Well, I do love a good horror film. Particularly if it's gory.
This post is inspired by the 100 Scariest Moments thing on Channel 4, and also the fact we're studying The Shining and The Ring.
Many different elements can make up a good horror film. Style of narration is something I find can make or break a horror film. Thing is, I don't know which I prefer: Restricted narration or Omniscient narration.
I'll take the two I'm studying as examples. The Ring is mainly Restricted narration. We generally see what Rachel Keller sees, we don't really deviate from her story. There are a few points in the film when this isn't the case (Katie and Becca in the opening of the film, Noah's death, Noah in the hospital, Samara's tape in the asylum etc.) but throughout most of the film, we're not given any more information than Rachel is. The Shining is omniscient. Though certain sections are shot from point of view, we don't just follow Jack's story or Wendy's or Danny's, we switch between them and thus we are priveledged in knowing things the characters don't. Now I can't decide which is more effective. Perhaps they're both just as effective as each other.
So what makes a good horror film for me?
Gore. That's an important element for me. The Evil Dead is perfect for such things as that. Also when the guy saws through his leg in Saw, I was squealing in delight. I know I'm sick.
I love a psychological viewpoint. The Shining probably fits into this. It's not just your basic "I'm a killer, die die!", we really get into Jack's character. Also, in The Hole, we think we've grown attached to the characters, know who they are, but then it all just starts again and they're completely different people.
I love The Shining, okay, but I HATE seeing women regarded as the weaker sex in horror films. So now I start rambling about one of my favourite modern horrors, Ginger Snaps. This is definately a female film. A female hero [Brigitte], a female villain [Ginger]. There is also the male hero, Sam, but like in The Ring, he is second to Brigitte [as Noah is to Rachel]. Women are shown as powerful in this film. The film even makes fun of this, for example, when Ginger is buring Trina, she says "No one ever thinks chicks do shit like this. A girl can only be a bitch, a slut or the virgin next door."
I could ramble about all the different elements in Ginger Snaps, but I won't.
So here's what I think makes a good horror:
*An insight into the characters, psychological.
*Humour when appropriate
*Not relying on the Hollywood idea of a loud noise or fast movement to make the audience jump. There's a difference between jumping and being scared.
*An original storyline, not one that's been done to death before.
And now before I go, possibly one of my favourite horrors isn't actually a horror. It's a British film. It's a comedy. It's directed by Charlotte Hatherley's boyfriend. It stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I think Shaun Of The Dead is genius. It's piss funny, yet the horror element is still there. There's the gore, and the fight in The Winchester is actually quite scary [not the bit to Don't Stop Me Now, because that's just bloody brilliant. The bit after.] I think it's better than the original. Definately.
I'm aware most of these ramblings don't always make sense, and may repeat a lot, but I'm just writing them down as they come into my head.