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The Next Step in the Horror Film Industry

What do filmmakers of the horror genre need to do to improve its reception and future in cinemas? I’m not a fan of horror films; my imagination and perception when watching films doesn’t allow me to enjoy them enough. But when I hear about a new horror movie release, there isn’t much praise that follows. It Follows is the most recent movie I’ve heard of that gained great appreciation as a horror film for how it differed itself from other horror movies. Instead of making sequels or prequels to existing horror movie films, would it be better if each new film was of a new subject and story entirely? Would horror films have a better chance if they weren’t sequels and covered a new idea or concepts others before them have yet to?

  • Well, it's easier said than done to say every new movie should cover a new subject or story. There will always be overlap or elements which have been done before. What makes a genre is the repetition of specific characteristics. I'd say there are so many sequels etc. because companies just want to milk the fandom until it's dry, not because they expect it to do as well as the original. You say that mentality is hurting the industry and I'd agree to that. At what point does it become too much? – Slaidey 2 months ago
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  • I'm a major horror film fan and think about this question all the time. Particularly because most popular horror subgenres can often be applied to specific decades (we went from slashers, to torture-porn, to the supernatural). Would be interesting to consider what the next big theme of horror will be. – Sonia Charlotta Reini 1 month ago
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Taken by Jonathan Judd (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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Why make a tonne of low-budget horror films and instead produce a high-quality (higher budget) horror film?

Obviously low-budget horror films make studios a lot of money because they’re easy to produce and there’s always a market for them. There’s also a lot to be said about the low-budget horror film, many of which have been extremely successful. However this mass-production of low-budget horror films has lead to a lot of poor quality horror films to infiltrate the market. I challenge that studios would be able to make a larger profit off higher-quality and high-profile horror films if the invested more into the project. Films like The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs, Shutter Island and The Shining all benefited for larger budgets and in affect created some of the most successful horror films in the past decades.

  • It's wise to say what we mean by 'good' horror films. Most horror films follow a typical formula that makes them very easy to guess and insanely predictable. I remember one in particular called Cabin in the Woods Couldn't get through it. – Adnan Bey 11 months ago
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  • I made it through Cabin in the Woods, with anticipation that it would get better. I also watched because of Chris Hemsworth. So in addition to the quality over quantity in the low-budget horror films perhaps, you can also look at the cast. Which would probably fall into the category of the higher budget to pay an actor who has a following. So good writing, directing, acting and location would be some factors to examine in this article regarding quality and quantity. – Venus Echos 11 months ago
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  • It's certainly complicated. As you mentioned, in the short run, cheaper horror movies like ones filmed on a handheld (found footage films) tend to make A LOT compared to their meager budgets, no matter if they're actually competent. They attract audiences who seek potential thrills and make back what little they spend and then triple that profit, which encourages studios to produce them. It's less about the money to me and more of a) the intentions behind creating the film and b) where the money actually goes. Not going to name names, but a movie can have a lot of money poured into it and still have an incomprehensible script and an over-reliance on CGI. (Not going to name Gods of Egypt, which isn't a horror movie unless you consider that its director was the same director as The Crow and his current film work is horrific.) If I were to advise anyone who writes this topic, I would suggest addressing not just encouraging higher quality in terms of equipment and effects, but taking the time to consider the script and purpose of the film, as well as, like Venus Echos mentioned, casting the right people and not necessarily relying on facial/star recognition. – Emily Deibler 11 months ago
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  • The Blair Witch Project (1999) should be one of the films covered. This was a haunting film. Perhaps due to the psychological fear of the unknown, our own imagination can be better than a formulaic production. This example would fit with the categories of unknown actors, script, and director. This low budget film made by film students had an estimated budget of $60,000 with an opening weekend made $1,512.054 per IMDb. – Venus Echos 11 months ago
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  • I think that you make a good point! Horror films that are low budget, but still not good in quality are really not worth making! And if I were you, I'd probably get some advice from people who write, produce, or direct horror films. (Like Stephen King for instance.) If you e-mail him, he could probably give you some good advice as to why and how the horror film making industry works, and how it could work better! – autena 11 months ago
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Memoir to Wes Craven

On August 30 2015, Wes Craven passed away. He was known for slasher films, in particular, A Nightmare on Elm Street. This article will go in-depth about Wes Craven’s contribution to the horror genre, and be an informative article about this film director.

