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? – Kevin1 year ago
You could argue the same thing in the original film adaptation of Carrie (1976). – RetroDarling1 year ago
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 Gadus1 year ago
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. – Blackcat1301 year ago
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 Gadus1 year ago
Honestly, don't like horrors at all. Especially screamers, bruhhh... – Deana1 year ago
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. – jay1 year ago
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 – idleric3 years ago
Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection is a difficult one to grasp but is exactly right for this topic. – JudyPeters3 years ago
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? – Slaidey3 years ago
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 Reini3 years ago
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. – bdh2023 years ago
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 Bey4 years ago
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 Echos4 years ago
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 Deibler4 years ago
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 Echos4 years ago
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! – autena4 years ago
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.
– dsoumilas4 years ago
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. – sophiacatherine4 years ago
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. – MichelleAjodah4 years ago
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 Leiter4 years ago
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? – emilydeibler4 years ago
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 White4 years ago
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 Legler4 years ago
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. – risserca4 years ago
Great topic. I do think horror movies sort of reflect societies views on women, like the mention of The Exorcist and such. – Austin Bender4 years ago
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. – emilyinmannyc4 years ago
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. – OliviaBurgin4 years ago
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 Evenson4 years ago