What is Horror?

paulberry

So I’m thinking of writing a few lists, articles about horror.. and then I realised that I’m not 100% sure if I have the correct definition.  Fear and horror I personally think are aspects of the human psyche that are very personal and I don’t think there is a general definition but I’ll get things clear on what I will list as horror.. so  lets investigate…

Lets see what the standard definition is!?

“Horror is a film genre seeking to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience’s primal fears. Horror films often feature scenes that startle the viewer; the macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Thus they may overlap with the fantasy, supernatural, and thriller genres.

Horror films often deal with the viewer’s nightmares, hidden fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Plots within the horror genre often involve the intrusion of an evil force, event, or personage, commonly of supernatural origin, into the everyday world. Prevalent elements include ghosts, aliens, vampires, werewolves, curses, satanism, demons, gore, torture, vicious animals, monsters, zombies, cannibals, and serial killers. Conversely, movies about the supernatural are not necessarily always horrific.”

Okay? got it!

One thing to consider is.. “what isn’t horror?” Well romantic comedies aren’t horror, although in their own way they generally scare the shite out of me. Anything which is appealing shouldn’t be classed as horror.

But it’s not to say horror can’t be romantic. I’m sure Dracula is still considered a gothic horror and it’s a timeless love story too, which brings me onto another factor.

There are very few movies which are just one genre, there are comedy horrors, romantic sci fi’s etc, all stories have many elements to them, it’s been that way since the early cave paintings I’m sure. So you’ll find it hard to pop a movie entirely into the horror bucket and nothing else.

Now for the crushing defeat, everyone is different, what scares you is very different to what scares me, for example my list of movies that make me sleep with the light on probably wouldn’t scare a majority of people in the slightest.

I guess you’d have to assume that it would be a subject that would horrify the general public, because we all know one person who is alternative and would love to be ripped apart by zombies, stalked by a killer, eaten by cannibals, or maybe my friend base is just very odd.

So lets go with the notion that it’s something that intends to repulse…

Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)

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2 thoughts on “What is Horror?”

  1. Like your topic — I’m interested in horror in literature. Stephen King has written a good description of horror, basically stating the first goal of horror is to invoke terror. Great topic!

    1. I always go by the Stephen King forum for the “what is horror” debates, the whole subject has interested me for years, I wish I could have studied it more when doing my degree in psychology but I centered around other areas.

      I think the biggest problem with trying to get people to understand a definition of horror is that we are all afraid of different things, and strange phobias don’t help, I for example can’t stand cats but obviously there are millions out there who adore them, so once you start chucking things like that into the mix, or a fear of baked beans (which is laughable for most people) it’s virtually impossible for people to understand fear fully.

      Horror literature is amazing, I think for the fact that you have to imagine the story yourself, forcing those images which are always on a more personal level has a more devastating effect on the psyche. I personally adore horror fiction and I think it dominates about 90% of my library. Sadly I’m a really slow reader 😦

      I see that you have a book blog!! I’m going to follow it!

      Thanks for your input and look out for more horror posts!! bwaha ahaaa (excuse me).

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