Horror Films: The Key Aspects Of A Horror Film

1680 Words7 Pages
Horror films got their start in 1896 with the two-minute short, Le manoir du diable (The Haunted Castle), shown on Christmas Eve, in Paris. But it was not until 1906, with the remake of Notre-Dame de Paris, Esmeralda, did the genre spilt into subgenres. Esmeralda refined the ‘freak shows’ that previous horror films had begun to resemble. Films like these paved the way for people like Brian De Palma, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, and his composer, John Williams. There are several key pieces of a horror film, including suspense, mystery, and spoilers, and numerous stereotypes and clichés that have latched on to the growing genre. Horror films are a genre that many people enjoy. No one will ever completely grasp why it is that we crave it. Some believe it’s the thrill and others find it is the feeling of fear itself. According to Alan Jones, author of The Rough Guide to Horror Movies, fear is “… what we feel when anything frightens us or promotes terror or fear” (Jones, ix). Andrew Tudor disagrees. He presumes that the attempts of explaining horror’s appeal are not specific and do not explain all the reasons a mixed population enjoy horror (Tudor). Personally, I credit horrors charm to the thrill it provides the audience. Though inconclusive, many people believe that the main reason horror is so popular is because people actually like being scared. Mark Olsen, of the L.A. Times, believes the reason it is so fun to be scared is because in real life, it isn’t fun (Olsen). Horror provides a safe place where the viewer can explore the dark side of imagination and human psyche. Because the movie ends, even if the ending is not happy, the audience can return to his or her reality unharmed (Olsen). Gina... ... middle of paper ... ...ly). In the 70s, due to a rise in feminism, female protagonists were allowed to resist and a new archetype was created. This movement also created “sexualized terror”, where anyone who had sex in the film died at the end (Blakely). In the 90s, female empowerment was much stronger in most genres, including Neve Campbell’s Scream, where a non-virgin survived, and the “ smart, independent, buff, ready-to-kill-if-necessary” woman existed in several films (Blakely). In recent years, these elements, techniques, stereotypes, and clichés have grown more and more prominent, and while various new parody horror films have been created, the genre is not dying out yet. Considering the many subgenres of horror, ranging anywhere from ghosts to supernatural, anyone can find a horror genre they love. Because of its ever-changing nature, horror will be around for many years to come.
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