  • Minor note but "Nightmare of Elm street" should've been "A Nightmare on Elm Street," as far as the title of that film goes. In any case though, another film that needs to been mentioned in an article about Wes Craven is The Last House on the Left (1972) because that was his first film and it was followed by so much controversy over both its advertising (i.e. the tagline "it is only a movie, only a movie...") and its then controversial subject matter of graphic rape and revenge. – dsoumilas 1 year ago
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What makes horror Horror?

There’s a large volume of stuff out there that makes up the horror genre. But for all its variety, it just feels like there’s a lot of the same thing. With the recent and upcoming horror movies of "The Boy" and "The Forest" (featuring famous actresses from "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones", respectively), one has to wonder whether anything new is being done here. Tried-and-true tropes seem to be the basis for these movies, and one might wonder as to the prevalence of these tropes throughout a whole slew of horror movies from the past decade.

When you say "horror movie", most people probably think of dolls, knives, clowns, gore, axe murderers, and–most prominently–‘jump scares’. These are all well-recognized symbols and elements of the genre. As far as a topic goes, I think it would be interesting to talk about what really separates horror movies from each other. Not necessarily just in general–a large part of discussion might be what in particular separates ‘good’ horror movies from ‘bad’ horror movies. In the end, what makes a movie uniquely scary?

  • How interesting! The only trouble with this topic is that the writer will have to be very careful to remain objective about "good" and "bad" horror films. – sophiacatherine 1 year ago
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  • Yes! Totally agree with the above. Good/Bad can be viewed through feedback from critics, commercial success, reviews, cinematography, storyline quality, as long as it remains consistent throughout the article. – MichelleAjodah 1 year ago
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  • I would think horror is best when it disturbs you, mystifies you, and makes you think: makes you second guess yourself. If horror can affect you for days afterwards, then it's done its job. The simpler horror stories are the ones which are gross, or just bizarre and gothic, but not strictly creepy or disturbing on a psychological level. There are also slasher films where people are murdered throughout the movie, but only the original "Halloween," "Friday the 13th" (the first one), and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (and a few others) have actually made the concept scary and freaky: whereas most of the rest just follow the killer as the protagonist, and the kills are far more creative and a means for dark humorous laughter more than they are for genuine terror and screams. Horror can also have different gradations of "scarriness," especially when it comes to children's horror and adult horror. Although the difference between "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits" vs "Goosebumps" and "Are You Afraid of the Dark" is pretty minimal, except in how well they are written and how good their twists are. You also can have gross out horror with psychologically disturbing horror, such as the first two "Hellraiser" films, "The Thing," and "From Beyond." But we haven't had many really weird sci-fi horror films like that since the 1980s. I honestly wish we could bring some of that side of horror back. – Jonathan Leiter 1 year ago
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"If it's not Scary, it's not a Horror Film"

A discussion revolving around how horror films are more than just about how scary they are and that the scare factor does not solely define a movie as a horror.

There are films that are visually/semantically not horror films (Alien is THE example) yet the arc of the film strongly resembles that of a horror film.

Horror films usually have some sort of political/social/cultural message to them. There was an Israeli called "Rabies" (or "Kalevet") that had incredibly strong political viewpoints about it’s home country wonderfully summed up by the last line in the film, "Country full of shits."

Of course, this could be taken to include how horror movies should also be scary and how that is still an important but not integral aspect to the genre. Also the concept of how what we are scared by/how scared we are is more subjective than objective would be an interesting point for discussion.

