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? ;)