Author Topic: The horror within horror  (Read 333 times)

Online Hydra009

The horror within horror
« on: September 09, 2019, 03:03:39 PM »
I love horror.  I really do.  It forms the trifecta of speculative fiction:  fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  And to some degree, they all feed into each other.  For example, Frankenstein was a blend of science fiction and horror.

Since then, horror has typically revolved around one of two elements:  either a monster/supernatural menace or a human murderer.  Generally, there's an atmosphere of tension and people die, often in horrific ways, and that's supposed to shock and frighten audiences.

And while I like horror, I can't stand like 80% of it, especially most movie offerings.  A deluge of jumpscares, a generic deranged killer chasing someone in woods, and a reliance on gore either bores me or turns my stomach.

I will watch a scary movie with someone else and have a completely different reaction to it, which I find perplexing.  What exactly are we looking for in horror?

What I truly love in horror is psychological horror, often with a lovecraftian vibe.  This stuff doesn't often rely on jumpscares or a murderer or gore - it mostly relies on an atmosphere of dread and uncertainty, where it's not entirely clear what's real and what's not real, if other people are truly how they are perceived to be, and/or if you're truly the person you think you are.

The lovecraftian vibe typically comes into play when disturbing content is catalogued and recounted with both clinical precision and authority.  The incongruity between the clinical tone and the disturbing content is unsettling in itself, and the air of authority (hopefully) creates a little uncertainty about whether or not the content is real or fictional.

You know what's scarier than looking in the mirror and seeing a monster behind you?  Seeing a monster inside yourself.  Or your reflection that doesn't quite match your movements, smiling when you frown, jerking when you make a smooth motion.  Or not seeing your reflection at all.

You know what's scarier than a jumpscare?  Nothing.  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

The easiest example I have for the sort of horror I like is Lovecraft's From Beyond, which paints the picture of invisible world overlayed on our own that contains incomprehensible nightmarish creatures (are they really nightmarish?  Or just not what we're used to?) and the mere act of seeing these normally invisible things makes you a target of their predations, so you can only survive by not reacting.  Of course, this could also be an elaborate hoax or paranoid delusion.  The cherry on top is a part added onto the original ending - even after the machine that makes these creatures visible is destroyed, the character still senses them sometimes.  The reader is left with the unpleasant uncertainty that when they feel as if something is watching them, it actually is and that they are never truly alone.

I also loved Blair Witch, which is strange in that it's a movie that made a hell of a splash and scared the daylights out of a large chunk of its audience but also had a substantial backlash of people who claimed it wasn't scary at all and mocked the characters' reactions.  Back in the early days on the internet, Blair Witch managed to successfully cultivate uncertainty about whether or not it was real or fictitious, which I find to be absolutely incredible.  It also took a very banal setting (the woods) and make it creepy by spinning this yarn about a witch and ramping up the tension by having freaky -but not inexplicable- stuff happen to them and having Heather be the only one ill-at-ease.  The ending itself is still hotly debated, perhaps a deadly supernatural attack or perhaps a cold-blooded murder.  To me, that last one is far more satisfying as it recontextualizes the entire movie and makes Mike and Josh's bizarre behavior that much more sinister.

And finally, I love Blair Witch 2, which seemed on the surface to be a generic hollywood take on its predecessor.  It alienated people who expected something more in line with the original, and got a bashing by critics and fans alike.  But it did one thing right that really won me over - it created a gigantic, seemingly unsolvable mystery.  Many scenes contain contradictory perceptions and every character is suspect, so You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login with only these words as a possible clue:  "video never lies Kim.  Film does, though" (implying that the events captured on the handheld cameras are genuine, and everything else is suspect)

In horror, I look for a well of uncertainty and doubt that creates fear by confronting me with the unknown and by shattering my expectations and leaving me in a mad scramble to pick up the pieces.

In horror, what do you look for?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 10:05:48 PM by Hydra009 »

Online Hydra009

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 03:16:02 PM »
Also, the effect of horror is very dependent on the surrounding environment.

As a kid, watching the X-Files in the basement with no lights on was an act of foolhardy bravado.  Nowadays, with on-demand media allowing people to watch horror anywhere and instant reviews (and spoilers), the effects of horror may be substantially lessened.

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 03:39:02 PM »
Two years, three months, and thirteen days of horror was enough for me.

But I have to admit I had a insanely good time.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Baruch

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2019, 06:55:48 PM »
From Beyond .... sounds realistic to me, not fantasy.

Generally ... horror ;-((
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luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Online Munch

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2019, 07:30:28 PM »
I'm a big fan of horror. I mean I'm not going to go out buying posters and figures of horror characters like comic book characters, but I love a good, well made scary movie or show.

