What Are Your Thoughts on Horror?

I’ve recently come up with an idea for a horror story, but I’m not sure how to go about it. I’m so much more into Sci-Fi and Fantasy that i find horror difficult. Don’t get me wrong; I like some horror. My friend J Aurel Guay uses me as a beta reader and has written some great horror. I’m also a fan of some horror movies and Poe is good as some earlier type stuff. My question is this:

What are your thoughts? Do you love it? Hate it? Should I go for it?

Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “What Are Your Thoughts on Horror?

  1. My feelings on Horror are… complicated, and poorly defined. Personally I don’t enjoy reading or watching Horror. I remember renting ‘Event Horizon’ expecting an exciting SciFi and couldn’t get to sleep that night for the gore fest that I watched foolishly waiting for some rational science to come into play.

    Oddly enough, I have a tendency to write rather dark stuff. My published short story ‘The Death of Dr. Marcus Wells’, that Will generously beta-read for me, has been reported to unsettle some stomachs, and my short story ‘Eva’ found on my blog, about a giant, sentient, metamorphosing, bug, eating her own flesh, is certainly on that vein as well.

    In my head I tend to categorize Horror into two groups: Motivated, and Hedonistic.

    I’m good with Motivated Horror, because there is a reason for evoking the feelings of fear and fright. In Motivated Horror the darkness and intensity convey an underlying message of truth and inspiration, but do not outweigh the significance and meaning of the said truth with gore and adrenaline. Still, I don’t read much horror, so I can only tell you that I’ve heard that some of the better Horror writers, such as Steven King perhaps,write horror that makes you think.

    Hedonistic Horror, I have an issue with. You see the fear response, in physiological terms, is not really all that different than the pleasure response. That is why you see some people getting sort of ‘addicted’ to horror. Hedonistic Horror’s only goal is to produce that endorphin rush that humans crave. I would put ‘Event Horizon’, and ‘The Human Centipede’ (I read the synopsis, and that was revolting enough to never watch it and even to question dignifying it with recognition here) in that category. I think that senselessly feeding the pleasure center in that way hinders creative thought and bends people toward their basest selves…

    That’s my two cents, if you are going to write Horror, please balance it enough with meaning such that the reader still walks away thoughtful and inspired, as opposed to simply craving another ‘rush’.

    J. Aurel Guay

    1. Ugh, I can’t agree with you enough on Event Horizon. I expected a Sci-Fi thriller horror and just got.. yeah… gore in outer space.

      That aside, I think genres can blend just fine. There is no reason why a good horror story can’t be a sci-fi; horror as theme can be put in any setting, really – literary, historic, fantasy… so sure, Silly Robots, make a sci-fi horror if you want to write horror but prefer to write sci-fi. 🙂

  2. See, I come from a different perspective. I love horror of all stripes–it’s very related to fantasy and sci-fi in my brain. However, horror is usually done best when it is set in the modern day, whenever that modern day is . Poe, while he lived in the 19th c. is still wrote mostly for his contemporary context, and so it evokes a sense of suspenseful realism invaded by the unknown.That’s the best kind of horror, the Motivated horror that jaurelguay talks about. I can watch horror movies with jump-scares galore and laugh my tuchus off, but the ones that stick with me are the ones that truly capture the atmosphere of evil. The Shining remains one of my favorite movies ever precisely because it perfected atmosphere. Clive Barker, known for his gorier ideas like Hellraiser, knows very well how to write like there is something that SHOULD NOT BE in his story. Lovecraft, flawed though he is, built his own body of work on the concept of existential horror, that there is a higher omnipotent being in the universe and it does not care for humanity, and perhaps at best ignores us and at worst hates us.
    As to how to achieve the feat of existential, atmospheric horror… that takes practice. What may be the best approach is to treat the environment as a character in and of itself, like how the Hotel in the Shining was a character.
    Don’t focus on boogeymen. Focus on why there’s a boogeyman in the first place, and that may be the key.

  3. I don’t write or read much horror, though I occasionally dabble. For me the best stuff comes from connecting the external horror to what’s going on inside the character, seeing their weaknesses and flaws externalised. It’s how you get things like zombies as social metaphor, and gives the horror more power.

  4. Great stuff everybody. I’m kind of awed by the hatred for Event Horizon. I think that is a freakin scary movie. It was a little gory, but that’s what happens when you dimension jump through hell! I’ve started writing my story, and I hope it turns out ok. It’s based on a very vivid dream I had that was incredibly creepy. Conveying that in writing will be the toughest part. Thanks for all the sharing!

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