In case if you were wondering why I chose horror as my genre to write about, here it is:
Horror is a complex dichotomy of entertainment. It plays with the mind and is relatable to the most common emotion in humankind: Fear. Fear is a very intriguing emotion. It could prevent you from doing something or could motivate or propel you to accomplish a goal. Horror taps into many different subgenres that appeal to most people in one way or another. There is gothic horror, in which ghosts and their backstories could scare you, or the protagonist can have qualities that viewers can empathize with. It could involve a scary location, like a haunted house or an abandoned warehouse. There is a suspense thriller, where the reader is kept on the edge of their seat. They have all of their senses heightened as the book describes the protagonist’s journey in detail as if they were the in the main character’s point of view or right next to them for the bumpy ride. You analyze all of the presented clues throughout the chapters and place the pieces together with them as they try to uncover the culprit. These are just a few subgenres of this magnificent genre that has many more to list!
For me, I’m attracted to one subgenre more than any other. One that I can personally relate to on numerous levels.
The slasher genre contains many characteristics that appeal very profoundly to me. I am going to list some of these in detail and why they are so great to me. There are more than what I’m going to list, and this is strictly my opinion. I’m using my examples from film, which can easily be translated into writing. After all…movies start out as scripts. Scripts were written!
1.Damaged protagonist/final girl: The main character in horror movies that, in most cases, make it to the end as the sole survivor has one thing in common. They had a damaging past. You look at Sidney Prescott in ‘Scream,’ who lost her mother to murder by the serial killer. In ‘Friday the 13th: Part VII,’ Tina Shepard has telekinetic powers that accidentally killed her abusive father, causing her to grow up with deep remorse before Jason Voorhees goes on a murderous rampage. In ‘Child’s Play,’ Karen Barcley is a single mother struggling to provide for her child before being tormented by a killing doll. These people and many others have had to struggle in one way or another, which ends up with a disconnect from them and that rest of the cast where most of them get killed off. Their priorities are not solely based on the rest of the cast’s alternative goals, such as partying, drug usage, or an occasional hookup. Their backstories are mostly relatable to the audience, where they can empathize with them. When they finally get stalked by the killer in the major chase scene, where they put aside their trauma and act in a ‘fight or flight’ situation. They make smarter choices to either live or die, doing whatever it takes with every ounce of courage to take down the murderer and survive. In the LGBTQA+ community, there is a lot of adversity we face. Some have been abused, bullied, and ostracized at the least. When faced with difficulties, we dig deep within ourselves to accomplish a goal or to overcome troubles.
2.Character archetypes: Most slasher movies have a group of people that has different types of characters. These people are either promiscuous, funny, a particular minority, athletic, rebellious, or even a straight-up jerk. These people make foolish choices that eventually get them killed(i.e., hooking up, running up the stairs instead of a back door, going off alone, etc.). I find it very funny when the same people get in the same predicament that eventually gets them killed. I understand that this is a cliché, but hey…I am entertained! I will also add that I want books and movies to feature minorities that make it further than the first or second kill. I would be even more enthused if they were the final girl!
3.Masked killers with justifiable and unjustifiable motives: Billy Loomis, as Ghostface in ‘Scream,’ started killing because Sidney Prescott’s mother had an affair with his father, causing his family to break apart. Adam Carr, as Cupid in ‘Valentine,’ got revenge on the girls that rejected his nerdy self in middle school, causing him to be tortured at the school dance. Now, I’m not saying that situations like these are perfect grounds for killing people. However, since this is film entertainment…I get it. However, I saw a movie once where the killer invited all of his friends before graduating high school. They get killed one by one until it is revealed that he was the killer for the sole reason that he was number four on the waitlist to Harvard, and all of his friends were coincidentally numbers one thru three on the waitlist. He only killed to get into Harvard. Now that is a stupid reason to kill people if you ask me! In most cases in film, the killer is identified pretty quickly just by their demeanor or their lack of appearance throughout the film. As annoyed as my friends are when we watch these movies together, I am entertained by them being shocked by the reveal when they didn’t believe me initially.
“I told you so!”
4.The “adults are useless” cliché: Most movies involving a protagonist that who a teenager or young adult usually involves parents who don’t believe them. They even involve police officers that either show up late to the scene or prematurely misjudge a character. The parents in ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ didn’t believe in Nancy when she kept saying that a man with a burnt face and knives for fingers was stalking her and her friends in her dreams. They didn’t believe it was Freddy Krueger, even though they killed him themselves. I find it entertaining when both the police and parents play stupid to the shenanigans…like the main character would do this to themselves!
*shows a slash mark on his arm*
5.Sassy Satire: I know that I use ‘Scream’ as an example in many of my explanations…it is one of my favorite movies! Sorry, not sorry! But the sassy and meta-humor behind certain characters make me laugh, even in the midst of tragedy. ‘Scream 3’ included the real Gail Weathers and the movie version of her, just at each other’s throats at times. When Freddy Kruger kills off certain characters, he has witty one-liners before slashing them. It lightens the mood in times of terror. It would soften the blow for the squeamish viewers to add a little humor to the horror.
There you have it…only some of the reasons that I love the slasher genre! There are many more reasons why I love and respect it so much. I just wanted to give you all a taste of my…taste in horror. I could go all day with discussing more qualities that I enjoy. But I know you all have a life to live.
What do you like about the horror genre?
“What’s your favorite scary movie?”