check out and enjoy the rollercoaster ride? Personally, I find the feeling of fear and dread invigorating. For me, the fear makes me feel alive! Plus, on an intellectual level, I love playing the “what if” game when it comes to the subject matter. What if that was me? What would I do differently?
What do you consider horror in entertainment? What works, what doesn’t? What qualities or characteristics are necessary for these mediums to be considered horror? These are all questions I’ve been exploring with the Facebook community as of late.
I think the term horror itself is a very broad. Just like everything else, there are a lot of sub-genres in the horror niche. When I asked, what kind of horror stories people enjoyed, I received answers such as Asian horror, chupacabras, Orson Scott Card’s “Lost Boys”, to real-world isolation/lost-in-the-woods-about-to-die-from-the-elements-and-my-cellphone-doesn’t-work type stories. Delving further, I asked, what qualities make a good horror story. I received answers such as humor, ability to relate realism, suspense, humanist, emotion and great characterization/plot to name a few.
One characteristic that came up the most was the ability to relate. I tend to agree on this point. I think pure horror works best when it could happen to you. Whether it is a slasher, or a haunting, or a good old fashioned monster flick, if it involves people and places that the consumer can relate to, it hits home quickly. It invokes that fear that the character portrayed could be you, that the noise in the darkness maybe isn’t just the wind or the house settling. Then the “what if” starts to make an appearance and that’s when the magic of entertainment happens.
During one of my college workshops at Seton Hill University, a teacher challenged what main theme we constantly wrote about, whether consciously or unconsciously. After a little thinking, I noticed that my theme was about separation or loss of loved ones. A lot of my stories involved the main character either trying to reunite with family, or dealing with the fallout of losing family. I’ve come to grips with the fact that this is one of my major fears as well. For me, I’m afraid of losing loved ones. Stories or movies that play on that theme
really hit a chord with me.
In conclusion, I challenge all of you out there. What scares you? Now go write about it!