  • I love this topic idea. I feel like "scary" in modern terms tends to deal with "how many jumpscares are there," which is a technique typically misused in many contemporary horror movies. There are many movies as you mentioned that create a certain atmosphere (Alien; Silence of the Lambs) to the point that while they don't traditionally get labeled as horror (sci-fi; thriller), they have a certain tension and resonate on certain visceral levels of both the audience's and the characters' fears. This is similar to how a lot of people didn't see "The Babadook" as scary because it didn't have many jumpscares or scenes where it openly showed the monster, but it relied on dread and the topic of suppressed grief. Similar to how the movie you mention deals with politics, sometimes horror movies are terrifying because of what they reveal about humanity, i.e. Psycho. I'd also say that this goes back to Ann Radcliffe's "horror vs. terror" debate and the issue of ambiguity and unclearness. Unclearness creates terror, but it seems obscuring certain elements like not revealing the monster or not having obvious jumpscares can make viewers impatient or have the movie be seen as "not trying to be scary enough." For this topic, I'd definitely look into what "scary" means to viewers and if that element is necessary for an effective movie. Or can "scary" be wielded effectively? – emilydeibler 1 year ago
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  • I forgot to add in the main body of the topic that also the "monster" within a horror film can also represent fears of nations, societies, governments etc. For example, in the film "Them!" giant ants attack an American city and they are portayals of the fears of nuclear and atomic bombs, both those used during WWII and the testing of such weapons done in some unpopulated space in America. Along with this the "monster" can also be representative of sexual repression of certain groups (homosexuals I think is one example) of people; I believe Robin Wood wrote something regarding this that would be incredibly helpful. – Jamie White 1 year ago
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  • Along the same lines of what Emily wrote, it seems these days that a "good" horror film incorporates a lot of gore, jump scares, and violence. I don't think a horror film has to have all of these, but they do have to be scary in SOME way to be billed as a horror film. That being said, horror, like violence, can be implemented into a film in a purposeful way without making it simply spectacular or gratuitous. It's about balancing between cringe-worthy and necessary. – Christina Legler 1 year ago
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Horror, Subversion, and Anxiety: The Female Role

It’s that time of year again, the perfect time to cuddle up with a cup of something hot and binge out on horror movies. Much has been written about zombies and vampires reflecting social anxiety regarding mindless consumerism and disease; let’s take it a step further and analyze movies with (anti-?)feminist themes. What do we learn about the pathologizing of young girls in "The Exorcist"? Or, to take a newer horror film, is the vampire in "A Girl Walks Home at Night" a rogue feminist? The possibilities are endless, and bloody, and endlessly bloody.

  • I often wonder about the significance of female characters as the protagonists in horror films. I remember reading Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell talking (somewhat shamefaced) about how, as college students, they thought Evil Dead would be scarier if it was so frightening, it would make a grown man afraid - hence, the rare male lead (Ash Williams).The contradiction of placing a woman in the role of "fear" (weakness) while also being the "hero" (strength) in the horror genre is very interesting and would be sure to generate a lot of conversation. I think about Alien, Scream...the female protagonist is often abused and exploited, but in the end, she is the one to makes it out alive. This certainly says a lot about cultural views of women. – risserca 1 year ago
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  • Great topic. I do think horror movies sort of reflect societies views on women, like the mention of The Exorcist and such. – Austin Bender 1 year ago
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  • This is interesting, I would be interested in seeing a point of comparison between the representation of women in American Psycho and The Quiet Ones. Another intriguing analysis could be in the early horror cinema, like Tod Browning's Dracula and other horror films of the 1930s. – emilyinmannyc 1 year ago
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  • I've never fully considered this before, but it might call into question the female presence in low-budget campy horror to add aesthetic appeal and remain in the background of the plot, but also the demonisation of female sexuality in things such as vampire movies. – OliviaBurgin 1 year ago
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  • I think it has much to do with innocence. Either innocence is something that should be protected from demons or innocence is terrifying when it is tainted by evil. – Candice Evenson 1 year ago
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The Evolution of Horror Writing

Horror as a genre has evolved so much since the first stories were written. Today Dracula would be considered tame while during the time it was written, it was considered too scary. The same with Camilla, one the first vampire stories which predated Dracula, it was even more scandalous since it involved a lesbian vampire. Today we have the writings of Stephen King and Dean Koontz that reach far out of most people’s comfort zone.

