I’m currently in the process of creating an hour-long TV show to be broadcast last year about the genre of horror, and the different kinds of horror there are – which got me thinking; what scares us most in films?
You have the Paranormal Activity style of film where it’s recorded the hand-held cameras. This is the mocumentary style of filming, which most people believe is real because it’s filmed and produced so well. It’s also the fear of the unknown, and fearing the dark and what you cannot see but hear – something that most people have experienced themselves (obviously not on the same level as the film, but you get the idea).
Oren Peli said this about the Paranormal Activity series;
“During the nighttime shots when you know something is going to happen, your eye keeps scanning the room looking for something. Anything out of the ordinary becomes very unsettling. So just let them use their own imagination,”
and went on to say;
“People respond to the fact that this is all about what happens at home, on your own bed, at night while you’re asleep and most vulnerable”
When you think about the films without the fear factor – what do we really see? A door moving? A shadow? Some footsteps? Nothing at all – less is definitely more.
Another type of film is the more in your face horror – films like Insidious, where you still have elements of hearing unexplained noises, but it’s filmed professionally and there is physical contact with the subject. I personally believe that 9/10 these don’t leave a lasting effect on you as you know there is no reality element in them, whereas with the mocumentary style you feel like it could happen to you.
James Wan, half of the creation team of Insidious said this in an interview about the film;
Well, if you have a ghost or, or something, that appears in the corner, you have to sting it! You have to sting it with a loud musical cue. But then I would fight that and say, “No, it’s scarier if a character just walks past and we don’t acknowledge it. We don’t acknowledge it in the filmmaking. We don’t have the character acknowledging it by knowing that there’s something there. The audience watching it, all of a sudden, will go, “Did I just see something?” Because you’re not sure, right?
Apparent ignorance from the character about what’s just appeared behind him puts you on edge. Why? Because you never know if there’s something behind you that you’ve never noticed before. Suddenly, the hairs on the back of your neck go up.
Why do we watch Horror films? I’ve never really understood why, but people love to be scared as long as there are no consequences – some of the highest grossing experiences in the UK are events like Scare Walks and Zombie walks.
What kind of horror film do you prefer? Do you enjoy watching horror films? Comment below and let me know!