Friday, 24 May 2013

What Even Is Horror Anyway?

This is an interesting one... The more I think about it, the more I realise that a pure, simple horror film doesn't really exist, or is hard to find... I try to avoid such sweeping and pointless questions, but what actually is horror? I've realised that I don't really know, inasmuch as every horror film I see fits into one bracket, or sub-genre, or has elements from something else.... But pure horror, what even is that?

Thinking about the films I've seen, there are maybe three I've seen that would fall into the bracket of pure horror, aka what I conjure up in my mind when someone says the words "horror film".

The first is Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original, obviously). Because any film that includes a scene where a man who looks like this does this-

-was always going to be one that was pretty horrific. But I guess with this one there's something to do with tone, the way the film is constantly so dark and damp and hot... It's an intense film, and the whole lair of skulls and the people screaming and the general pervasive sense of discomfort makes it seem pretty purely horrific to me. It might act as something of an early precursor to the slasher film, and it's influential, and you can read a lot into it as a huge cultural phenomenon... But yeah. This is one of the three.

The second is Hellraiser. I'm not the hugest fan of Hellraiser, but I'd love to see it again one day, and it certainly kept my attention for the whole 90-odd minutes. And Pinhead is pretty cool, as you might have noticed with my blog background being, um, him. I think this one counts as pure horror to me because a lot like TCM it has a really unnerving tone and also... It's quite hard to describe. But a lot of this film consists of things like grotty S+M dungeons and hooks and chains and razors and all that, and it just gives a general sense of indecency, which I quite like from a horror film (if you've read my first blog then you'll know what I mean).

That's what I mean. To me, that's one of the things that sums up horror, and what "pure" horror is. That whole nasty, dirty, gothic, torture and monsters and pain and fear and everything. All that stuff.

Finally, then, I'm mentioning it again, but House of 1000 Corpses is the third, and purest vision of what I view horror to be that I've seen ever. Every single frame bleeds this gruey, mean vibe that I've only seen echoed in those two earlier films, and the fact that the film exists as homage to those kinds of 70's horror films probably says a lot. I'm going to use another picture to illustrate my point, from the film's finale, and I think it sums up what I mean pretty well beca-

-actually yeah I think that speaks for itself.

I guess I don't have enough followers to ask this yet, but I'm going to anyway; I invite your interpretation of what horror is. Obviously what I'm saying is 100% utterly subjective, and I'm not going to thrust my own  thoughts on you, or else they wouldn't be my thoughts. But yeah. I invite all opinions, I'd be interested to know what other people think.

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