Sunday, June 26, 2011

Too Horrific?

In general, I'm not a big fan of horror as a genre. I don't watch horror movies. I don't read Stephen King. The main reason I like Halloween is because it's an excuse to eat lots of candy, and it's the day before NaNoWriMo starts.

That's not to say that I haven't written some pretty creepy stuff myself. Some of the descriptions I've written as writing exercises or in response to prompts have made me shudder when I reread them later. I even have a pretty detailed idea for a novel about ghosts with some interesting (at least I think they're interesting) twists. I plan for this novel to become my long-term project once I finish the trilogy I'm currently working on.

This all seems a little odd. After all, I've never even read or watched anything in the 'horror' genre. It's always seemed entirely unappealing to me, so how could I possibly want to WRITE it? After thinking about this, I had to ask myself, is the reason I don't like horror because I don't like the concepts, or because most of it is so graphic?

It's definitely the latter. Realizing this was looking at the summary for the movie 'Black Swan'. I thought it had something to do with ballet but wasn't sure, and I was intrigued, so I looked it up online. The concept - a ballet dancer who gets the part of Odette in Swan Lake but becomes more and more like the black swan, Odile - sounded interesting, but looking at the parental guidance ratings made me lose any desire to see this movie. It's rated R, described as 'graphic and explicit' and 'frightening and disturbing'. There's swearing, too.

And why? I don't understand the need for it. I can appreciate the fun in being a little scared, but why would anyone want to see or read something that's going to disturb them? I was a little grossed out just reading the parental guidance rating! I can't imagine how bad the actual movie is.

I really think it's unneccesary. I understand that people have varying levels of comfort and the effect something has differs, but some things are just too extreme. No matter what the genre, the point should be to produce a good movie or write a good novel, not shock and scare people to the extreme just for the sake of it. I honestly believe that there can be good horror books and movies that don't make you lose sleep for the next week and a half.

I don't know if I would have seen Black Swan even if it had been much less extreme and rated, say, PG-13, because with something like that I do prefer a book because I have more control over the images that I see in my brain. But I do know that I will never, ever watch it now, and I'm sure there are other people who think the same thing.

Maybe 'horror' is a bad name for the genre, since that implies that the point is just to scare, even if you lose the plot behind all the gore. But there are some elements of fiction that are specific to this genre, and I just wish there was way to have those without all the negatives that come with it.

Off to think about my not-too-horrific-horror-novel,

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