Sunday, January 28, 2007

What is Scary?

Thanks Richm for the idea of a horror party. I will bear that in mind. This week I have to write a ghost story. I haven't read many ghost stories for years. I was an avid fan of the genre as a teenager and had loads of anthologies of ghost stories. I can remember being really spooked by some of them.

These days there aren't many things that really scare me in a book. Maybe the age of cinema has hardened us up so that we harder to scare. We are certainly exposed to copious amounts of tension and violence via the cinema and tv. A friend of mine said that she finds ghost stories scarier if they are true tales - an interesting point.

The stories I find scariest are post apocolyptic tales where you can almost imagine they are real or could happen - in books this is things like "Day of the Triffids", Douglas Coupland's "Girlfriend in a Coma" and Peter Dicksons Changes trilogy, in film it is things like "Children of Men" and Quatermass. Somehow these strike me as being far more chilling than something about monsters or ghosts.

1 comment:

theprovocativecynic said...

It's suspense that frightens me these days rather than horror per se. I think you're right that it's the possibility of something happening that is scary - as encapsulated by Julie Myerson's 'Something Might Happen'. Am particularly frightened when something is threatening a child, since I became a parent - and have never managed to watch 'The Shining' all the way through as the scene with the child cycling through the hotel corridors does my head in every time. Even in early gothic, such as Stoker's 'Dracula', it's the suspense that frightens me rather than ghouls and ghosts etc.