It seems that society has a whole has become desensitized to the fear of horror writing. Is it because we are subjected to it so much?

  • Are you suggesting writing a piece which examines the way society has become desensitized to fear? Or a study on the way horror writing as evolved alongside societal norms? Or maybe neither of those things? Can you provide a bit more information on what it is you'd like to see done with this interesting idea? – Bo 1 year ago
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  • Thanks for the note! I went ahead and updated the topic based on your suggestions. – Hpfan28 1 year ago
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  • Interesting...Personally, I think it is the topics that do appear feasible in horror movies, which inflict the most terror in a viewer's mind. For example, yes, Dracula would be tame, because most of us do not believe in vampires, especially one's that morph into bats, sleep in coffins, etc. Yet, when the bad guy is recognizable, the viewer is more likely to place themselves into the role of the tormented victim. This is similar to the discussion of terror versus horror. Terror is when a fearful object makes one nervous or upset, but does not arose heightened emotions because it is so far from one's realm of existence. Whereas horror is closer, tangible, believable, and instills fear because it exists within a viewer's realm of existence. One of the scariest movies is "Silence of the Lambs," due to the psychological content and the reality of serial killers. In regards to us being desensitized...I think if a good horror movie was made, people would be frightened, especially due to being subjected to paranormal one thousand and twenty. – danielle577 1 year ago
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  • Interesting, I would recommend mentioning the increase of jump scares in modern, mainstream films. – Austin Bender 1 year ago
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The Emergence of Horror Games

Why are horror games such as Until Dawn becoming so popular? How have they changed from indie pc horror games? Why are we so fascinated by them now?

  • This subject will likely need to explore the history of horror games, and even a little of horror stories and films, in order to answer why the genre has grown in video-game form.I also think it's clear that a big turning point was the premiere of "Amnesia: The Dark Descent." But there are surely other games that helped build up the credibility of the genre, at least as far as "good horror" goes. There's still plenty of weak, "jump-scare" ridden horror out there, as there has been for years. – Jonathan Leiter 1 year ago
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  • Time of the year has a big influence. It's nearly Halloween. – Ylatten 1 year ago
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  • I think the fascination of being scared excites a lot of people, and recently viewers have turned to more immersive types of media instead of just watching a movie. Plus the the explosion of "let's plays" on YouTube has added to this excitement because viewers love seeing their favorite commentator get the sh*t scared out of them. – AustinDrozin 1 year ago
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  • I think people are becoming more intrigued by the graphics and stories of games. I also agree with what Ylatten said, halloween is right around the corner. But that only comes with Until Dawn. My main point would be people are becoming more and more interested in stories. Until Dawn is hardly a game in my point. Most of the time you are watching videos and just choosing how the story will play out. As virtual reality headsets start becoming more popular, so will Horror Games. – Chris R. 1 year ago
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The dark attraction to violence in anime

A question of whether violence attract more audience to anime. Why are audiences attracted to bloodshed, gore and violence? A recent study from researchers at the University of Augsburg, Germany and the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered that people are more likely to watch movies and anime with gory scenes of violence if they felt there was meaning in confronting violent aspects of real life.

  • Some anime have violence, just like some books, movies, games, tv shows, etc. There are plenty of anime that have no violence and are still considered great among their many fans. Violence in fiction is often put in to raise the stakes. If our protagonist could be hurt/killed audiences get more invested in their well being due to the fact that their well being isnt guaranteed. Thats true with ALL fiction (and a lot of non fiction). Your topic proposal lacks any type of real question to be investigated. A topic that you could explore with this could be comparing the use of violence in popular anime. Is there a connection between the desprate and brutal struggle of the Attack on Titan universe and the militaristic violence of the Bleach universe. Narrow down the topic and explore it more otherwise all you're saying is "things have violence in them" – Cojo 1 year ago
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