself even more potently in thrillers, dramas, melodramas, even pornography. It is, of course, difficult for the authors of a documentary feature film to start dealing with theory and all the derivations of the motif, but it was them who offered an in-many-ways interesting framework from which, at the beginning of the millennium, derived the New French Extremity.