Horror: The Nature Of The Beast.

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Movies, Op-ed
Tags: , , , , , ,

What is horror? What is scary? What terrifies people? These are questions that writers have been asking themselves for centuries and that filmmakers have been asking themselves for the last century. The answer is…who knows? What defines horror varies from person to person because what is scary changes from person to person. What may chill one person to the bone may be laughable to another. That makes it very difficult to say whether or not a story, book, TV show, or film is scary simply because it depends on the audience.

Let’s narrow down the medium a little and discuss horror a little more. For the last month we here at the You Don’t Know Shit About Fuck blog have been discussing some of our favorite horror movies in celebration of Halloween which has raised the questions at hand. From the early 20th century, filmmakers have attempted to scare audiences with both adaptations of other works, literary and cinematic, and with original stories. From early silent works such as Nosferatu, through the Universal Monsters, and slasher Icons Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, all the way through recent films such as The Conjuring, the film industry has always had a thing for trying to scare audiences and the audience has always been there for horror.

Horror, specifically cinema, has a wide range of sub-genres under the main umbrella genre because as we said earlier, scary things change from person to person. Some of the highest grossing and most loved horror films are in the “Slasher” sub-genre, which to me is pretty self explanatory. Characters such as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and the various incarnations of Ghostface have been scaring the crap out of audiences for decades. Lets face it, what’s not terrifying about a 6’5 300lb unstoppable guy in a hockey mask weilding a machete? For many though, that just doesnt cut it, pun very much intended.

In 1968, horror got a new face…a dead one. Rising cultural tensions in the United States inspired young filmmaker George A. Romero to create what is now an iconic genre of horror, the zombie film. With Night Of The Living Dead, horror as we knew it changed forever. That original film spawned hundreds of imitators and inspired hundreds more to blaze their own trail. Romero himself made several very successful, high quality sequels and they all had something to say unlike many of his contemporaries. The zombie genre has come a long way from midnight shows to big budget, prime time TV shows and blockbuster films. However, all of them owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Romero, without whom the genre most likely would not exist.

Other sub-genres include the always popular ghost/demon based supernatural genre. With terrifying classics such as The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and Child’s Play and more modern films like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Innkeepers, and the Conjuring, paranormal films have always kept audiences covering their eyes as well. Other popular styles of horror include monster movies like the classic Dracula and Frankenstein films, Sci-Fi films such as Alien, Event Horizon, and Cloverfield have kept audiences screaming as well.

Thankfully for cinephiles and horror enthusiasts such as us here at YDKSAF, there is alot of shit that scares people. We are lucky enough to live in a time when studios try their best to pack the most scares into a horror film. Sometimes they hit, other times they miss and that goes back to the definition of horror changing with every individual. Over the years there have been a lot of great, and a lot of terrible, films made in an attempt to make people check their closets or turn on a light before entering a room and for that I am very thankful. A few of them have even made me check around corners or get scared at a bump in the night. Mostly though, horror is a great escape because unfortunately, the world is alot more terrifying and ugly than anything Hollywood can crank out. Thanks for being along for the ride with us this month, we have really had alot of fun and can’t wait to do it again next year. Don’t worry though, Halloween isn’t quite over yet…


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