Monday, January 3, 2011

What is Horror?



I guess the real title should be, What is a Horror Film? You'd think a question as short as this would have a simple answer ... on the contrary, answering this question often proves to be more challenging then one may have initially hoped it would be.

So what is horror? How does one define horror? Well, horror can be many things, depending on who you ask. A text book definition of a horror film is: Movies that strive to elicit the emotions of fear and terror from viewers. So horror can be any film bearing the intent to invoke fear. Ahhhh, but fear, as we've seen many times, can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, appearing differently to different people, making the process of "defining horror" a highly subjective and difficult one.

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Fear is in the Eye of the Beholder





Sounds kind of cool, but what exactly does this mean?

This direct rip from “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” basically means that the perception of fear, (what frightens a person) will vary from individual to individual. What scares one person may not scare another, what scares you may not scare me, I think you get the point. This becomes more apparent when you consider the many different phobias that exist in the world today (there’s actually a fear of air “Anemophobia” ... Try wrapping your head around that one).

Fear, as it relates to the Horror genre, is really no different. For instance, a good friend of mine finds the epidemic, zombie, survival horror movies scary, (think Dawn of the Dead or Quarantine) while my wife perceives those type of movies to be gross and gory, but not so much scary (she does admit that she'd be afraid if she were ever in one of those situations ... but after all, who wouldn't be). She, however, couldn't keep her eyes opened for most of Paranormal Activity 2. 

My point, everyone's fast to give their opinion on what is or isn't scary, what should or shouldn’t be considered “Real” horror, but I say … To each his own. The horror genre is big enough to accommodate all sets of fans. There's plenty of "Scares" to go around for everyone, and the good news is, they come in all shapes and sizes!

Having said that, I know that the title of my blog “Too Scary to Watch” may be a tad misleading, seeing as, there's not a single movie, nor combination of movies that will ever be too scary to everyone … someone will inevitably say "I watched it and it wasn't scary to me" ... but I decided to go with this title anyways.
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The Mothman

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