Take horror seriously, you cowards

During a discussion about Lupita Nyong'o being snubbed by The Oscars for her performance in Jordan Peele's Us, I heard a troubling statement.  Someone said that the role wasn't taken seriously because it was in a horror film and horror movies aren't "prestige".

That seems like a weird thing to say, even if the MPAA believes it. The anti-horror bias is deeply ingrained with awards voters and critics.  Why though?

Horror is a big genre. It's one of the most popular,  but that isn't what I mean by "big". What I mean is that it is broad. There are dozens of subgenres subsumed in the umbrella of horror. Thriller,  slasher, zombie,  haunting,  posession,  natural horror (think Jaws), Lovecraftian,  home invasion,  torture porn, and many more.

No other genre stretches as far or scratches as many entertainment itches as horror.

Horror speaks to us on a visceral level. It speaks to the deepest realms of human psychology in a way that only romance rivals.  That's just the surface,  though. Horror offers more. Horror is the genre best suited to metaphor.

Horror films allow us to look at ideas that, when presented in dramatic films can be didactic,  hard to digest, and just boring.  Horror can be subtle about it.

Think of the way films like Get Out or Night of the Living Dead approach race in America. Films like Don't Breathe, Us and Dawn of the Dead attack Capitalism and class head on. Or you think of the feminist empowerment of Midsommar or The VVitch, either of which has more to say on the subject than any Oscar bait drama. Recently The Purge franchise has presented a broad series of satires attacking capitalism,  class, race, the mingling of corporate and political regimes and the failures of democracy.

The bias against horror is as old as the academy and it has always been short slighted snobbery.  It isn't as if smart quality horror is something new. Great directors have been working in the genre since Murnau
 Gave us Nosferatu. Masters like Kubrick  (The Shining), Hitchcock  (Psycho), Steven Spielberg (Jaws), and Francis Coppola (Dementia 13) have been at least dabbing in horror for decades.

Horror deserves to be taken seriously and the MPAA should understand that.