Blog: “The Ways Horror Can Make You Feel?”




  What are some of the ways horror can make you feel?

   Recently, I discovered a band called Have a Nice Life, an experimental rock band founded in 2000 by Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga. Their sound conglomerates a lot of different influences, whether it be ambient or industrial, shoegazing or post-rock, but their unique style, at least in the context of song I am seguing toward, is dark. Their song called I Don’t Love is rough-around-the-edges with a production plagued with distortion and imperfection, which was a deliberate artistic decision. The song offers a melancholy sense of depression and dread, and really, I was more tore apart by how it made me feel rather than what was actually said.

   I don’t want to assume anyone’s preferences about music in any ways, but I would consider my tastes as varied. The same way I can write a mystery novel about a talking fox named Vulpecula in The Canes Files, I can write a cutthroat novel about a young girl and a dragon and wage a war on sex-traffickers, as I showed with my novel Katalene the Hollow. I absolutely love the beautiful, immaculate film The Life of Pi and the hilarious buddy-comedy film The Nice Guys, but I am drawn to horror (as you can tell) often as well. Likewise, the same can be said about music, my songs can range from sad to upbeat, from heavy to acoustic.

   I would consider myself a well-adjusted enough person, but I do embrace the darker side of music and life on occasion, whether it suits the thematic tone of my writing, reflects how I am feeling, or if, plain and simple, it sounds good, anything can windup on my playlist.

   A lot of songs are about depression and / or the contemplation of suicide, whereas this song offers thematic layers that makes the fatal decision feel like a foregone conclusion. The music offers a surreal, ethereal bliss and peace of mind about something so drastic and ugly, and that is the reason it has stained my mind the last couple of days the way it has. This is the reason it unnerved me more than usual. How does this apply to the horror genre?

   Well, it made me think of all the ways I have become desensitized with the style and how seldom it is that I unearth something that instills a sense of emotional dread or surreal dissonance that confronts on such an emotional level.

   When I watch a Full Moon Feature / an 80s slasher, etc., I feel a sense of wonder and lightheartedness. Sometimes I think of it as nothing more than nostalgia, but I have discovered the same feeling repeatedly, they have a comfort food style of horror to them. Like Saturday Morning cartoons, so to speak.

   When I think of things that scare me, the last film I can think of that accomplished that feat was Scott Derrickson‘s film Sinister, which I remember being unnerved by through its use of sound.

   However, I remember while I watched Michael Haneke‘s Funny Games (or even Benny’s Video), I found he was able to capture a sense of ugliness and reality, where the dramatization of such horrors felt less cinematic and more cheerlessly desolate, like a Dementor from Harry Potter (like I will never feel happy again). Not a genre, but I have noticed South Korean horror / thrillers can carry an almost brute nihilism to them. And, … I love them for that. Like Oldboy or I Saw the Devil, they have an edge to them that feels mean-spirited and blunt (again, in the nicest way possible, and only applying to what I have seen).

   What are some ways that horror makes you feel? (and what films would you mention for each of your respective categories)

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