The Art of Darkness

What Makes a “True” Horror Fan?

July 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

I recently saw a post on Facebook asking for help; someone was putting together a horror trivia game night and realized that the topic was so huge that she didn’t know how to target her questions. She asked, “if you had to give me the top 5 things TRUE horror fans should know about, what would they be?”

My reply was that it was such a huge topic that I don’t think there’s any way to narrow down what a TRUE horror fan should know until you define what you mean by a “true” horror fan; people with an encyclopedic knowledge of slasher movies and people who are dedicated to Poe and Lovecraft could both reasonably call themselves horror fans but there may be virtually no overlap in their knowledge.

However, I think the question is interesting so I want to open it up to comments here: Are there some things that all (or at least most) horror fans should know about? If so, what are they?

We can also expand a bit: If you were putting together a curriculum for Horror 101, what would you want to be sure you covered?

Posted in Whatever | 7 Comments »

7 Responses

  1. cookie Says:

    Being a bit OCD I guess that the first thing that I’d want to know is what kind of horror am I dealing with. Funny that it works out to 5 catagories ( with a few subsets )but this seems to cover all the bases.

    1. THE DEAD
    (subsets)A Ghosts. a classical example would be Jacob Marley
    B Undead Corporeal. all your zombies etc.

    2.EXTERRA martians etc.

    3.MUTATIONS/MONSTERS Godzilla, Creature from the Black Lagoon, pretty much giant anything.

    4.MADMEN Norman Bates,Michael Myers,etc..

    ( subsets )
    A Demonic/corporeal. Satan, Pazuzu, etc.
    B Spiritual. anything that would imperil your immortal soul; clear choices between classical good and evil like Ahab’s Whale or Heart of Darkness’s or Doctor Moreau.
    C Mythic
    monsters that exist solely because of God or the gods. An example would be a Jinn, Cyclops, etc..
    F Folkloric
    Bigfoot, Werewolves, Jersey Devil,Chupacabra,etc..

    There might be a few that fall outside the catagories but without more coffee I’m damned if I can think of any.

  2. cookie Says:

    ….Heart of Darkness’s KURTZ. KURTZ. Bad proofreading; the horror the horror.

  3. Goth Gardener Says:

    I would also focus on the time period because my first thought was yester year’s slasher movies are not today’s slasher movies… and I didn’t have the right vocabulary so I went searching and what I was looking for was the subcategory of “torture” films. I have no interest in watching Saw or Hostel. And then also “Phobia” films such as Frozen (2010.. not the animated one :p) and After Life (I’m still troubled by that movie). Among my friends, everyone knows I like my horror to be *fun* and supernatural.

    Also when I went looking for vocabulary, I found this helpful chart:

  4. Pixel Pixie Says:

    All I gotta say is that jump scared are cheap. It’s the equivalent of laughing when a small child says “poop”.

  5. Monster Mary Says:

    I wrote out a long response earlier but I think the Internet must have ate it. Ugh.

    Basically what makes a true horror fan is knowing what you like and having a strong opinion about it. What’s your favourite movie? Or director? Or author? Slashers or Gothic? Every fan has a different opinion on those questions. Basically as long as you know what you like and have at least tried most of the sub genres in order to get a good feel of the genre in general than you are a true fan.

  6. WitchArachne Says:

    I considered breaking it up into the different ‘types’ such as novels, short stories, films, etc. but then I thought back to high school and realised their way of structuring the topic was probably best – take a general theme and look at the different ways different media convey that theme’s essence.
    So, I would propose we follow Cookie’s structure, with each topic comparing at least two, and if possible more than two, media of that theme.
    So, for The Dead:
    The Canterville Ghost (short story)
    The Others (movie)
    Being Human (tv series)

    Predator (movie)
    Superman (movie)
    This sounds like an odd pairing, but it would be interesting to look at how a similar plot topic – aliens come to Earth with a plan to dominate what they see as an inferior species until one man fights back – can create stories of different genre. What makes Predator a horror/action, when Superman could never be considered a horror?
    I also feel like The Blob should be examined, but not in comparison to Superman/Predator.

    Mutations and Monsters:
    Frankenstein (novel)
    Godzilla (original 50s movie version)
    Moonlight (tv)

    Hostel/Saw (yeah, I don’t like them either, but you can’t deny they’re horror)
    A lot of stuff from Lovecraft could work here
    The Shining (movie)

    The Exorcist (movie)
    Divine Comedy – Inferno (novel)
    Supernatural (tv)
    Revelations (the Bible)

    Myth (I’m separating this from Religion just for ease of comparison):
    Pan’s Labyrinth (movie)
    Dracula (novel)
    Sleepy Hollow (tv)

    Obviously a lot of these would cross over, and there are plenty that should be added, but I think that’s a good starting point for comparing the different forms if horror over the years.

    Probably should include contextual info with each text as well, like the complicated ideas of sex and sin at the time of Dracula’s writing. Or that when Superman was created, the US was in pretty desperate need of an unambiguously Good, Capitalist, Western, √úbermensch.

  7. cookie Says:

    Love what you did there but I am especially intrigued at you ‘Exterra’pairing. As Pogo said,” We has met the enemy and he is us!”. Americans for the most part have “looked to the skies” to find someone to blame or fix our problems. H.G.Wells’ martians landed just in time to see us out of a depression and a century and into an era of labor exploitation and the first faint echos of another war. Lovecraft’s monsters from outer space came when we were in the throes of the depression, as did Superman. Both the ‘Blob’ and the ‘Bodysnatchers’ showed up during the cold war and note that while Steve McQueen’s role of savior was a given from the start, it took objections from the studio exec’s and producers to change the ending of snatchers from no one listening to the warning that ,”They’re HERE!!!” to ‘hey, this guy’s telling the truth’we’ll fix that! Along those same lines Godzilla was clearly the US created horror of nuclear war but showed so much potential to make money that he was modified by adding Raymond Burr/American to show that we were “victims” too. ( or could be if we don’t keep those evil commies in check.)TV shows at that time were mostly all sweetness and light as producers felt that most folks wouldn’t want to invite evil and horror into their homes but a few years later that quaint notion was proven wrong; the best examples of that would be The Outer Limits and Twilight Zone both shows having numerous examples of not just exterra horror but also sneaking in Pogo’s paradigm of,”..he is us!”. Books/scifi boomed during the fifties and sixties with tons following this theme, a good example would be P.K.Dick’s work. The Viet Nam era brought us Star Trek and The Invaders. Backwards and forwards, if one looks at the major concerns of each historical era one will find a corrosponding fictional scapegoat, a popular boogie man to keep us from looking into a mirror and scaring ourselves to death.

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