No film genre is perfect and each one has its share of hits and misses. Generally, genres are not defined as wholes by the failures of specific entries into their catalogs. However, when it comes to horror films, there seems to always be an asterisk affixed to how we look at them. If a horror film is bad, nobody's really surprised; if it's good, it's good for a horror film.

What is the cause of this attitude toward horror films, and how could it be turned around? Simple, stop making sequels.

Lately, it has seemed like a week doesn't go by where we don't hear news of a new reboot or sequel getting made. In fact, out of the ten highest grossing films of 2015, eight were some type of reboot, spin-off, or sequel, with the only exceptions being Inside Out and The Martian. While this proliferation of these films is a bit of a recent trend, it has long been standard in horror. This has especially been true since the early '80s and the rise of the "slasher" subgenre in horror, with the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises now combining for 30 total movies.

At its very best, horror deals with relationship between the known and unknown. It supplants the idea that safety is found in what is familiar to us. For this to work, however, the dark and unfamiliar element has to be truly that--unfamiliar. When it becomes recognizable and predictable, it loses what frightened us about it in the first place. Sometimes, these expectations can be used and inverted to recreate the original unpredictability, but even then, it is largely a cheap trick or twist, and not genuine suspense.

This not only pulls the rug out from what is necessary for a horror film to be successful, but it also adds to one of the largest issues within the genre, too heavily relying on familiar motifs and tropes. This is what makes it so easy to say "That character will die first" within the first few minutes of a horror movie, before the killer even appears on screen. We've seen this story before This is an especially lazy method of filmmaking because it takes away the responsibility of the story to create shocking moments, and instead relies on things the audience has seen before.

Even worse, these tropes are frequently based on, and further perpetuate false and outdated cultural myths and bogeyman stories. They reinforce misplaced cultural panic over ideas like razor blades or poison hidden by strangers in Halloween candy. They are why some of my friends growing up weren't allowed to go trick or treating, (despite there being little to no actual truth to them). This becomes especially harmful when considering how horror films frequently portray things like mental illness as a catalyst for evil. Not only are concepts like a murderous escaped mental patient tired and boring, they are actively harmful by further spreading the horrendous stigma surrounding mental illness.

Of course, not all films have to be highbrow works of art. There absolutely needs to be room left for fun entertainment, and for a section of the movie going population, predictable and cheesy horror films fill that role. However, there needs to be a separation between these two schools of horror film. It's time to stop degrading the legacy of truly artful horror films by making hackneyed sequels and remakes to cash in on the success of the original.

Unless a horror movie is designed to have a sequel from the beginning, let the franchise stay as dead as the film's victims.