Horror Unit Writing Assignment
What scares you? Could it be a bloody mess of guts? Or a little more subtle horror of human nature? Whatever it is, horror continues to be a very popular genre in the movie franchise. Many people enjoy getting a kick out of getting scared for some reason. In this essay we will explore literary elements in horror and how it has evolved over the years to what it is now. The horror films and short stories I will be referencing are “Hop-Frog” 1845, “The Lottery” 1948, Vertigo 1958, and Drag Me to Hell 2009.
In “Hop-Frog” written by Edgar Allen Poe, a cripple and a dwarf get revenge on an oppressive and misogynic king. Its type of horror is obviously revenge. Examples of horror in this selection are the murder of the king and the king and his cabinet turning into beasts. Also his corpse is disturbing when Hop-Frog burns him. Finally the brutality of the king hitting a defenseless girl and showing no guilt is heinous.
The next short story is “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Its type of horror is sociological. An example of horror in this selection is the murder of woman and countless people before her. Another example is the suspense of it because it starts out very normal and the sudden violence of the people. The fact that the children and everyone killed the woman is scary because they seem to be normal and killing someone is the worst and unforgivable crimes in the world. Finally the reluctance of people to change from such atrocious ritual is alarming.
In the movie Vertigo directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based off the novel Sueurs froides: d’entre les morts (”Cold Sweat: From Among the Dead”) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac a man falls in love with a woman and then she kills herself. The type of horror in this film is psychological. An example of horror is the suspense as follows her while she seemingly is posessed. Another example is the suicide of “Madeleine” and her seemingly possessed by the spirit of her dead relative. Finally the last example is the hero going so crazy he makes Judy dress like Madeline so he may love her.
The second and final film we will analyze is Drag Me to Hell directed by Sam Raimi who wrote the screenplay along with his brother, Ivan Raimi. Drag Me to Hell is about a woman named Christine Brown gets a curse placed on her by an old gypsy lady for not giving her a loan from the bank and her attempts at getting rid of the curse which will put her in Hell to suffer for an eternity. This horror flick’s type of horror is allegorical because it is mainly evil. Examples of horror are the thought of suffering eternity in hell is pretty freaky. Also the gypsy lady just looks creepy in general and can’t get knocked out after repeated trauma to the head would point to supernatural entities. The last example of horror is digging a grave in a cemetary….at night. Horror is different because theres more nudity. And also it has way better special effects. Finally there’s more supernatural aspects. Usually the more modern horror films have more blood and are more slasher but I chose this one because its one of the only horror movies I actually watched. This is very rare movie because it is a vastly different from the normal movies of its day and it got a really good critical reception.
A literary element all of these horror films and stories share is foreshadowing. In “Hop-Frog” the protagonist is always has that gutteral grinding of his teeth which makes the reader assume that he is going to get his revenge. Plus he dresses the King and his mes as beasts meaning that he will probably humiliate them in some way. In “The Lottery” Tessie starts screaming signaling that the lottery is not a good thing and people are hesitant about touching or going near the black box that the lottery takes place in. The foreshadowing in Vertigo is two people committing suicide (one is fake though) on a certain church. The other is the necklace that Madeline’s ancestor iswearing in her portrait. Finally in Drag Me to Hell the coin in the envelope that Christine gives to get boyfriend isn’t totally random. Also the possibility of a promotion signifies she is going to do something stupid to get it.
Horror has really changed over the years. In the old days it was more psychological and less predicatable. Now modern horror is mostly slashing, killing, ghosts, little or no character development, and there is blood nearly everywhere. But one thing nearly all horror movies have is the literary element foreshadowing. In conclusion horror will porbably continue to evolve and maybe in 50 years it we will be scared of killer mushrooms.