Farrow

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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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 4 years 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 4 years 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 4 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    I think one of the things I appreciate most about FNAF is the level of mystery surrounding everything. There’s a certain level of the unknown that veils not just the story, but the gameplay as well. At the same time that you’re piecing together these mysterious events, you also learn more about the patterns and behaviors of the various animatronics. To an unobservant player, it may initially appear that the way Freddy moves and acts is entirely random, just as the Bite of ’87 may appear to be just a baseless cryptic reference. But with both things, as you play the game more, you learn more about the nature of those things and you come to see that there is something that than that which meets the eye.
    Good article, and I appreciate the extensive analysis of Cawthon’s close-lipped style of storytelling.

    The Narrative of Five Nights at Freddy's

    I agree that this can be true, yes. But I feel like this is largely only the case for less skilled (or less wordy) writers. Personally, I find writing to be easiest activity for me to express my emotions in. I’m a much more eloquent writer than a speaker currently, and I find that the more expansive role of time in writing allows me to more carefully choose my words to express my emotions. Tone and posture and the presence of a face aren’t all that necessary when you’re better able to work the creative juxtaposition of your words.

    The Act of Writing: A Semantic Exploration

    Let me just say that I appreciate your habit of handwriting letters. It’s a sad thing I think for us to lose, and there’s a certain atmosphere about it that can’t be replaced. It’s a very intimate tradition, and one that has obviously existed for hundreds of years. So I’m glad to here someone is keeping it up still. I would myself, but I think most of my friends would give me weird looks at the suggestion.

    The Act of Writing: A Semantic Exploration

    I think for me the most important aspect of writing is the freedom to say whatever I should want to say. The majority of people you talk to today (myself included) will use some sort of “filter” in their interactions with you. That is to say, there are certain things they will and will not talk about and do. I wouldn’t say that the majority of society is superficial, but I would say that the average American citizen isn’t willing to go much further than skin-deep with you in their initial discussions. You have to know someone pretty well before you get a good sense of who they are, and before you can even begin to breach such personal topics as philosophy and religion.

    What I love about writing is that it, for the most part, puts these concerns aside and simply portrays the writer’s voice and its concerns as they are. For me, writing feels so much more intimate than speaking (most of the time and with most people, that is). And the time to think before speaking allows the writer to do away with miscommunication and to present their ideas more along the lines of what’s in their head.

    The Act of Writing: A Semantic Exploration

    I was only introduced to anime like two years ago or so. I’d had friends telling me to watch this or that anime for years, but I never really got around to it. I, like the average American citizen, had a lot of preconceived notions and stereotypes about anime. In particular, fan service was a big problem for me, which I thought to be representative of what I perceived as the immature and escapist nature of the genre.

    Obviously, I’ve since gotten beyond such things, as I now have over a dozen anime series under my belt. But fan service has still been awkward at best. Oftentimes, it’s simply uncomfortable, even when included simply for laughs. I’m a student at the University of St. Thomas myself, and I’m not sure I need to explain how uncomfortable it gets when we’re watching “No Game No Life” on the big projector in the Anime Club’s room with thirty people present and a rather explicit picture of a female character or two comes up. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s more or less awkward when it comes up in shows I’m watching alone. My fear then is that someone will stumble upon me at this moment and think I’m watching some sort of hentai.

    I don’t believe fan service is really ever truly necessary. Any show that uses it for artistic intent could probably use something else to suggest the same thing. This isn’t to say that they necessarily should, but the fact is there that fan service isn’t a must for the genre or any show that’s a part of it.

    I like the example listed of “Monogatari”. I must admit my lack of familiarity with the show, but it sounds like the author/artist made a series of intelligent decisions in regards to his inclusion of “fan service”. It’s in instances like “Monogatari” that I don’t necessarily mind fan service. Honestly, it’s the same thing with any sort of sex scene included in any mainstream movie or Netflix series.

    If it serves a purpose for the show itself, then I don’t necessarily have a problem with fan service. It’s still usually weird and it is still oftentimes unnecessary, but as long as it isn’t included with pornographic intent, then it’s ok, I think.

    Fanservice in Anime: Perception Versus Intent

    This article brings up some very good points about the character of Black Widow, I think. I would hope that if a movie is made for Black Widow, it would be because she is valued as a character and not simply because she happens to be female. I think a possible downside to the progressive agenda in creative content is that it can lead to two-dimensional characters who exist only because of how they serve to expand the variety of the backgrounds of characters. If anything, a movie with a female character should have this aspect as a sort of side quality. Black Widow should be a good, strong character who, as it turns out, just happens to be female.

    If there’s too much of an eye lent toward these issues, we’ll find a hard time looking past anything but the portrayal of genders in movies. Personally, I want movies to be more than that–more than any petty issue related to gender, race, sexuality, or any other discriminating factor.

    I would like a Black Widow movie. But this is because I think the character is an interesting character and because I believe a superhero movie about intrigue (as opposed to mindless, non-stop action) would do well for the franchise. Very much in the same way that Captain America doesn’t deserve a movie just because he’s a man, Black Widow doesn’t necessarily deserve a movie just because she’s a woman. It should be for reasons other than that.

    That being said, this was a good article and I thought it brought up some very valid points about Black Widow and the issues surrounding the character.

    Black Widow: Audiences' Expectations for Female Superheroes