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    Latest Topics


    What makes a scary movie...scary?

    Examine the elements of horror movies that are generally considered the most effective at scaring, disturbing, or unsettling audiences, and how these have changed over the decades, from early silent films to Hitchcock’s masterpieces to modern remakes.

    • One direction this article could go could be to make a list of the recurring motifs in horror film according to film theorist Robin Wood, which are Psychos, Nature, Satanism and possession, the Terrible Child, and Cannibalism. It could also explore the idea of repression and the Other in film, not to mention the idea of horror originating from something totally normal being scarier than horror originating from the outside world. – VelvetRose 9 years ago
    • What's interesting to note here is the mood and setting when sitting down to watch a horror film. The setting created by the atmosphere of the movie and the music's score help turn things which would normally not be scary for some, and makes them terrifying. Example, I am not scared of clowns but you be darn sure I freaked while watching IT for the first time. – cdenomme96 9 years ago
    • Whoever takes on this article should also consider comparing older films with their remakes and examine the changes. Classic horror movies are known for being terrifying while remakes are often bland and watered down. It may be easier to pinpoint what makes a movie scary. – Vexliss 8 years ago
    • Great idea! Music is so important too. – Munjeera 8 years ago
    • The psychology of scaring people is fascinating, especially once you get past the often-cheap jump scare: the mechanics of tension building are deeply interesting, and the part that music plays in making something terrifying cannot be understated. – Barselaar 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Great article! Adapting books to film is so complicated and interesting, I love learning about it.

    Do We Need the Author's Approval in a Film Adaptation?

    I enjoyed the history of women and fairy tales-it’s always important to look at women’s oft-overlooked role in creative history! However, I don’t entirely agree with you that modern movies are over-sensationalizing fairy tales or cheapening motifs. Many of the original stories, including many of the Grimm Brothers’ and Little Red Riding Hood, are short, superficial and HIGHLY sensational. Red Riding Hood has long been a story about sexual awakening and womanhood, and there are several Grimm Brothers stories are shockingly violent: Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off parts of their feet and have their eyes plucked out!

    The Formidable Fairy Tale: A Writer's Guide

    You raise a really interesting question about fiction writing. Thanks for discussing such a difficult but pertinent subject!

    Joyce Carol Oates and Ethical Writing