What to look for in Horror

October 12, 2014 Discussion 23

I love horror, so this post is a must, since my favorite holiday is coming up. I am overjoyed for my horror binge-week and wanted to talk about the few things that SCARE ME!! Yes, I rarely get scared in books and movies, but what gets my heart beating faster, chills running through my body, and that feeling of dread that you feel for your characters…

Here’s a list of the top five things I have to have!!

1. Realismthe fact that this could be possible or that it’s written in a way where I can deem it possible creeps me out more than anything. Yeah, it can have monsters and whatnot, but things that occur have to be plausible. Does that make sense? You can’t have some random ghost or monster massacring people in the streets and expect me to be scared. BECAUSE KAT FEARS NOTHING *queue evil laughter* I think my favorite horror of the year was about an overly religious cannibalistic family that raped a girl and murdered all her friends when they were on vacation. There’s more to it than that, but damn…that shit was all sorts of realistic and scary.

2. Characters I can identify withthis is for most books that I read of course, but even moreso in Horror. There has to be at least one character that I care about, so that I can continue on with the story in hopes of seeing the outcome. If I don’t care about the people, chances are I don’t care if they live or die. I mean what’s the point really??

3. A clear and precise plotmeaning that I have to understand exactly what is going on, so that I can actually visualize the horror happening. I can understand that some horror likes to keep you in the dark about certain aspects in the book, but there’s a way to do that while also guiding the reader to their own conclusions. My problem is that when something isn’t described well enough (like events or situations) then it really deters from experiencing the big WOW factor when you get to it.

4. Descriptions, descriptions, DESCRIPTIONSmy main focus, because that dark and creepy context has to really pull through the writing. It’s hard to fear something when you have no picture of it in your mind. They have to be clear, they have to make sense, and they have to make me cringe. I love dark imagery and descriptions relating to the plot, but if the book is going on an on about something that doesn’t really matter…that’s where descriptions can bore the reader. I think it’s key to stay between giving enough information and giving TOO MUCH information.

5. A good antagonisthas to have terrifying features either internally or externally, so that we can cheer on the main leads (even if they end up dying). I don’t particularly focus on characterization too much in these sort of antagonists (like ghosts, monsters, aliens…what-have-you) because it’s better to be left in the dark about their motivations or personalities, I personally think that amps up the scare factor, BUT they do have to have a certain evil or chilling presence about them.

Anyway, that’s my post for a while. Tabitha is already filled with posts until the 16th, so I’ll be seeing you after!! I start my horror binge-week on the 18th, so chances are…you’ll be seeing a lot of horror reviews from me (atleast until the October wrap-up).

Happy Halloween all!!

If you want, you can tell me what you particularly look for in horror books. What drives you to that pivotal point of fear?

23 Responses to “What to look for in Horror”

  1. Brigid

    Is it just me or does the element of romance ruin the scare-factor? It always seems less scary when there’s smooches. Just me?

    I love love horror, especially films. I will be watching many many scary things this month. I just saw that Black Sunday, a Mario Bava film, is on Netflix. Excited!
    Brigid recently posted…I Got All The BooksMy Profile

    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      Hmm interesting, I like both, but I think supernatural is harder to pull off. I think it’s because it’s already not real enough to scare me. But…well creepy clowns scare me and it’s not like I see them every day either. lol
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  2. Kirsty-Marie

    Yeah, I’m not that easy to scare either, blood and gore? Nah. Now, psychological horror, yes. The Ring scares the crap out of me. Anything that plays on the psychological angle, my kind of thing. Books…the only one I’ve read so far that’s actually scared me was Say Her Name by James Dawson because it’s to do with Bloody Mary. I’ve read Anna Dressed in Blood which some found scary…now, I love Anna Dressed in Blood dearly, but it wasn’t scary in the slightest. Dolls and Clowns though, I’ll run.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: This is How it EndsMy Profile

  3. Molly Mortensen

    Yeah the whole creepy serial killer thing is a must not before bedtime. It’s not scary if I don’t care about the characters! So many writers don’t get this. Yeah, I don’t like books where I can’t tell what’s real or what’s going on, that’s frustrating, not scary. I’d also like to add that it doesn’t have to be blood and guts, the suspense and even not seeing the monster is scarier.
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    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      Ohhhh suspense is a good add-on to have!! I didn’t really think of that so much, but it’s true. Not knowing the unknown can be pretty freaky in a read, especially when you’re going through the characters mind and feeling what they’re feeling.
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  4. Danya @ Fine Print

    Posts like this one make me realize how much of a wimp I truly, truly am!! On Halloween I’ll be watching cheesy old horror flicks, not the scary new ones with all those insane effects. Pretty sure I’d pee my pants, hahaha! I may not be a horror fan but I definitely agree that a good antagonist is a must. Nothing drags a book or movie down more than an antagonist who’s 1) not scary or 2) too extreme to be believed.
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    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      “not the scary new ones with all those insane effects.”

      Awee but those are ALL THE FUN ONES!! LOL

      I like the cheesy ones too though, my hubs and I make fun of it and it’s all a good time. An antagonist is just something that has to be done right, almost as much as the main character!
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