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Author Topic: Horror as a genre is a failure  (Read 280 times)

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Offline Far eyesTopic starter

Horror as a genre is a failure
« on: April 05, 2016, 07:46:18 PM »
With naming skills like that i should write for Kotaku...  *Padam paaahhh*

On a more on topic and less snarky note, let me tray and explain. I have always struggled with Horror as a genre. I generally appropriate it in the written form and think it works best in short stories. But it seems something in the transition to movies and video games utterly fails with this genre. Its a subject i kind of struggle with so this is partially me just putting taughts out there. Some of my favorite movies are sometimes listed under horror Hell Raisers 2 and Alien comes to mind easily. But i never see them as such, Hell Raiser 2 is essentially a dark fantasy Alice story with a trip into Bondage land. Alien is more like a tense action movie then anything i would deem horror.

Now people well point out different movies. but i just feel that horror movies tend to be one of the following things.
- Jump scare, congratulations you startled me. My cat did the same, you are about as horrible
- Disgusting films, look i can watch a live operation and get literally the same out of it knock it off. 
- Action movie with bad odds, this is basically a lot of your slasher type nonsense. I have my separate problem with those.

But movies in general have 2 huge problems when doing horror, at least in my opinion. One they are by design to long, so they have to drag the tension out often braking the tension and just falling apart. Two its a visual medium and that comes with showing you a lot of stuff, in horror this can often be the very antithesis of what you are doing. If you show me the monster and have it jump in my face its not horror anymore, now its a game of Doom... ware is my RPG. Supernatural Evils fall under this to...   i almost always have the same reaction, i would rather watch the movie ware an angel or a fucking wizard comes to kick this things ass. Because the chasing the kids around and eventually killing them all or all except one is very old.

Games actually have it worse, this goes for table top and computer both. Though arguably tabletop is even worse. But lets assume a computer game you run into all the problems of a movie, and in addition to that the player can get close to the monster and notice the buggy little texture glitch on the left eyes and have it bug out and get caught on a stool...  and after the initial say 10 minutes or maybe even 5 its going to be jump scares, a bit of tension maybe and a game of tag in most cases. If the player has any weapons at all now its just a game of "Did they code it so i cant kill it, lets find out" the 'horror' of this game went the hell out a window like 15 minutes into a game.

I really feel like the only thing that can portray horror are short stories, they have the right format and size they do not have to show you anything and what you form in your mind will always be more effective then any special effect. They do not suffer from the need to keep you there past the "punch" and doing jump scares in books is ineffective, also no clumsy musical stings :P

Horror is a genre i enjoy, but it also frustrates me mostly because of how poor an offering it usually is.     

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2016, 09:09:30 PM »
Plot twists seem to make a horror movie more fantastic and frightening.  I recently watched "The Cabin in the Woods" on television.  Have you seen it?  It might qualify.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2016, 09:19:37 PM »
Horror's power always lies in what you don't see, where the author can rely on your imagination turning against you. The second there's an HP bar or some kind of weapon things change.
Good horror always makes you examine yourself and find that you may be scared by yourself.

Offline Far eyesTopic starter

Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2016, 04:51:38 AM »
The Cabin in the Woods: I have seen it, its interesting but i rate it much more under interesting then anything ells and again i feel like having it be a movie unnecessarily lengthened the process.


Offline Sain

Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2016, 05:40:27 AM »
I think it works brilliant for video games and can't wait for Oculus rift adaptations. Imagine putting VR glasses on someone, tying them to bed, then playing some shady surgery room horror sequence to wake them up ;D Don't do it if you don't want to lose a frendship/relationship

Personally I couldn't finish Amnesia the dark descent without having some friends on Skype for mental support. I really loved the game, but I know some people who just ran through it like nothing special. Barring actually badly done games and movies I would say your enjoyment really boils down to whether or not you allow yourself to get immersed in the game.

