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Approaching Horror

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Aug. 8, 2020
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Though I am certainly no stranger to handling the horrific in my creations, horror as a genre is something I never dabbled in before.

Horror scares me the same way comedy does!

While I can crack jokes, I always feel I can never do it on demand, or consistently think and set up situations that will lead to the audience laughing (except rarely). In the same vein, I feel that I can never scare people like, say, Poltergeist can.

Horror requires a setup that aims wholly for the emotional response, rather than the cerebral one. It aims to make your gut clench (and other strategic locations of your body) as you watch but wish you could turn away.

I …don't really do that in my work, or at least that's how I've been thinking of my work until recently. But since I want to pitch in for the DD Anthology, I have had to rethink it.

If I can do drama, I can do horror, I thought to myself. Both are appeals to emotion. I just need to tweak the way I appeal to said emotion.

One way is to go the way of the unease through art and atmosphere, which is amazing, but I don't really feel I got the skill necessary for unnerving art (though I will try).

Another way is to go the way of dialogue and slowly making normal things appear completely not normal, but not necessarily be able to tell how until the endgame, a la Stepford Wives, where everything is sunny and prim and lovely and horrific.

That, I feel, I can do a lot more. And so I am approaching horror with more courage!

Since it is an appeal to emotion though, there are a lot more ways to approach it, I bet. What will yours be?

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comment

anonymous?

bravo1102 at 2:26AM, Aug. 9, 2020

Plenty of great horror is funny. It can be in the sheer ridiculousness of the situation (the tropes), the characters and so many combinations of the two. Evil Dead, Scared Stiff, Return of the Living Dead, even those Bugs Bunny cartoons where poor monster biggest fear is people! Because monsters are such interesting people who lead such interesting lives-- and so our hero having re-re disposed of the monster exits stage left.

usedbooks at 4:14PM, Aug. 8, 2020

I tried it once. Couldn't do it. I kept the beginning, though. I just can't write horror, and that's okay. I can't write fantasy either. But I enjoy reading/watching others' work.

Kou the Mad at 3:08PM, Aug. 8, 2020

So 12 Oz. Mouse.

PaulEberhardt at 10:48AM, Aug. 8, 2020

I've been toying with the idea of making a horror story for a long time, on and off, but whenever I try I end up with it turning into comedy. I believe you have to have a knack of keeping a straight face throughout the entire story while telling it (or having your narrator tell it, respectively), not just for just long enough to build up a gag. I deeply admire those authors who can pull that off. If only making fun of them wasn't such a good way of dealing with unsettling things...

bravo1102 at 9:28AM, Aug. 8, 2020

Imagine a space that's usually full and alive-- but it's night-time. You're the overnight security guard. Every thing is still, quiet and all the lights aren't on. Silence can be terrifying. There could be jump scare at any moment or is there something lingering. Does it feel right? Yeah. Be very afraid because this is where the shivers are.

bravo1102 at 9:23AM, Aug. 8, 2020

Horror is what you don't know or understand. The dark is scary because you can't see. So you don't know what's out there. The supernatural is scary because it's beyond your understanding. It could be something totally new and outside your experience. Sheer blindsided horror could be something as simple as a phone call or opening a door. It's the not knowing that reaches into your gut and turns it upside down and the mouth goes dry and the hands shake. Is it THINGS MAN WAS NOT MEANT TO KNOW? Frankenstein, and an army of zombies or the first day of a new job?

Andreas_Helixfinger at 7:51AM, Aug. 8, 2020

@Furwerk studio - Me, I got nothing against supernatural horror at all. Some of the best horror I know is tied to something outworldly, like HP Lovecraft for example (though I've only read some of his work).

Furwerk studio at 7:21AM, Aug. 8, 2020

I have a love for supernatural horror, which a lot of horror fans seem to absolutely hate with a burning of a thousand suns (which is funny because I can't stand slashers which they love). It's the idea that reality, something that is firm and has solid rules, is suddenly gone and anything can happen. That there is no rules, or they are so obscure and obtuse that it was no meaning to a normal person. That no matter what you do, you are screwed. I know it upsets said fans, but I thought horror was suppose to be unknown, uncertain and just out to screw you over.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 1:01AM, Aug. 8, 2020

My approach currently, as I eagarly await the editors response on my E-mailed pitch, is that of body horror. Body horror can be like Franz Kafkas "Metamorphosis", the main character wakes up in a different body, in the novel's case that of an insect, and now is forced to adapt to this new, outlandish condition. Another approach to this type of horror is that of Edgar Alan Poe's "Pit and the Pendulum" where a man is bound down to a slab or table and has a swinging blade from above slowly descend down upon him. Body Horror trigger the base-sensational emotion of having devestating or abnormal things happen to the one material thing we all truly own and hold sanctified, our own body.


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