Tuesday, March 17, 2009

REAL Horror writing vs. Cheap Tricks

PEOPLE!! I just read a short story by someone who thinks they are a horror writer but employs only cheap tricks like things jumping out of the dark. Those tricks can be good, but only when blanketed between the thick pillows of circumstantial evidence which terrorizes by continually revealing a complex structure that will endanger your characters!
YES!!! You scared me with ur killers reaching suddenly through the window, but you DID NOT TERRORIZE me!!
If there is no dark underbelly that is BEYOND surface fright, you have no substance!
Think about that!!

Book Examples:

'The Hospital Horror' = Cheap Thrills

'Ghost Story' = Real Chills

Let's look at some MOVIE examples to help make the distinction:

'Scream' movies = Cheap Thrills
'The Exorcist' = REAL Chills

'Leprechaun' = Cheap Thrills

'The Orphanage' = REAL Chills

Tricks are for Kids, people! Don't cheapen your talent by giving in and staying second rate!
-Like Shrek says, "Layers!" Stories should have layers!


Lady Glamis said...

Hey, some great thoughts! I certainly don't like much horror at all. And I certainly can't write it. I should try sometime, but if I do, I'll steer clear of those cheap tricks. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes The Orphanage was FANTASTIC!
It was so Unpredictable and that made it really creepy.

Another good example is The Strangers.

Pen Pen said...

:) I think that as writers we could do a great job writing anything we put our minds to, but we've probably tend to WRITE to genre we love to READ most. Once you read many horror novels that are GOOD, you begin to pick up ideas. So- I really think that we choose to write what we like, but that doesn't automatically bad at writing another genre. You should try it! I know the next piece I want to do is going to be another genre besides the thriller/horror area I love to be in. It's a stretch as a writer-challenges us :)

Pen Pen said...


I haven't seen 'the strangers', but I loved 'The Orphanage'--

I think that when directors aren't bridled by the movie machine, they can make stuff like this or 'Pan's Labyrinth' and it's just amazing to watch!
...Have to admit that 'THe Strangers' preview scared me tho...I tend to read lots of horror, but not watch as many of the movies--it seems SO much scarier to me when it's there in front of my face---maybe it's cuz I can run into the kitchen and shove the book into the freezer, but the other people in the room get mad when u shut off a movie.
It's good tho---It's good to be scared out of my mind-it helps me know what would scare others :)

Anonymous said...


You realy should watch it.
No special effects, strange things lurking in the dark or all those other predictable things just plane and simple PRIMAL FEAR!

And at the end of the movie it realy leaves you with the question " Why ? " and the urge to lock your door when you are alone in the house ;)

I love it when writers/directors leave something to the imaganition of their readers/audience.

Thought Pan's Labyrinth was briliant. I think you would realy love the book White Oleander it's fantasic.

Pen Pen said...

I'll check those out and let u know! Thanks for the recommendations!!! :)