The Extremity Of Horror

Hey, hi, and hello. Welcome back to my blog where not all those who wander are lost (J.R.R Tolkien). Can the level of extremity of horror differ depending on the medium (live action or animated)? After receiving this assignment I immediately knew I wanted to ask this question. Personally I don’t watch horror movies as I get scared too easily. The only horror movies I have seen are Coraline and Halloween. The assignment we received was to ask an essential question that we can answer through our knowledge on horror. With my knowledge of horror only being from the two movies I have  watched and our class visit to the horror exhibit at the MOPOP I wanted to ask a question that allows me to find a correlation between these movies. Before I answer this essential question I should dive into what makes these 2 movies scary.

Now when people think about “Coraline” they picture it as a kids movie yet it’s scary to both adult and kid audiences. The main way that this movie succeeds so much in conveying a terrifying story is through stop motion. With stop motion animation you can manipulate and distort to create an unusual perspective on people and places. Something that this movie plays on that is scary for not just this movie but any other horror movie is the origin of the story. The movie “Coraline” is based off of Neil Gaiman’s book “Coraline”. Neil Gaiman’s book was inspired by “The New Mother” by Lucy Clifford, “The New Mother” has been retold by Alvin Schwartz as “The Pear Drum”. All these adaptions of this story include one consistance. The other mother. The Other Mother in Neil Gaiman’s adaption lives in this Other World where she waits to lure unhappy children and steal their souls. In Lucy Clifford’s version the New Mother (Other Mother) arrives after the two main children of the story behave so badly they drive their mother away. This New Mother (Other Mother) has glass eyes that shine and a wooden tail. 

The Other Mother is connected strongly to what is known as the Beldam. Beldam is another word old woman or a witch. The Beldam is defined as a demonic shape shifting entity who lures children into another dimension to consume their flesh and take their souls. The Beldam’s true form resembles closely to a skeletal spider. “Coraline” also has some parallels to other horror movies. In the movie “Us” there are other versions of everyone and they want to replace the originals, similar to how the Other and New Mother wants to replace the old mother. Another parallel is between the Other Mother and Penewise. At the end of both “Coraline” and “It: Chapter Two” both antagonists end in a form that resembles a spider.

After breaking down the origin and it’s connections to other horror movies it’s even more scary than just watching it. But If I want to truly answer this essential question I need to break down a live action horror movie I’ve seen.

Halloween. “Halloween” was the first ever live action horror movie I’ve seen and I only just watched it this year. I only watched it to be able to better understand horror for our project, personally I wouldn’t watch it unless I had to. Earlier in this project I did do a bit of a deep dive into the behind the scenes of the movie. What I learned from my research was director John Carpenter’s visions and ways to instill fear within the audience and make the audience connect to the ‘final girl’ Laurie. Many aspects added in this movie that make it truly terrifying is the built up suspense. Throughout the movie we see Micheal Myers following Laurie throughout her day. Because of this we know there will some sort of conflict between the two. Another suspense building feature is the music. This movie has an eerie soundtrack that just builds to silence. Then at the silence we just wait for the expected to happen yet we still get scared. Even though this movie was low budget it was a major success in horror and has turned into one of the biggest horror franchises. 

Can the level of extremity of horror differ depending on the medium (live action or animated)? In a stop motion animation horror such as coraline characters and other aspects can be manipulated to appear unnatural and/or odd. In live action films they rely on the technology they have access to to morph things or people. In movies like Halloween with such a low budget and little technological advancements in film at the time they weren’t able to rely on technology but on the actually physical artistry. I believe that live action horror films have a higher level of horror than animation horror films. Live action movies are more relatable on the physical aspect that these horrific events are happening to real live action people whereas animated movies may be horrific but given that they are animated or stop motion animated they aren’t as scary as we can’t physically relate to the characters as much as a live action film.

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