Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Horror

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I've always grown up watching horror movies. Even when I wasn't "allowed" to, I always snuck into the room where my cousins had the movie playing just for a sneak peak. So, tonight while I was watching a Wes Craven movie I was thinking what actually goes into making a "good" horror movie. See, I'm very fussy when it comes to my horror. I love psychological thrillers or supernatural twisters, but I can't stand gore for gore sakes... I can't watch the Saw movies (literally, I fell asleep through the first one and haven't been tempted for the rest).

What are elements of a good horror?
  1. Setting is keyIt doesn't always have to be on a dark and stormy night, but small towns that hold secrets work really well. I have seen a movie that had a lot of scares in a sunflower field and it worked really well. 
  2. The villain never stays dead
    Where would the fun be if the big bad actually died on the first time the hero overpowered it? No, the hero needs to feel safe for a little while before the monster comes back with a vengeance.
  3.  It's not just the body count, but the method
    Slasher flickers are usually not that impressive. I don't care about how many silly teens end up gutted, all that matters is the creativity that goes into those deaths. This also adds to the horror because the viewer knows something is coming but doesn't know what to suspect.
  4. Cheap scares only work if they're scary and unexpected
    I love cheap scares, but every time a mirror is shown in a horror movie you can be certain that they're going to do a ghost in the mirror or something. Now, doing something that the viewer won't expect is something that will really give a scare.
  5. Make the hero question their sanity
    Even going as far as question their innocence. Are they actually the monster that's out there.

I really need to consider these aspects because the story that I'm now concocting is a YA horror, and even though I've watched plenty of horrors, I've never actually written straight up horror. My stories usually end up more supernatural and paranormal fantasy. And, at least to me, horror writing is actually very hard because how would I know if something's truly scary since I'm writing it and know what's going to happen?

And, to leave you all for this fine Saturday and since I'm super excited to see this movie when it gets released on Thursday, here's a clip that I found up taken from good old Australia. 

Do you like horror movies? If so, what's your favourite horror movie? Or, why don't you watch horror movies?


J E Fritz said...

I like the supernatural or psychological thrillers like you. Gore movies don't do it for me, although I have to admit I did enjoy the Saw movies. As for a favorite, I'm not sure. There have been so many movies I've just can I pick just one?

I think your list of the elements of good horror is great--a few of those points are in the horror story I wrote! I'd add only one thing: it's better when the horror is unseen. It's so much scarier to have it creeping through the shadows, hunting the characters.

Tori Cooper said...

Hello Cheree! Thanks for stopping by my blog... well when it comes to horror, I don't do too well. I can't even handle shows like CSI. Since I am such an avid dreamer, I have to watch what I watch because it gets into my subconscious and always comes back up in my dreams... scary! I was always fascinated by others who could handle or even liked scary movies (like my sisters)... ~Tori

Dawn Embers said...

Interesting. I remember seeing the first Scream movie in the movie theater with my mom. I've never been really interested in horror but then again when I think of horror movies I can't help but think of my grandmother. She loves almost any horror movie. When I was young, the only one I remember from her house, I watched a movie called Slumber Party Massacre. She had so many, some of the bad ones too. I get bored easily now with certain horror. I fell asleep trying to watch the Exorcist.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I like horror movies. I like ones like Orphan, the Ring, the Lake House, and I like crazy ones like Gators or Pirahnas.... My teenage daughter and I love watching them and analyzing the writing. :)

Ellie Garratt said...

Awesome advice. I shall bookmark this post and check it against my horror novel plot!

Like you, I don't like gorey movies. I prefer suspense and pyschological terror.

Ellie Garratt

Julie Musil said...

I can't watch horror. At all. I had a hard enough time watching The Sixth Sense. I swear, i couldn't sleep for a week after watching that movie. I'm a total wimp, and I know it.

Jeff Beesler said...

My favorite horror movie is Maximum Overdrive because it's campy, where machines come alive via a passing comet and start offing people.

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