RESOURCE Genre Guide: Horror

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Arcadia, May 17, 2016.

  1. The horror genre is a prolific literary genre known for sparking many literary classics such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dracula by Bram Stoker. However, there are a lot of subgenres in horror, and this guide is here to help you understand the horror genre as a whole for writing purposes!
    1. An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.

    Horror roleplays are all about scaring your players. About making the feel dis-empowered and weak in the face of insurmountable and often paranormal odds. Horror is about making your players feel frightened as creatures from the forth dimension come to attack them. In order to gain a greater understanding of the horror genre, here are a few of the many literary subgenres that horror has spawned.

    • The term Gothic fiction refers to a style of writing that is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. It was a style popularised in the 18th Century, and is a type of horror that focuses on the advancement of technology and realism, moreso than it's romantic predecessors. Gothic horror takes place in locations with architecture such as gargoyles and buttresses, such as old manors or castles. Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein fall under this category.
    • Dark Fantasy refers to a hybrid mix between horror and fantasy, where the fantasy roleplay in question would have darker and more frightening themes. Dark fantasy is sometimes also used to describe stories told from a monster's point of view, or that present a more sympathetic view of supernatural beings usually associated with horror. An example of Dark Fantasy would be that of Neil Gaiman's novel, The Sandman.
    • Lovecraftian horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknown more than gore or other elements of shock, though these may still be present. It is named after American author H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). Lovecraftian horror often features cosmic creatures from outer space who intermingle with human society, or live on Earth, such as Cthulhu.
    • Psychological horror aims to create discomfort by exposing common or universal psychological and emotional vulnerabilities/fears and revealing the darker parts of the human psyche that most people may repress or deny, and as such the aim of psychological horror is to focus on and propagate the idea of mental conflict. This becomes important as the characters face perverse situations, sometimes involving the supernatural, immorality and conspiracies. While other horror media emphasize fantastical situations such as attacks by monsters, psychological horror tends to keep the monsters hidden and to involve situations more grounded in realism. Examples of this would be The Omen, and Saw.

    • Survival horror is a genre of horror that focuses on the survival of the character/ protagonist, in an attempt to frighten the reader. The protagonist will most often be unprotected and unarmed, unable to defend themselves against the threat that want to kill them. This is a subgenre of horror most prominent in video gaming, and examples of Survival Horror would be Slender: The Eight Pages, Outlast and Fatal Frame are examples of this subgenre.
    • Body horror, biological horror, organic horror or visceral horror is horror fiction in which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Such works may deal with decay, disease, parasitism, mutation, or mutilation. Examples of this subgenre would be the Alien Trilogy, Akira, and Hellraiser.
    • Supernatural horror is horror that focuses on the occult, spirits and other supernatural forces. Some examples of this would be films such as Insidious, Child's Play and Ju-On.
    • Invasion Horror deals with, as it's title suggests, invasion. Whether that be in a home or in a building similar, invasion is defined as the unlawful and unwanted entering of a premises, and Invasion Horror capitalises on this fear by introducing human threats into the plot, turning someone's home into a battleground where they are both the hero and the victim. Examples of Invasion Horror would be that of the movie The Purge.
    • Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction is a genre which involves global catastrophic risk. The literature is mainly science fiction, science fantasy or horror fiction with the apocalypse event typically being climatic, such as runaway climate change; natural, such as an impact event; man-made, such as nuclear warfare; medical, such as a plague or virus, whether natural or man-made; or imaginative, such as zombie apocalypse or alien invasion. Examples of this would be The Stand by Stephen King, The Walking Dead, On the Beach by Neville Schute and War of the Worlds.

    I hope you will all find this genre guide useful, and be sure to post any comments or questions you have about the guide!
    #1 Arcadia, May 17, 2016
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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