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  • Ray L.

Spooky Stories

Horror is a staple genre amongst several different mediums. Audiences are pulled into horror stories by its grotesque nature. The intense grip that horror is able to put on its audience is part of the reason this genre is so compelling and why it has lasted for so long. Although many people think of horror stories as recent horror movies such as It or The Conjuring, horror stories have been written for centuries. One of the most famous examples is Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Even if most people haven’t read Frankenstein, the legacy of it continues to live on through multiple pop culture references and remakes. Frankenstein is just one example of how horror stories evolve throughout the years and how these evolutions have continued to sustain its grip on society.

Horror is often a mishmash of several genres from sci-fi to psychological thrillers. One way Noël Carroll classifies horror is the use of monsters in such stories. Carroll admits classifying horror based on whether there is a monster in the story is not the best way to classify this, as fairy-tales are also a common genre with the use of horror, yet the two are incomparable. This is because horror often draws on the grotesque, unnatural order of things. While in fairy-tales the monster can be portrayed as a friend or a companion, such as Ronald Dahl's classic the Big Friendly Giant, where the giant is described as friendly in the title. Monsters are also prevalent in fantasy, oftentimes as an enemy or an opponent, yet you will never mistake a horror monster for a fantasy monster. For example in fantasy series Twilight the Cullens are vampires, yet they are not mistaken for the original Dracula derived from horror.

The monster is often depicted as something against nature and unnatural. Carroll notes that horror often plays on monster’s differences from humans in order to make its audience feel uncomfortable and play on those emotions to create a more terrifying story. A common monster derived from horror are creatures of the “Undead,” which include zombies and vampires. The title, “Undead'' displays the uncomfortable existence of such creatures. These creatures play on the audience’s fear of death and makes it even more unsettling since these monsters are in a freakish in-between state of living and dead.

The grotesque and terrible nature of horror is exactly what has drawn people to it for so long and what continues to make it such an interesting genre. Horror continues to pull from all aspects of life to instill fear in its audiences and is one of the best genres to pull emotion out of its readers at every turn.

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