On our last Quackcast I had a realization about one of the recurring elements that shows up in a lot of horror I like.
It's the hidden nature of horror. When someone, or something, appears normal or even extra sweet or appealing, but hides nasty stuff beneath.
It's in the compelling-in-grim-way idea of sociopaths and psychopaths, mixing in with everyone else, appearing completely normal but with a different nature to them. A dangerous one in some cases.
That concept exaggerated for fiction would encompass people who are possessed in some way, or doppelgangers of the people we think we know. It's the basis of the effective horror of The Thing, and the chilling concept of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (though I've seen a few versions of that story and in execution I've never found any of them scary in the least.
It might relate to the masked killer genre I enjoyed so much, and in scary clowns, where the surface is happy and appealing (at least they're intended to be) with a gruesome reality behind the mask.
It's in the seemingly normal, upper-class types in Rosemary's Baby and Get Out who conceal a disturbing reality.
Or the normal suburban environment in Halloween where Michael Myers quietly stalks.
Some environment that's creepy from the get-go might be able to tell an effective scary story - but to me it's more rare for that to be effective.
It's the person, or people, or the house, street or town that seems normal, seems like one thing…
It applies to music too - some of the horror flicks I saw as a kid would start not with ‘scary music’ but with gregorian chants - or I guess choral music, in latin. Automatically creepy.
There's a song about monsters that's performed in a cheerful way, with a light comedic touch, but it's
very creepy and perfect for a horror movie theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2UPvqpGPSM
Granted, this is such a common element in all genres - we start with a surface understanding of people or situations or the environment and we learn more truths as we go along.
But it's extra powerful when a normal or even extra appealing/attractive hides a terribleness underneath.
It's one of the deep reasons that horror creeps me out: the idea that horrible truths are hidden beneath a plain or pleasant exterior.
It's also, i guess, one of the lessons of the horror genre…
It just might save your life.
Or maybe not…
have a good one!
Banes at 12:00AM, Oct. 22, 2020
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