June Vigants writes for Bleeding Cool:
When was the last time any of us were truly scared? Many panelists concluded their fears had shifted with adulthood- financial fears and health concerns have become more realistic than ghouls on the prowl. Becoming very aware of one’s own mortality apart from the content of their creations is something they’ve all reflected on.
Evil in innocence affects us just as well; characters not noticing they’re doing something evil is very disturbing. The Troop by Nick Cutter and the 1973 film The Wicker Man were mentioned as examples of this.
But at what point is the content of a horror work too taboo? Many agreed the use of rape in media is often unnecessary, becoming overused in media as a cheap source of terror, while the real terror is that this sort of content affects real people who’ve experienced the trauma and comes with consequences.
Knowing when to place limitations to certain elements of horror and what creators have chosen to exhibit in their works is a huge part of it. Over excess use of tropes, indecent, and down-right cheap thrills will undoubtedly drive away the audience. If anything, it will ensure no lasting impression for decades to come.
Charing about characters and making the audience follow them until they’ve become invested is vital. A great example is that of Laurie Strode in John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween. While we only see Laurie and her friends engage together for a set amount of time before the slashing begins, we are already entranced by their genuine and well-established friendship together and their place in the suburban setting of the film. Atmosphere as well, contributes to creating an affective piece of horror. Consistent jump scares, shrill screams, and excessive use of bloody imagery will not leave behind anything for the reader to consider once the content had closed- be it a comic book, a novel, a film, or a video game.
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June Vigants is a comic book writer and artist based out of Connecticut. Her twitter is @JuneRevolver