Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The essence of horror?

I was reading this review of my novella, Dead Man’s Eye ( and it started me thinking about what the essence of horror is. Obviously this reviewer was turned off by the fact that people died, and she felt awful for the protagonist being in such dire circumstances. Now it’s not a bad review at all, just not that reader’s cup of tea for the reasons mentioned, but what is horror supposed to do? According to Wikepedia: “Horror fiction is a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror.”

So I guess in that respect the piece has achieved what horror is supposed to do as said reviewer obviously felt something for the protanonist to feel depressed by what happened to her. If the reviewer hadn’t felt anything for the main character, then the story wouldn’t have carried any weight, so in that respect the story has succeeded. But what do you as a reader think of horror fiction? Should stories have happy, upbeat endings? Do you mind seeing characters die?


Nicolette said...

Horror fiction should make you think along the lines of 'that could happen some day' or even the opposite! 'thank God that'll never happen!', but it should scare you and have that essential PTQ (page turning quality).
Should characters die? Secondary ones, yeah. I'd hate to read a story where I backed a main character all the way through and then he/she gets killed. That would really annoy me and make me avoid books by that author again.

Shaun said...

I personally don't mind if a character dies, as long as it fits in with the story and doesn't just happen to 'up the body count'. My current work in progress hasn't got a single death yet, and I'm over 30k in! lol

Anonymous said...

I often say that people should not review in a genre they don't really read in. It reflects unnecessarily poorly on the writer.

Horror often means death, in a thousand different incarnations: sudden, bloody, death with torture...the list goes on.

Horror might be depressing, but if someone's looking to "feel good" they should stick to Eat, Pray, Love.

Shaun said...

Interesting point, but I guess [they] need to try reading in a particular genre to see whether they like it, so it's Catch 22 really.