Backstory Kills Horror - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Jason Zinoman posts a provocative essay in Slate that says that monsters are scarier when you know as little as possible about them, certainly about their past.
The wisest sentence ever written about horror is the first line in H.P. Lovecraft's 1927 literary history of the genre, Supernatural Horror in Literature: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." If our greatest fear is of the unknown, then too much explanation is usually the enemy of truly frightening horror. What distinguished [the film] HALLOWEEN from its imitators is that its relentless killer is impossible to explain. Michael Myers has no psychology or motivation and barely any back story. The scariest thing about him is the suggestion that his mask isn't hiding anything. Rather, that's all there is.
Discuss.

Labels:

2 Comments:

I think most (not all) film characters are better the less you know about them. It's not specific to horror or backstory. I think a lot of filmmakers put too much "characterization" into the story because they feel it has to be there (or because the star demands it), and not because there's any real justification or purpose for it.

Especially in genre movies where the main draw is the action (that includes slasher flicks like Halloween), the less characterization the better. Stop talking already and start running up the body count.

By Blogger Greylocks, at 12:04 AM  

Two things.

First, yeah, there's a lot to be said for this. Too many horror films fall down in the second half of act two or even into act three when the monster's back-story is revealed, lifting us out of the story and into the meh. A particular favourite of mine is Cloverfield, where the origin of the monster is subtly revealed in the epilogue.

That said, while it may not be important for the audience to know the monster's origins, it is important for the writer.

By Blogger Me, at 12:54 AM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.