Of course if you play it with the mindset of going in there to discover the bugs and make a game review about texture quality then you won't be immersed enough to feel the horror. By default you need to be immersed to continue reading so it might be why you find enjoying them easier. Unfortunately it isn't of course possible for all to flip back the switch and suddenly start enjoying horror games - I have a few friends who would never in a million years blink at the stuff that makes me fall in the chair. I don't think you can really fault the developers for this though :P Some of the newest horror games have been really really good (Amnesia the dark descent and SOMA at least) with rather engaging stories too.

Offline Far eyesTopic starter

Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2016, 05:55:42 AM »
I think its mostly connected to what i find "horror" and what i find eye rolling, open in your face things i often just sigh. Amnesia the dark descent fall heavily into that, it was also a game of tag. Horror for me has to do a lot with the prevailing mood, something indistinct and nebulous. Viewed in the right light i can see aspects of something like Dark Souls as horror (Aspects not the game it self) in games the failure tends to be ware they tray and do the "and then it chases you" and my ingrained reaction to that is always "Well fuck that, i grab an improvised weapon and see how impact resistant its skull is" as a friend of mine once put it while playing a Tabletop Horror game, my characters tend to either be the first victim or they turn into Ash from the evil dead...   i am also no longer allowed the demolitions skill  ::) 

One of the short stories that for me works the most in that context is "Second kind of loneliness" by RR Martin, some of HP lovcrafts stuff works quiet well to usually not the obvious ones the titular Call of Cthulhu for example just sounds like the opening scenes of a Godzilla type movie.
 

Offline Oniya

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Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2016, 06:34:06 AM »
Judging from your last post, I'd personally recommend that you give SOMA a try.  There are some of the 'standard' horror elements, but there is also something much, much more like what you're describing if you take the time to explore the surroundings (read clues and 'flavor text') rather than just charging through to 'finish the game'.

Offline Far eyesTopic starter

Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2016, 08:10:54 AM »
He no "Finishing games" is not one of my obsessions, i actually often times find that if i really like a game and maybe finish it once i will on subsequent play troughs get to a point and just have the sense of completion and call it a day for that play-trough. Or play a game for like 400h and never advance the story line mission much...   hello Bethesda games you poorly written sandboxes you :P
 

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 08:46:23 AM »
Games and horror tend to be anathema to one another because games focus so much on providing agency and horror lives and dies on removing agency. Not to say it can't be done, but it requires a lot of bold decisions people are not usually willing to spend too much money on.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 08:56:43 AM »
He no "Finishing games" is not one of my obsessions, i actually often times find that if i really like a game and maybe finish it once i will on subsequent play troughs get to a point and just have the sense of completion and call it a day for that play-trough. Or play a game for like 400h and never advance the story line mission much...   hello Bethesda games you poorly written sandboxes you :P
 

Yeah - with SOMA, you do have a few 'big scary enemies', but most of it is situational.  Strange, creepy environment, unexplained happenings, that sort of thing.  As you go on, though, there's a growing sense of something 'not right' even beyond that.

Offline Far eyesTopic starter

Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2016, 09:08:13 AM »
I might give SOMA a shot if i catch it on a sale or something.

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Re: Horror as a genre is a failure
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2016, 02:39:00 AM »
Inkidu is right-the anticipation and imagination play a lot into horror.  Horror is supposed to play heavily on our fear of the unknown.  Aside from the jump-scares and the body-rending bloodiness, check out some classic horror for the anticipation and head games, like Psycho or Poe's Masque of the Red Death.  My grandfather was the kind of person who memorized poetry to recite it.  He had memorized much of Masque of the Red Death, and read it to me and my brother on Halloween one year when I was 9 or so.  The intonation, general darkness of the living room, and aura he set about making made it an unforgettable experience.  It was like a roller coaster ride--the immersion was complete.  I knew I was safe at home, but at the same time I could enjoy the experience of being terrified.  I think that the ability to seize the heart of any genre is the immersive experience, which requires several ingredients, and they differ greatly from genre to genre.