Creative Writing Major based out of the Twin Cities with published short fiction in his college's literary journal: Under Construction.
Junior Contributor I
Stephen King's Best Work Is Not Horror
Stephen King has built his career being the foremost prolific and successful horror storyteller of our generation. Or has he?
In his almost fifty years of publishing stories, he has a tendency to repeat the tales and tropes he finds interesting again and again because if there’s one thing King is not afraid of, it’s putting out his first draft while he hones in the story. "Here’s my story about a murderous car. No, wait. Here is my story about a murderous car. Okay, hang on. This is my story about a murderous car."
Controversially, King’s best work is when he branches away from the supernatural, the ghostly, and the otherworldly and steps into the realm of ordinary people in real situations. An author who after a car accident is taken in by a crazed fan only to be brutalized, a man wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his wife succumbing to life behind bars but secretly plotting his escape, or an author is murdered and his killer stashes his unpublished works before being sent to prison but after his release goes in search of his hidden treasure only to find a child has stumbled upon his prize and the lengths he is prepared to go to get back what is his. All of these scenarios are horrifying, but in a wholly different way than utilizing some fantastical element like telekinesis or inter-dimensional monsters.
It is at the core of stories like these that we find real characters that we can relate and connect to and it is there that we find the heart and capability of Stephen King’s true storytelling abilities.
New Old Horror: An Introspective Look Into How Old Horror Tropes Are Revitalizing The Current Horror Genre
Since the introduction of the horror genre, our love for being terrified has only grown. What is it about being frightened to death that makes us feel alive? Is the rush of being able to view others in horrifying situations from the safety of our homes a voyeuristic thrill? Oh, you better believe it.
The trouble is, what happens when the familiar tropes stop scaring us and the over saturation of horror films reaches critical mass and we can no longer reach the same euphoric terror we once had? Unfortunately, the same ideas from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s have been rehashed and repackaged so many times over to the point where the things that should scare us couldn’t even frighten a small child.
Hollywood’s peddling of mediocre films has flooded the genre into a frail, shambling corpse of its former glory. The lumbering serial killer pursuing its victims at a pace never exceeding that of a brisk walk, the family wronged by a group of depraved lunatics to the point where the only justice is bloody vengeance, a small group surviving the never-ending onslaught against an insurmountable force, and the supernatural/demonic force that wants to inhabit our heroes has been driven into the ground so deep that you’d think Jason Vorhees had his undead boot pressing on the back of its skull.
However, there are some directors that exist today that are able to take the old, outdated tropes from these bygone eras and bring them up to date in refreshingly gruesome ways. Directors like Robert Eggers, Leigh Whannel, Jennifer Kent, David Robert Mitchell, Panos Cosmatos, and Jeremy Saulnier have all contributed to the revitalization of modern horror by taking what made the previous generation’s horror movies that we loved great and updated them to fit into our current world.
Taking an introspective look into new films, what they’ve adapted from earlier cinema, and how they’ve redefined tropes to make them stand among the best of what modern horror has to offer.
How long was Phil Connors Trapped in the Time Loop? (Groundhog's Day)
In the 1993 film Groundhog’s Day, Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors became trapped in an ever-repeating time loop, reliving the same events of a single day in a small Pennsylvanian town. But how long was Phil actually trapped? How many days, months, and years transpired as he became a villain, suicidal, and ultimately the (problematic) hero and broke free?
Does waking up next to Rita the next morning completely void their relationship because of his intimate knowledge of her due to his repetitive cycle of cheating his way into her heart? Oh, yeah, and let’s talk about why.