The Oscars delivered their own version of Terror in the Aisles during last night's awards ceremony with a 'tribute' that seemed to be assembled by people with only a dim affection for, and only a passing familiarity with, the horror genre. I'm not a hater of the Twilight series (I have no strong feelings about it - more power to those that love it but it's just not for me) but I also feel that assigning two of the stars of that series (Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart) to handle the tribute's introduction got things off on a bad foot - especially when Academy honoree Roger Corman would've been a more apt choice. It was also galling that Lautner and Stewart wrongly cited The Exorcist (1973) as the last horror film to receive attention on the Oscar stage. It's not Lautner and Stewart's fault that whoever wrote their intro forgot about 1991's The Silence of the Lambs (directed by Corman grad Jonathan Demme) but the oversight was an immediate signal that horror was already getting slighted in the midst of its own tribute.
As for the clips themselves, it was a perplexing grab-bag that bumped classics like Jaws, The Exorcist, and Psycho up against Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (at least the original TCM was accounted for as well), Twilight: New Moon (if a recent vampire film had to be included, shouldn't it have been Let The Right One In?), and Marathon Man (Terror in the Aisles flashback!). While I'm all for stretching the definition of what a horror film is and I'm all for spreading the love to marginal genre titles (and I'm also all for time-wasting trash like Leprechaun), with only about five minutes to honor the history of horror, should any non-horror films, or any titles that weren't A-class examples of the genre have been included at all? Also, with clips from Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands (?!?), and Sleepy Hollow, director Tim Burton earned the distinction of being the individual filmmaker with the most films represented in this 'tribute' to horror (only one film apiece made it onto the reel for Romero and Carpenter, two for Craven, and none at all for Argento, Fulci, Bava, or Cronenberg) and that's just wrong. Best Director winner Kathyrn Bigelow's vampire classic Near Dark (1987) should've merited an inclusion as well.
Maybe some love is better than none but this tribute to horror was the definition of a missed opportunity. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to give the zombie vs. shark fight from Zombie (1979) a venerated place in Academy Awards history was missed last night and to me, you can't call a shout-out to horror that doesn't include any Fulci a real shout-out at all.