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Teh horror!

I read The Call of Cthulhu today and it got me thinking, I really don't care for modern horror.  You ask someone today what are their favorite horror stories, and they'll likely say Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw, or other gore-fests.  I don't like any of those movies.  I much prefer the horror stories of 50-100+ years ago. 

I don't think having blood and internal organs spattered across the screen really does anything to create a feeling of horror.  No, the greatest terror is inside your own head, your own imagination.  The old horror writers would plant the seed of fear in you and then let your mind do the rest.  They less that's shown, the more your brain has to work with.  That's why I think radio dramas and books make for much better horror than movies.

The acme of the horror genre, in my opinion, has got to be Orson Welles' radio version of The War of the Worlds.  Well written dialog, with some simple sound effects, mixed with the imaginations of millions, led to mass hysteria.  Countless people actually believed the world was coming to an end.  Radio stations and police were swamped with calls from frightened citizens.  And there were no pictures. no video.  It was all in people's heads.

The best horror stories are those that give you an idea about something terrible, something unknown or unspeakable, and then leaving it to you to fill in the blanks.  No graphic disembowlings, no hockey masks and chain saws.  No, far more horrifying is the idea that some horrific creature could be out there, lurking, waiting.

"In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."


Comments

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crim_ferret
Nov. 4th, 2010 06:05 am (UTC)
I love H.P Lovecraft stories. I just tend to avoid reading them right before sleep. I can watch a modern gorefest with no problem, but read something like 'The Rats in the Walls' and you might not like the dreams or the starting awake at ever little sound in the house.
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