1. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Horror Scary or not scary

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by MilesTro, Jul 8, 2015.

    Do you think a horror story needs to be scary or doesn't have to be scary. If it isn't scary, then what would make it a horror story.
     
  2. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    If it's not scary then it's not really a horror story ...

    The term I give to "horror" that isn't scary per say is "thriller."
     
  3. james82
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    james82 Member

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    Good question, and as someone who is currently writing a horror script right now,
    my number one objective is to make sure my story is scary first and foremost.

    And the reason is, I see all of these teasers and trailers to all of these upcoming horror films
    that just continue to follow trends and do not in the slightest way come across as scary
    that it makes me want to just write an orginal horror film that I would actually go to
    the theaters and pay money to see, and that hasn't happened in a very long time.

    But for me, it has to be more than just scary. 'Scary' should be a necessity in the genre you
    plan on tackling, it's horror, I expect to be scared. But for me, and I've mentioned this before,
    I like to see a mix of the piece being both scary and clever, as well as it being extraordinary
    in some way. Things that aren't necessarily expected in a horror film/story.

    Now how does a horror film/story achieve that? Well, basically you take something that
    is scary in real life, something the whole world can identify with, and you present it in a
    way that has not only never been done or attempted before, but in a way that also comes
    across as both clever & extraordinary through the execution of it's core concept and how
    it's written.

    The Descent is literally the last horror film that truly scared me.
    So let's go through a quick breakdown as to why that film was so effective within it's genre:

    The non-cliche all female cast.
    The colony of humanoid-like creatures that have thrived in the dark underground
    for thousands of years and hunt like a bat < a more believable monster(s) overall than the
    unstoppable cliched-slasher villain or something of the supernatural kind.

    The plot? She left her best friend behind before making her final plunge to escape the cave
    due to personal reasons that the exposition reveals at the start of the movie, then plays with a
    little more in the middle of the movie when they are in the heat of the battle w/ those creatures,
    and then finally pays off at the end of the movie. It's actually done quite well in my opinion.

    But the reason why the film works as a whole though is because just when you think it can't get any
    worse once the girls get stranded & lost deep within the cave after part of it collapses and they are
    already dealing w/ claustrophobia, we come to see, after an hour into the film, the first creature
    and the fact that they are being hunted by it.

    And then it gets even worse, there isn't just one creature, but an entire colony down there.

    Then it gets even worse, they hunt by sound, so now in order to survive they have to try to escape while
    being quite.

    Then it gets even worse, they come to find that no one has ever come out of the cave alive,
    as they discover hundred year old gear from former spelunkers.

    So their situation just continues to get worse and worse and worse. That's how a horror film should operate
    and that's exactly how The Descent operates. Not to mention the underlying theme of the film which is a
    very rare attribute to apply & highlight in a horror film/story. <That's where the cleverness comes in,
    that the cave itself actually destroyed her. Not only did she descend into the cave, but by the end,
    she had descended into madness. I suggest you watch the descent if you haven't already, but avoid
    it's sequel at all costs.

    So with that, you should be striving to make your story scary, but keep in my mind to
    giving it that touch of cleverness. That's my advice, because again, a lot of the crap that's
    being made today, in terms of film as that's more in my area of expertise, it is NOT scary,
    like at all. And your piece being scary, that is what will make it memorable within it's genre.

    That it WAS actually scary.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
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  4. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    True horror isn't about what you can see, but about what you can't.

    The definition of horror is an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust; so I guess in a way it doesn't have to be scary to be a horror story.

    Flags of our Fathers is a movie that portrays horrific scenes of war that may disgust younger viewers. Could this be considered as horror even though the genre of the movie is historic?

    I guess it really depends on what you find scary. If you don't mind looking for 8 pages in a dark forest while being chased by a man with no face, then technically that doesn't count as horror.

    It seems nowadays horror is based on how the majority reacts. If a lot of people react to something scared, then it's automatically deemed as horror. However if you don't find something scary that somebody else does this questions whether or not said thing is actually horrific.
     
  5. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    If a horror isn't scary, what defines it as horror?
     
  6. Aaron Smith
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    I have not read that much horror, but I have seen a fair share of horror movie. Regardless, they both incorporate the same elements, but they are executed differently.

    Fear is simply true horror that is visible. After watching the Conjuring, I realized how true this is. There is a scene that takes place in the night. Two sisters are sharing a room, and after building suspense (very well) they show us the horror: a demon appears on top of the wardrobe. The imagery is so frightening that it genuinely scared me, and when it comes to the fictitious I am not that easily moved. I think that is partially what makes a horror story scary: vivid suspense followed by something that is inherently terrifying.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    per se ;) It's Latin, means by itself. Pro se means for oneself.

    I agree with your post, though.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It's in the word: “Horror”. If the audience doesn't feel horror and/or disgust, then the book isn't doing its job.

    Now, what kind of horror depends on the person individually. Some like the kind of horror where a serial nutcase is coming after our helpless protagonist. Others prefer a more supernatural element to it (ghosts and zombies being the most popular.) Even others prefer psychological horror in their books.