Some of my earliest memories are from horror movies I watched as a child and how it impacted me, funny enough the tv adaption of IT in the 1980s was one I watched from under my bedsheets, so this new adaptions one I've been anticipating for some time.

My older brother, when we were kids, when my grandmother came round to stay, she was given my room to sleep in, and I had to sleep on a pull out bed in my brothers room. He would always intentionally get ahold of horror movies on vhs and put them on late at night with me under my sleeping bag peaking out watching them, childs play, one of the Frankenstein movies, nightmare on elm street. I sometimes wonder if the reason he did it was to scare me or just because he didn't want to watch them alone himself and having his scared little brother watching them was better then being told he couldn't by mum.

But rather then mess me up I developed an appreciation for good horror, psychological is some of the best, like the shining, silence of the lambs, psycho, misery, all some of my favorite ones. But as someone who grew up reading ghost stories, and thankfully haven't yet developed into one of these atheists who is so against all forms of religion that they can't even enjoy fiction,  I do still enjoy a good well made supernatural horror, like the babadook, insidious, the exorcist, the grudge, and of course It.

To me it doesn't matter if the themeing of a story is horror is based on reality or based on supernatural, what matters is if its done well, written well, and I get sometime out of it. If its a movie with just a load of jumpscares then I'm going to get burned out, but if its slow burn and psychological one that hits a nerve for the right reasons then its going to linger with me. In the movie the Babadook, it wasn't the monster itself that was frightening, but rather then performance by its main actress Essie Davis that chilled me.

So yeah, horror movies, just like any movie, is comes down to quality and effort put in, I can enjoy any kind of horror as long as its done well.

Offline Cavebear

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2019, 03:36:35 AM »
I've never understood horror much.  OK, Alien.  But as a purpose to watch something, I don't get it.  Earthly monsters just don't keep my attention.  I fully accept the "willing suspension of disbelief" of fiction in general, but I can't do it for earthly horrors.  I just can't believe in them.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Baruch

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2019, 06:40:10 AM »
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I've never understood horror much.  OK, Alien.  But as a purpose to watch something, I don't get it.  Earthly monsters just don't keep my attention.  I fully accept the "willing suspension of disbelief" of fiction in general, but I can't do it for earthly horrors.  I just can't believe in them.

Since those are more realistic than the sci-fi kind, your lack of believe is disturbing.  Sociopath?
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luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2019, 06:50:34 AM »
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I've never understood horror much.  OK, Alien.  But as a purpose to watch something, I don't get it.  Earthly monsters just don't keep my attention.  I fully accept the "willing suspension of disbelief" of fiction in general, but I can't do it for earthly horrors.  I just can't believe in them.
There's a joy in watching sadistic movies that I can't understand. The success of the "Saw" movies speak poorly of humans.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Cavebear

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 07:20:14 AM »
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There's a joy in watching sadistic movies that I can't understand. The success of the "Saw" movies speak poorly of humans.

I think it is the stupidity of the victims.  How many times times can you say "no don't back into that room", after all?  LOL!

Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 08:02:07 AM »
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I think it is the stupidity of the victims.  How many times times can you say "no don't back into that room", after all?  LOL!


You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Cavebear

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 08:05:44 AM »
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Yeah, that ad cracked me up.  Not that I have the least idea of the product, but Someone has a great sense of humor!
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 08:09:31 AM »
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Yeah, that ad cracked me up.  Not that I have the least idea of the product, but Someone has a great sense of humor!
GEICO was the company that created the caveman ads. Pure genius. It worked so well that they've been having fun with ads ever since.

PS, check your private messages.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Cavebear

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 09:16:04 AM »
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GEICO was the company that created the caveman ads. Pure genius. It worked so well that they've been having fun with ads ever since.

PS, check your private messages.

I did and thank you.  I want to examine the site before I join.  Do I take it that you are there?

I disliked the original caveman ads for the very reasons they made fun of later.  I like the gekko from the earliest days when he answered the phone at night and said "no you want Geiko".  But I'm still a State Farm guy.

But, the GEICO ads are impressive and effective.  In fact, some younger adults now refer "straight from the gekko" rather than "Straight from the get-go" because they hear it phonetically and use modern cultural references.  Or maybe that should be "fonetikly", LOL!

Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2019, 09:42:54 AM »
I used to handle auto accident claims for State Farm. That's why I'm with GEICO now.

And yeah, I'm there. Same nick.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Cavebear

Re: The horror within horror
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 09:47:42 AM »
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I used to handle auto accident claims for State Farm. That's why I'm with GEICO now.

And yeah, I'm there. Same nick.

That bad about State Farm huh?  They have been good to me but I'll look into it.

I guess I'll sign up and see what it is like. New site, I mean...  ;)
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

 

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