Study of Horror Writing Techniques

Macabre Musings: A Study of Horror Writing Techniques
The Shining and I Am Legend
Keaton Banks

English 20: Mrs. Dunseith
December 15th, 2009

      The fantastic thing about the horror genre is that it so verily envelops the macabre and morbid fascination that grips everyone. Who doesn’t remember being anywhere between five and ten years old, watching some horror movie with their fingers over their eyes, leaving a slight crack open just to get a glimpse of the monster at hand? What really expands upon the method in ways a movie really couldn’t is the literature because left to one’s own devices; the creature being described begins to take the form of a personal greatest-fear. It’s really the whole theory the characters are meant to have some essence or complacency that the reader can identify with and almost personify him towards the book. In a good horror / suspense ridden novel the main character is so deeply personified, with such blatantly human characteristics as to give the reader a template in the form of a metaphorical bed, waiting for it’s inhabitants. A relatable work background, some set of similar idiosyncrasies. These mental contacts can vary from political views, music choices, habits; it really doesn’t matter as long as an emotional bond is formed with the character that then absorbs the poor mentally unstable mind of the viewer. Once ensnared in the comfort of familiarity, insanity takes hold. An estranged level of psychosis then grips out fateful protagonist, which plays upon the deep primordial human fear of the unknown and alien.
In direct correspondence, the antagonist or thusly-branded ‘Bad Guys’ become and are the real focus of the entire experience. A building full of weapons is useless with nothing to use them against, as is an illogical and Darwin-branded fool another citizen without some omnipotent being for him to coincidentally escape death from. The villain really has to act as an essential foil to the character at...