A subtext from Originality VS Cliches, I will delve into how we have almost lost the reality of horror.
Back in the day, all there was was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of strangers, fear of the world. That’s how we got our classic horror films, with our loveable characters like Freddie and Jason. Everything was just terrifying to everyone. In fact, that’s probably why kids love horror – they are still afraid, they’re curious, they’ve never really grown up enough to think of a logical back up to a situation. It’s why they’re so afraid of the ‘boogie man’.
Unfortunately, today’s day and age has seen it all. We already have it in the palm of our hands. I loved horror as a child purely because it faced things I was afraid of, that and I was typically insane. Talking to strangers? The internet connects us to strangers everyday. Fear of the world? Social media allows us to freely give our opinion. Fear of the unknown? Sure, there are a few things, but only a few. One is the deep sea, but eventually it’ll be overdone.
Horror has the ability to give us a problem, mix it with a fear, and give us a contradictory reasoning for the existence of it. Perhaps, to make sense of this, I should bring up a current popular horror series – The Haunting of Hill House.
Now, before I even go into this, I will firstly warn that I may bring up spoilers. Secondly, I never thought that horror could work in a series. Sure, we have one of my favourites, Supernatural, starting Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, but it lost the horror side after a while and became a thriller. In fact, for some I believe that The Haunting of Hill House may not even come as a horror series, but more as a double genre horror/thriller. Sure, it kept my goosebumps up, but hearing that people were literally vomiting from it?
BS. It really was not that terrifying.
Anyway, this series mixes horror with a manipulated family who just wants to be together and be happy. I actually admire the series massively because it brought me hope for horror in the future – doesn’t have to be specifically paranormal, but still gives me hope. Typically before this series, I was thinking perhaps we will only get sequels, such as Jigsaw – which, although everyone seems to hate on it, I loved it, so back off.
In The Haunting of Hill House, we have a murder, see insane people, and the loss of loved ones to the hauntings. We don’t really get a back story as to the origins of Hill House, but we get enough to know about our key family.
Even in The Grudge, we have a home terrorised by a woman and her son who was killed by her husband. We feel sympathy for her, even though we are terrified of her at first.
Like I mentioned before, mixing two ideas that make perfect sense but push all moral boundaries is what horror does. Stephen King breaks down the levels of horror into three:
1. Revulsion – making someone actually recoil
2. Horror – graphic portrayal of the unbelievable
3. Terror – fear through imagination
Horror pushes us to traverse different lengths of our minds. We find that we agree to the sickest things, sympathise with the freaks that we shouldn’t. We love what we should be afraid of. This genre psychologically lengthens, strengthens, and transforms us. We are much more self aware of the morality and weaknesses of human kind. We keep boasting that we are the top of the food chain, yet we are still subconsciously scared. I have so much respect for this genre it’s not even funny anymore.
For all my horror writers, don’t give up, but also do not succumb to the typical paranormal. Bring back nostalgic serial killers and strange perverts. I need some horror in my life. I need to connect and feel sympathetic in the most controversial way possible; it’s an eye opener.