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Published

The Shining, and Shelley Duvall

The Shining is a masterpiece horror, but Shelley Duvall, who plays Wendy Torrance had to go through a lot of stress while filming the climactic scene where Jack is attempting to hit her with a baseball bat as she ascends the stairs of the Overlook Hotel. To capture the character’s distress and fear, director Stanley Kubrick retook the scene multiple times, and made the actress feel distressed and isolated on set. Although this lead to capturing a powerful scene, where do we draw the line in our quest for making a masterpiece?

  • An interesting idea that's worth exploring. A lot of the old classic movies have harsh treatments of their stars, especially the female actors, behind the scenes that would be completely inappropriate and condemned if it were to happen now. – kerrybaps 5 months ago
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  • I agree with kerrybaps. Certainly worth exploring, especially as many people have no idea that such treatment is still happening. There are certain directors who attain an almost god-like status and sometimes that power can go to their heads. Although I've never been repeated threatened with a baseball bat on set, I did work as an extra on one particular film during which we 'underlings' we left exposed to the elements for so long that three of us were eventually removed from set, suffering from early stages of hypothermia - and all because a certain director needed us to look exhausted, ragged and frozen. Unfortunately, in the film world even actresses of the same calibre as Shelley Duvall are all too aware that they can be replaced, and so feel pressurised into accepting such treatment. It's a dirty world. – Amyus 5 months ago
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  • This feels like a nitpick but was it not Wendy who wielded the baseball bat in that scene? It also wasn't just that one scene either. Shelly Duvall was isloated throughout the entirety of the shoot in Kubric's effort to get her portrayal of a beaten-down, broken woman. The cast was informed to not interact with her and she was also kept from sleeping so that she would be sleep deprived. This extends well beyond the stairwell scene where Jack Torrence tells her he wants to bash her brains in and this topic should be explored in regards to the whole film and Kubrics methods. l I might consider exploring beyond just The Shining. Alfred Hitchcock was a monstrous creep towards his female cast members as well. Perhaps this topic could evolve into a discussion about the mistreatment of women in the film industry as a whole. – FarPlanet 5 months ago
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  • This is an interesting idea. Are there are other actresses, besides Duvall, where something like this has been done? Has it been done to actors or only actresses? – Joseph Cernik 3 months ago
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Life Under Lockdown on Screen

With many countries all over the world experiencing lockdowns and other imposed ways of living – what films have shown this life best? Contagion? 28 Days Later?

  • It would also be worth considering those films that do not ramp up the fear factor, but instead deal with self-imposed isolation, either by choice, social imposition or an underlying mental of physical debility. For instance, how would this worldwide lockdown affect Japan's hikkomori - those who have become recluses. Also consider closed religious orders and communities that do not generally mix with 'outsiders.' A lockdown is only a lockdown if we choose to view it that way. For some it can act as a release from daily toil and stress at work etc. The only real prison is in the mind. – Amyus 6 months ago
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  • I would say the film that best depicts the effects of isolation is It Comes At Night (2017). The film makes fantastic use of Point of View to make the viewer side with the main family since we only see what they see, and their extreme paranoia in the face of this unknown virus comes across as palpable on the screen. It's legitimately hard to watch. – LoganTaylor 6 months ago
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Shudder: All Horror All the Time

Discuss the merits of the new streaming platform "Shudder," which is essentially the Netflix of the horror and psychological thriller genre. There are many positive sides to the platform such as custom curated collections put together by famous horror movie buffs. There are also some limitations to the site and unexplored possibilities. This is a topic for the horror movie buff and perhaps the Shudder fan.

  • Be careful so this doesn't end up being an advert for the streaming service. – Misagh 3 years ago
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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.

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    Do horror films shape the way we regard the family unit?

    Analyse the depiction of family units in horror films. Discuss the idea that horror films throughout the decades have highlighted moral panics in order to save the sanctity of the traditional family unit. For example, in The Exorcist (1973) a single parent family is attacked, insinuating that the possesion of Regan may not have happened if both parent were present. With this in mind are we subconciously being conditioned to continue the current or prefered sociological trends that surrounf the family unit.