    For me, the best kind of horror is the subtle normal, yet not so normal. There's something there that's a little off, you can't quite put your finger on it but it's patently clear that all is not well with the scene/situation.
     
  9. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    There are different types of things referred to as 'horror'. There's unnerving stuff, outright frightening stuff, unsettling stuff, sickening stuff ... I think that classifying it all as 'horror' is a bit weird, personally. But that's how it is.

    Thread might find this vsauce video interesting:



    IMO - 'scary' is not a requisite part of horror. It's a type of horror.
     
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  10. Eliza Rain
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    Eliza Rain Member

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    I can only remember one single book when I was maybe 13 that gave me the chills. The horror genre has been falling flat recently through all mediums in my opinion. 'Horror' (and I use that word very loosely) in novels to me never seems to be... Complete? Movies (and even they cant even remember what scary is anymore) have not only a visual but audial advantage that really give us as an audience the ability to feel scared. In books, I suppose its possible too to make things suspenseful and 'scary' but it has to be perfect. The classic horrors were scary to the people at the time because of the initial idea. With society being what it is nowadays we're so desensitized to what used to actually give us the creepy crawlies. So every creators job has just gotten ten times harder.

    In short... I suppose horror can be scary, but suspenseful is probably the best that I've seen. If you do happen to create the a magnum opus of nightmares though, id gladly tip my hat.
     
  11. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    One thing I'm not particularly fond of is how modern horror fans attack the cliches in horror, but in return are given worse, pretentious films attempting to self-proclaim originality. Those movies are even temporarily glorified by each and every film hipster, but as soon as it's over....it's over. Just like any other trend.

    Fortunately, I prefer some older recipes for horror. I really loved the atmosphere and not knowing every single fact about the killer. Who or what is that man behind the mask? What drives that person to kill? Forget about asking, it's time to RUN. Perhaps there is something mysterious and supernatural at work. I believe the magic is destroyed as soon as they break it down for the audience. "Oh, he was just suffering from mental illness and suicidal tendencies." That's every other person in any city of any country. That's more cliche than what people deem to be cliche.

    I think that's why horror movies suck today. People think they know everything and want "original" material. They spoil the experience for themselves before entering the theater.
     
  12. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    If anyone is interested....

     
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  13. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    I like Ti West. His film 'House Of the Devil' was very 80's. The Innkeepers was okay.
     
  14. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    @theoriginalmonsterman I knew there was another video I meant to link! :D
     
  15. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    To answer your question, horror is presented so the viewers/readers respond in an emotional way, usually negatively. If you take a look at wikipedia, they mention what horror is usually based on. Nightmares, fears or even fear of what we don't know.

    I think you might have to ask yourself this:

    Do you want to write dark material without it being "scary"?

    Or are you trying to write a horror story and you're wondering about the pre-requisites?

    Also, if this is some kind of trick question because usual horror films don't scare you, it is what it is. I'm afraid of bugs, but I wouldn't be afraid of a killer in a mask. My gf would be afraid of a killer in a mask, but she'll take care of bugs like GI JANE. This world is truly imbalanced, but there's nothing we can do about it.
     
  16. No-Name Slob
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    Yeah, I was on my phone and it autocorrected. OOPS's.
     
  17. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Kinda like that.

    Oopsies*
     
  18. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Well I have a horror short story in progress, which are about a group of Queen Bee high school boarding girls, who are vampires. And they hunt monsters at night to protect their turf. I don't know if having the characters as monsters instead of victims would make the story scary. It is basically like Sailor Moon meets Mean Girls meets Blood The Last Vampire. Plus it will have some humor in it.

    There will also be a planned novel that focus on a nerdy girl who ends up joining the vampire monster hunters. The short is meant to promote that vampire novel.
     
  19. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    Well, this sounds very anime influenced and with anime you can really find yourself in a blend. That's perfectly normal though, you can write about these gothic characters, but it doesn't necessarily need to be categorized as HORROR ANIME. Also, you can just add some genres in there like keywords when you make a thread. Gothic-Horror-Comedy,etc. There are many anime movies and shows that aren't just under one genre.
     
  20. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    It does have that anime influence. I got that idea from thinking what if the Sailor Moon girls are vampires. And instead of being colorful girls, they are Mean Girls with dark pasts.
     
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  21. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    You guys have read It, The Shining, Pet Cemetery? No? Just me?

    Or just look up Edgar Allan Poe considering he was one of the main people who influenced the genre. Tell Tale Heart or The Monkey's Paw are classic examples of horror stories.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  22. Mordred85
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    Go for it and see what you can come up with. Sounds like it can be good.
     
  23. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Here is another video, which explains what is wrong with modern horror movies. Chris Stuckmann is one of my favorite youtube critics. He is good at critiquing movies without being too over dramatic.

     
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  24. Aaron Smith
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    Unfortunately you don't have the benefit of jumpscares in literature.
     
  25. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    You can only achieve the emotion of fear in literature to make it sound scary.
     

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