From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Horror

So this post comes to you from someone very inexperienced in the horror genre. I've seen a handful of horror movies at like parties and sleepovers and stuff, but its never been something I really go for like some people. It just doesn't usually do much for me.

So what I'm going to talk about probably the hard-core fans would not qualify as true horror. I do like The Stand a lot, but my favorite King novel is The Green Mile. Probably not straight-up horror. My favorite "horror" movie is Signs, and I've definitely heard people question its status as true horror. But that's the kind of thing I'm talking about here.

So why am I talking about this today? There's always been a little bit of fascination there for me. At its most superficial I think it's just morbid curiosity, but where horror does well, and I think where its real value is, comes from a more philosophical level. I think I liked Signs and I think the reason Steven King has found wide-spread and even commercial success is because it adds that philosophical side.

Here's what I mean. Horror, at its best, at its most philosophical, strips everything down to its most carnal, and shows you the things that stay, that you can rely on, and have faith in, when everything else is gone. It forces you to confront your most basic faith and fundamental beliefs when the worst and most terrifying is staring you in the face.

I think the stakes are higher, the horror more horrific, when its more than life and death. When its life and soul. If that makes sense.

Signs does this directly. He confronts, out loud, the question of whether they are alone or not. And its effective because its not a simple black and white question for him, and we watch his beliefs and faith evolve as the story progresses. And that is a beautiful thing.

What do you think about the horror genre? What value do you think it has for us, and what are your favorite examples?


  1. I don't watch them often because I freak myself out. But I agree that they are intriguing. I like Psycho. We watched it in high school and picked apart all of the camera shots and edits to discuss what they actually meant.

  2. I think my problem with Signs was that the answers came a bit too easy. Yes, there are aliens, yes there is a God, yes, God will help you defeat the aliens. Seemed to jump from a thoughtful approach to difficult questions straight to fantasy.

    Moody Writing

  3. Did you mean that movie with Mel Gibson? One of our staff is teaching it. I found it rather too slow for my taste.

    The Green Mile was rather sad, not really horror fiction at all.

    I am not a horror fan; I read one by Dan Simmons, which was so very good that I couldn't stand it - there were all these characters I liked and he killed them off! Mind you, this can apply also to George R.R.Martin.;-)

    But film-wise, I prefer something that leaves the scare to the viewer's imagination, rather than blood and gore. I'm thinking of "The Innocents" and "The Others". The scariest films I ever saw and no splat, no gore.

  4. i have never seen this one--i might have to look it up!

  5. I'm not keen on horror - but I watched Signs. I even had to watch Cabin in the Woods at lunchtime on a sunny day!

  6. I think the last REAL horror movie I watched was The Ring. Ack! I couldn't stop thinking about that movie for weeks. Especially when I had to get up in the night with a little baby. Oy! So, I try to stay well clear of them now.

    Although I do love all the scary stuff in Doctor Who...weeping angels, cybermen, etc. They are awesome. I guess the difference is they mix in enough humor to make it less horrible. And, of course, the fact that I love the characters in the show so very much.

  7. Roger Ebert said successful horror should never sacrifice suspense for gore.

  8. love horor.

    Horror is our dark mirror, it is ourselves. Want to know about a society? Learn about what scares them.

    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side and The Witch
    Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  9. I think the best horror movies are the ones that SUGGEST rather than SHOW. Much more frightening that way. Edgar Alan Poe had this down to a science.

  10. I've never seen this movie but now you have me very curious about it. I normally don't like most horror because I can't stand being scared and also don't like gore. This sounds like the type of movie I would really like.

  11. I loved watching Signs, as well as other Shyamala fan favorites like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. And I totally get what you mean about a more philosophical side to horror. That's why these movies (and books) stick with you way longer than their more visceral counterparts.

  12. Like others have said, it is often the buildup rather than an all-out gorefest that is often more scary. The reader/viewer is more scared by what's in their imagination.

  13. I liked Signs!

    I think the ones that keep me holding my breath the entire time are the best ones.

    I remember watching The Blair Witch Project (without parental consent, of course) and it scared me to death. It still gives me chills.

  14. I used to love the Nightmare On Elm Street films when I was a teenager, but watching them now is more like comedy. My favourite Stephen King is Misery - again, there is a kind of strange humour to it, but that could just be me. ;-)

  15. I don't know too much about horror, actually. Given my already overactive imagination, I don't need anything else scaring the crap out of me at night. ;)

  16. I loved "Signs", but I don't really consider it horror. I think about haunted houses with evil villains.

  17. My room mates from a few years ago and I would watch horror flicks all the time. It stemmed from our love of the TV show Supernatural. Once we were hooked on that show, we branched out to watching all sort of other scary movies. We all tended to sleep with out lights on afterward. Silly us!

  18. Recently I watched the horror movie Exorcism part 2... but actually it turned out to be funny aftr a few heart throbbing scenes. :)

    -A fellow blogger from A to Z!

  19. I am one who likes the M. Night movies. I know a lot of people who don't. I thought Signs was really a good movie, well acted, and pretty intense when it got down to it.

    Stephen King is one of my faves for this genre. Good post choice.

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now


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