    • Good observation. What would or should the ideal horror film do instead? – Kevin 2 years ago
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    • You could argue the same thing in the original film adaptation of Carrie (1976). – RetroDarling 2 years ago
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    What truly makes a Horror Game scary?

    What makes a horror game scary exactly? Is it the gameplay, story, atmosphere, music or a combination of all the above or a mixture of one or the other? Personally I believe it is a combination of all the above. The gameplay and atmosphere should play off each other. For example the first 3 Resident Evil games captured a level of horror that they have not been able to recapture until RE7. The static camera angles combined with the tank controls and the horrific things you encounter in the Spencer Mansion all play into each other. The sheer fact that you can easily mess up your movement and be killed if you panic and do not stay calm and navigate around the obstacles that are the enemies was a great formula for horror.

    Combine that with the ink ribbon system and the limited ammo and healing items and you feel like you are unwelcome in the mansion. This isn’t a place you should be in, and whether or whether not you survive is all up to you. The music and story; while campy, all aid in the creation of a horror filled environment that create waves of unease and terror as you try to stay alive and solve the mystery of what exactly happened there and try to get out as quickly as possible.

    • I'd be interesting to compare the first person perspective in RE7 to the older games over the shoulder third person perspective and how they can create tension! – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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    • Well, fear is subjective. I believe people have to be conditioned to become scared of certain moments. A personal example for me was in RE 4 when I ran into the regenerator. I became scared of it due to missing the thermal scope so I would keep dumping ammo into it with hopes that it would die. I eventually ran out and had to fight it with a knife. So after that everytime, I would hear its heavy breathing I would get anxious. This is why I believe most people get annoyed with jump scares as first of their surprising (not scary), but also you can predict them. Fear does not just happen it has to be built upon. You cannot just insert a background music that sounds spooky and expects people to suddenly become scared. there has to be a reason for the fear. Its why games like Silent Hill 2 and Alien isolation work. As you are playing as a character in a dark oppressive environment who is not suited for combat being chased some form of monster. It is why RE 5-6 do not work as horror games. You're loaded up to the teeth with big guns and ammo. Anything that comes your way in that situation is going to have a closed casket funeral. – Blackcat130 2 years ago
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    Why do we like scary movies?

    This time of year is filled with the macabre–from movies to haunted houses. Why do people enjoy this kind of entertainment? Is it because it makes us value our humanity as we know we are safe? I would love to see an exploration of this topic perhaps through a few specific popular horror films (slasher, demonic, etc).

    • I would recommend look at the video from James Cameron's story of science fiction episode about monsters. It examine different elements of horror/sci fi monsters and interviews people about their role in our human psyche. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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    • Honestly, don't like horrors at all. Especially screamers, bruhhh... – Deana 2 years ago
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    • What's great about horror movies is its ability to suck people in to a world where they can experience fear without actually physically being harmed. The essay "On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror; with Sir Bertrand, a Fragment" might be helpful for this topic. The essay focuses on why people like horror and gothic stories and what this means in regards to our morality. – jay 2 years ago
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    Artistry in Horror

    How do films and television shows utilize blood and gore in artistic ways to further the plot and to create a visceral reaction without going overboard. Where is the "sweet-spot" of horror and is it the gestalt of the production that makes it palatable?

    Looking back to Peter Greenaway’s "The Cook the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover," the use of dynamic lighting, opulent costumes, and luxurious set draw the audience in while opening up all of the senses. It is as if you can taste, touch and smell this film. This, juxtaposition with filth and violence that follows creates a more dramatic sensory shift thus intensifying the horror of the film.

    Currently, "Penny Dreadful" utilizes some of the same production values to appeal to the senses of the audience before flooding ballrooms with blood.

    What are other examples of transcendent use of blood and gore and how are directors achieving high levels or artistry within horror.

    • examining the horror media in early 20th century and others could be useful. Also, the essays from horror writers like H.P Lovecraft or Stephen King could help – idleric 3 years ago
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    • Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection is a difficult one to grasp but is exactly right for this topic. – JudyPeters 3 years ago
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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 4 years 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 4 years ago
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    • I am a fan of horror films, but i must agree i think each new film should have a different story line. I like to expect the unexpected, i need an unfamiliar plot. – bdh202 4 years 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 5 years 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 5 years 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 5 years 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 5 years 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 5 years ago
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