Thursday, April 29, 2010

Be Afraid - Horror Post

Thanks to everyone that expressed interest in a post about Horror. It seems like quite a few of you think of slasher movies when you consider the genre of Horror. I used to think the same way, and I think that's probably why the genre has kind of disbanded with all of it's parts joining other genres.

Horror and slasher are not the same thing. In actuality, Horror is essentially a study of morality. It always deals with good vs. evil as well as life vs. death. Generally it has an aspect of the supernatural, although it doesn't necessarily have to.

Another defining characteristic of Horror is that it tries to achieve a very specific physiological reaction from the audience. A shiver down the spine, a rapid pulse, an inability to sit in dark places again for days--weeks--months. There is a kind of catharsis involved with movies/books of this nature that is a large part of the draw.

What I love about Horror is the ability to deal safely with things that are not, in reality,

One interesting thing about me (and my lovely friend, Suzette Saxton shares this attribute) is that both of us like writing darker Horror-tinged topics and scenes... but neither of us can watch scary movies. We have a theory about why that is. We think it has to do with the fact that with books your mind controls what it visualizes and it sticks within an area you can handle. With writing, we know how it's going to end and that helps make the darkness a little less scary as well.

So really, maybe I'm on a power trip. The idea of something I'm writing eliciting a physiological reaction from my reader makes me want to purr.

What do you think? If you write dark, what do you love about it? If you don't, did this definition of Horror surprise you? Do tell.

Tomorrow I will post some darker scenes from my current WIP, Insomnia. :) Also, on Monday, I'll be participating in Elana Johnson's "Spread the Awesome" blogfest and I'll be highlighting debut-author and Horror-master Dan Wells. I'll also be giving away a signed copy of his book "I'm Not a Serial Killer." One of my all time faves.

It is full of awesome.

Be there, or be...scared? ;)


  1. I love this post - I tend to writer darker stories, and your definition of horror was spot on.

  2. What an awesome post! You hit the horror nail on the head. Slasher isn't scary, mainly just gross. But horror? The scariest kind is the kind where there is no slashing.

  3. BTW, how in the world was I not following your blog already???

  4. I hate horror movies, but since reading Dan's book I'm more willing to go with you on the horror genre. Dan's book was excellent, creepy and very moral. I do feel like I want more. I don't know if I want to write horror, but I'm more open to reading it as long as it doesn't have a lot of profanity and sex - like Stephen King novels.

  5. Christine - Thanks! I'm glad you like it!

    Bethany - How in the world were you not following my blog already? At least that's been remedied now. ;)

    Mary - Yeah, typical horror movies are actually slashers. And being very moral, many horror books and movies have little to no profanity or sex. Think "The Sixth Sense", H.P. Lovecraft, etc. I think you'll like most of it more than you expect.

  6. I love the suspense stories and they don't have a lot of slasher stuff in them. I can't wait to hear about Dan's book. =)

  7. I think books can be scarier than movies because my imagination is so vivid. I generally steer clear from exclusively Horror genre novels with a few exceptions. I *might* be able to write them... because of the control I'd have, but I wouldn't be able to research my genre's contemporaries without needing a nightlight.

  8. I tend to shy away from Horror, for the same reasons you described. I don't like the slasher element. Of course, I don't like people messing with my mind either. I like to live in my own little world where everything is happy and the people are all nice. I know it doesn't exist, but...

    Maybe it's time to give it another try. Maybe.

  9. Jenn,
    I liked your definition of horror with its physiological implications.

  10. I never thought of horror that way. I love a good suspense novel. And if it gets too scary you can always put the in the freezer to cool it off. ;)

  11. So true...I can remember reading early Stephen King and being terrified to stick a toe out from beneath my covers. For some reason, I figured if I kept my entire self under the blanket while reading, I would be okay. :)

    Good times...maybe I should get back into the horror game. Any good recommendations?

  12. I'm one of those who also thought horror and slasher were the same thing.

    Can't wait to read your review on Monday. :D