I have never cared for horror movies, and just as video shops began to open in force during the 1990s, the temper of horror movies reached a fever pitch. I didn't own a TV at this time, thank God, so I missed most of it, but when I cruised the "Horror Movie" aisle of the neighborhood Blockbuster Video, I could hardly believe my eyes and wondered, "Who in the hell wants to watch this shit?" I was travelling a lot for work and worried that I had to share the highway with the creeps who got off on horror movies.
The first really modern horror movie has to be Night of the Living Dead, from 1968. It just rolled over all the norms for a horror movie. For one thing, the entire cast dies a gruesome death at the hands of mindless zombies who eat their flesh. In one scene, a zombie-girl kills her mother and eats her flesh.
No one had ever done anything like that before, although the Parisian theatre, Le Grand-Guignol, typically featured graphic acts of violence on the stage, during the late 19th century.
Horror movies in the 1970s continued to push the envelope--the whole "giallo" movie thing. Giallo movies seem to target pretty female victims, who die piteously of stab wounds by complete strangers. The 1980s continued the horror movie craze--in such films as Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street; but the one that takes the cake for me is The Last House on the Left. I read a little about it, and the extreme savagery of it turned me off.
I can still remember a conversation I had at this time with an old girlfriend who asked me, "What are guys really thinking when they see us girls getting chopped up?" It's something for us guys to think about. Monkey-see, monkey-do. If us guys can't handle the thrill of seeing girls getting slaughtered, maybe we need to rein in the sicko horror movies, for everyone's good.