26 August 2005

The Horror!!!

With Renee and the boys in Las Vegas this last week, I've been watching horror flicks as a form of distraction. Yes, I watch them alone with the hope that one day these movies will actually frighten me. They certainly creep me out but don't make it difficult for me to walk through my unlit home.

When you watch the same genre repeatedly, you begin to draw correlations you couldn't by simply pondering them. I've noticed the extreme importance of writing in horror movies, and I don't mean a well-written script.

So many of the horror films out there rely on clues to understand a murder or haunting, and those clues generally come in the form of a diary, newsclipping, or in the case of The Shining, all over the walls.

Why is the written word so important to the progression of plot resolution in horror films and not the other genres? Maybe it's because writing is scary.

Look at myths. They were first recorded on cave walls and often involved much blood and guts. You do know the story of how Kronos ate his children, except for Zeus who slaughtered him along with most the other Titans, don't you?

Stories like these stick with us much longer than any punchline, and most romances aren't remembered without death or misery invovlved. What's the name of that play written by that bard? You know, the lovers thought each other dead and killed themselves? You know, there must be about a bazillion variations on their deadly love?

At any rate, when a story about horrific deaths is told, writing is crucial to the plot. After all, Kronos ate his babies because of the prophecy that foretold one of his kids would off him. After all, Annie Wilkes kidnapped Paul Sheldon in Stephen King's Misery because she wanted him to rewrite the demise of her favorite character from his books. After all, Takeo kills not only his wife because he finds her journal that details her overwhelming love for an American professor in Tokyo, in The Grudge, but also his son Toshio and black kitten, too.

Maybe this is why writing is integral to the plots of so many horror movies. Writing exposes the soul, the true natures and desires of an individual, and that can be the scariest thing of all. When was the last time you thought something scary, considered writing it down, then decided to let that thought get buried with the rest of those imaginings that were just plain spooky?

6 comments:

Diva in Training said...

You are writing is crucial in all aspects of building up the intensity in drama and horror. Though with drama and horror (and hell real life) characters forget the second and most critical part of writing is READING.. . It just reminds me of the national reading campaign in the 80’s, R.I.F.: Reading is Fundamental. Didn’t anyone think about that when they passed the “GO Away “signs to that haunted house? No one really reads the bloody writing on the wall or the newspaper clippings… Then again there wouldn’t be much of a movie if they did.

Kyle Stich said...

How funny, goddess. I think that's why I stopped watching horror flicks so long ago; they tend to rely on the stupidity of the protagonist. I think many movies actually meet this criteria, actually. Fortunately, the industry has had to smarten up, as smart writing seems to be on the rise in movie making. Audiences seem to demand it.

theresa said...

Maybe this is why so many blogs are anonymous and so many bloggers still fear their identity will be discovered.

Funny, I was just wondering how to hide something this afternoon. I felt a powerful compulsion to write it and save it. However, there could be tragic consequences if it were discovered by the wrong person.

Am I spooky, or just mysterious? Come on Kyle, you're dying to read it aren't you?

Kyle Stich said...

Oh, I don't think you're dominantly spooky or mysterious, Theresa. I'd say a combination of both, better termed "intriguing."

Diva in Training said...

"You are *right; writing is crucial in all aspects of building up the intensity in drama and horror."

*I meant to put in the word right... Here I am saying reading is fundamental but forget to reread my own writing..lol

J. Breedlove said...

I would also have to say that people in movies have an amazing lack of peripheral vision.