The problem with much of horror fiction - Page 2


Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 28

Thread: The problem with much of horror fiction

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    This isn't really in the same genre as the others, but I think a good psychological thriller is just as scary and nail-biting as the more overt types.

    I have talked about this one before, but the original The Haunting of Hill House still evokes in me a sense of dread. I remember seeing it in theaters when I was a girl, and have just recently bought the book. The characters are a little different from the movie, but the idea of an evil house is still there and still unsettling. The book was written by Shirley Jackson in 1959, and Stephen King lists The Haunting of Hill House as one of the finest horror novels of the late 20th century. In 2018, three of thirteen writers polled by The New York Times, identified this book as the scariest book of fiction they have ever read.

    So, going forward, I think it might be more fun to explore the things that scare us in our every day lives. You know, things that go bump in the night sort of thing. Forget the vampires, ghosts and walking dead. Look in your closets, way in the back, where it's dark and creepy . . .

    Yes, I find psychological horror far more effective than two-dimensional blood and gore.


  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    Yes, I find psychological horror far more effective than two-dimensional blood and gore.
    I think psychological and absurdist horror can go hand in hand. The reason I brought up Ito earlier in this thread, is because of his approach. He said in an interview, that what he likes to do it "taking something normal and looking at it backwards". This works very well for me.

    We all know that vampires and monsters are supposed to be dangerous. But toothpaste? Your own skin? Geometrical shapes? It's when we begin compromising the perceived safety/neutrality of these things that our worlds start falling apart. I guess this is why haunted houses, although it has been done to death now, are an effective setting for horror, because "home" is supposed to equal "safe zone".

    How it is written also matters a lot. If I just say "man becomes obsessed with plastic" that's not scary. But if I start describing the rising obsession, starting in a subtle way, such as picking plastic forks instead of metal, gradually leading to a point where the man wants to "become" plastic to ensure he isn't as biodegradable, you can come up with some pretty twisted, weird ways in which he could do that.
    Follow me on Hidden Content and check out my novels.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianBraysy View Post
    Few horror novels have scared me. It seems like the horror genre is lacking in originality. Out of every tenth book I pick up, nine of them will be about one of the following: vampires, ghosts, zombies, wherevolves and creepy japanese girls with long hair.

    Where's the originality among horror novelists? I just picked up a collection of mangas by Junji Ito, and the guy is just exploding with ideas. Here's just a small sample of what he offers: A family turning into grease and developing extreme acne that the brother uses to torture his sister with, a town becomming obsessed with the geometric shape of a spiral, baloons inticing people to hang themselves and so on...

    Are ghosts and vampires really the best thing novelists can offer? Am I just not looking hard enough? Good horror should, in my opinion, create an ambiguity of threat, feelings of absurdity, and a sense of being up against something beyond human understanding.

    I don't see it. Since this thread was started I've been looking at some of the available lists of 'Best Horror 2018', and 'Best selling horror novels 2018', and haven't seen a single book about vampires, zombies, or werewolves. There are plenty of novels out there exploring, through horror, thoroughly modern themes.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    I don't see it. Since this thread was started I've been looking at some of the available lists of 'Best Horror 2018', and 'Best selling horror novels 2018', and haven't seen a single book about vampires, zombies, or werewolves. There are plenty of novels out there exploring, through horror, thoroughly modern themes.
    #narrative.
    It's far more important to look down your nose at things when you don't know what you're talking about.
    Best doesn't necessarily equate to best-selling because small-press is big in horror (and features a lot of short work) but yeah. Ted Grau's new one is awesome...also Orrin Grey's new collection.
    (plug plug)
    Just by way of illustrating:
    This one comes out later this week and doesn't have a single vampire or zombie. It does have Orrin Grey, Kurt Fawver, and Danger Slater. Also Farah Rose Smith, John Claude Smith, and Jeffrey Thomas, all of whom regularly appear on such lists.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	tpcf.jpg 
Views:	1 
Size:	87.5 KB 
ID:	22879
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  5. #15
    Personally I find that the best horror subjects need not be fictional at all, as the real world has plenty of terrifying things which are so terrifying precisely because they are real.

    My personal favourite is disease. All the plague legends of old are all the more scary if you put yourself in the shoes of their anonymous authors, to whom pestilence wasn't some abstraction like it is for us today, but a very real fact of life - invisible, utterly merciless and ever-waiting to strike, one being absolutely powerless to stop it. What makes these legends scary is the realization that there are true stories behind each and every one of them, that their authors witnessed the ravages of the plague first-hand, being among the few to live to tell about it.

    For this reason, I think that a good horror story doesn't have to be original in subject. Rather, what makes a good horror story is the source of horror being a real thing that any of us can imagine running afoul of. A good example is Stephen King's "Cujo" - what makes it an excellent horror piece is not, I think, the originality of the premise itself, but rather the sheer plausibility of the horror scenario itself, i.e., a friendly family pet being turned into a drooling, snarling murder machine by a deadly disease that is still very much active over much of the world.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberWar View Post
    My personal favourite is disease. All the plague legends of old are all the more scary if you put yourself in the shoes of their anonymous authors, to whom pestilence wasn't some abstraction like it is for us today, but a very real fact of life - invisible, utterly merciless and ever-waiting to strike, one being absolutely powerless to stop it. What makes these legends scary is the realization that there are true stories behind each and every one of them, that their authors witnessed the ravages of the plague first-hand, being among the few to live to tell about it.
    That's an interesting one. In the past disease was all the more nefarious as they didn't have a clue what caused it. Not only has modern medicine made disease less likely to kill, it also makes it a known quantity. To be scary, to me at least, the disease would need to be in some sense unknowable as well as incurable.

  7. #17
    With vision being our dominant sense by far, humans have an innate need to visualize their fears in order to overcome them. A wild beast or an enemy, no matter how vicious and terrifying, is still something you can see, and if you can see something, you can figure out a way to fight it. Disease defies vision, being invisible and intangible, and this invisibility and the sense of powerlesness that it instills is what makes it so terrifying to us vision-based creatures. I think it explains the persistent efforts in plague legends to personalize the pestilence, to give it a face so that it becomes at least a little less terrifying and the protagonist of the legend gets a chance to outsmart or otherwise overcome what would otherwise be a merciless and impervious invisible force.

    The sheer instinctive horror that infectious disease inspires in people hasn't, I think, gone anywhere even in the present day when the cause of diseases is well-understood. I think the abundance of zombie plagues in horror fiction is just a modern continuation of the age-old attempts to personify disease. Zombies give the pestilence a physical form and face that the protagonists can battle and overcome, or in the very least avoid, as opposed to an invisible, shapeless force that just makes people suffer and die by the scores.

    I think it's for the above reason that the 1995 film "Outbreak" was rated as the best "plague fiction" film, somewhat realistically portraying the profoundly demoralizing effects of an invisible and incurable plague stalking the streets of a small American town while the authorities are at a loss of how to stop it.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberWar View Post
    I think it's for the above reason that the 1995 film "Outbreak" was rated as the best "plague fiction" film, somewhat realistically portraying the profoundly demoralizing effects of an invisible and incurable plague stalking the streets of a small American town while the authorities are at a loss of how to stop it.
    What about examples from literature? All i can think of is War of the Worlds, and in that case disease was our saviour.

  9. #19
    The Andromeda Strain. Both a better book than the cited and a better film than 'Outbreak'.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  10. #20

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.