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Horror stories

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Classic story types > Horror stories

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

The classic horror story creates negative anticipatory emotion such as fear and terror.

A classic horror sequence is as follows:

  • A person enters a situation.
  • There is a terrible threat to them, yet they do not realize this (the audience knows this threat).
  • Danger creeps closer and they still do not realize.
  • Too late, the person realizes the danger.
  • The horrible event happens.

The horrible event can include death of the person or a loved one, pain or transformation into a terrible form, such as one which inflicts in turn the horror on others.

Example

Dracula
The Blair Witch Project
Psycho

Discussion

Horror works slowly but inevitably, as in a dream where a dread threat creeps up on us but we are unable to resist.

In many classic horror stories, the source of horror comes from some supernatural source. This makes it both uncertain and unstoppable, both factors that increase terror.

Horror typically plays also on the natural fear or harm and death with which we are all programmed.

The best horror stories actually show very little monsters, blood, gore and so on. They create fear through the imagination -- which is much more effective at scaring people.

There is thus a different between horror stories and stories of horrible things.

See also

Fear

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