A Change in Fear



Ever since the days of the days of old, people have been coming up with stories meant shock and frighten their audiences. However, in the last 10 years there has been shift in the media. Lately the overall use of horror has become more blunt and more based off an adrenalin burst rather then paranoia, dread and a true understanding of the human mind.

In 1896 the first horror movie was shown in France. “Le Manoir du Diable” or “The House of the Devil”, is a enjoyable little horror story with fun camera tricks including skeletons that appear out of thin air and a bat that turns into a man. It might not hold up to todays cinematic experiences, but it did something right. It relied on the audience using their own imagination to conceive the fear. It presented an everyday context to a normal situation (staying at a relatives house), but they twisted it to make the audience feel unsettled and paranoid. This is the essence of horror. The unknown scares us; it’s what makes people afraid of the dark. It is what makes people look over their shoulders when walking down an alley way. This idea of horror gave fans some of the best works of horror. Lovecraft, Silent hill, Edger Alan Poe… etc. But the problem is that this form of horror requires patience, until ultimately providing a big payoff.

Currently now, everything revolves around jump-scares and adrenalin based jolts. This came about because now a days people don’t like to wait. People in the industry think that if they use the old tactic, their viewers will get bored and leave. This mentality of stream-lineing fear and terror in order to make it accessible to a wider audience, makes the act of horror significantly less profound and interesting. Anyone can make a person scream, but to make a person nervous and downright terrified, that takes skill. It takes brilliance. But this can all be undone very easily.

This view that the audience gets easily bored with things such as this style of horror, but sales of some more horror media pieces tell differently. Movies involving the original format, like “Paranormal Activity” and “Cabin in the Woods” have been given amazing reviews and have done well at the box office, stories of HP Lovecraft and Edger Alan Poe have become cult classics and have gained a large following. Time will pass and media will see that people desire profound interpretations of fear, rather than impulsive jump-scares. The video game industry, which as of late has been mass-producing horror video games based around the fear of the unknown. Time will tell what will happen, but there is a pretty good chance that the horror industry will look back to its roots and provide viewers with truly scary pieces of horror.