Posts Tagged ‘horror genre’
In order for a horror film to be affecting it must accomplish an array of feats that manipulate its audience in a way that steers it toward a desired end, which is usually one of disenfranchisement, disgust, dismay, or paranoia. But one key element to effective horror that goes largely unmentioned is the importance of pity. When a horror film does not take seriously this pivotal aspect, or neglects it altogether, what usually results is a campy flick that allows, if not promotes an audience to react with disinterest or laughter instead of shock, terror, or other sorts of psychological distress. In order to properly convey the importance of a scary movie’s ability to make an audience pity we must first examine precisely what pity is and how it works to assist a movie’s efforts to jar its viewers. From doing this we can hopefully discover the major faults of modern American horror, and see what needs to be done to revive it.
While rereading Robin Wood’s essay An Introduction to the American Horror Film I noticed that it failed to talk about an important element in the discussion of what exactly describes an American horror film. The absence of this topic in his subsection titled “Basic Formula” surprises me now, as it is arguably just as simple a provision to the genre as the overarching blueprint stipulating that “normality is threatened by the Monster.” While Wood’s essay has long since been considered a seminal one for both him and academic thought about the horror genre, and this is very true, an amendment should nevertheless be made. That amendment is specific but not intricate, dealing with the main protagonist’s direct relationship with the antagonist.