In today’s society, people are starting to prefer gothic and modern horror genres, because it scares them. The horror and gothic themes have changed over the past one hundred years, since the release of Bram Stoker’s famous novella Dracula. There are two films that outline these changes are The Grudge (2004) directed by Takashi Shimizu and The Mist (2007) directed by Frank Darabont, and there is one novel that also outlines both the horror and gothic genres, this novel is called Just After Sunset (2008) written by Stephen King. These Films and the novel, are helping people slowly get into gothic and horror genres without completely scaring the pants off them, But you Have some people that just switch to the horror genre because it suits what they feel or they just like it. The first film The Grudge is easily one of the scariest films in the 21st century.
In the 2004 film The Grudge directed by Takashi Shimizu, has a very simple plot to the film, but the history behind the film is quite complex. The film is about the curse of a woman who died a vengeful death in Japan, and her spirit is haunting all who see it, and kills them and when this ghost kills a person, that person becomes a ghost. When Staci Layne Wilson interviewed Takashi after The Grudge, she asked him “And how did that idea come to you?
In my opinion, to American people real things like serial killers or murderous neighbors, that sort of notion is scarier. But in Japan, and in Japanese culture, the ghosts – particularly people who died with a grudge can turn into a ghost. That is the scariest thing in Japan. Since I was a little boy, I’ve always thoughts of ghosts – so I’ve had this idea since I was a kid.”(Wilson 2004, Takashi Shimizu: Director of The Grudge) This tells us that Horror genres are become more popular and appealing to directors and producers since this movie was released, six years after its release the grudge is still the number one horror and gothic film made in the 21st century. Takashi uses images in the film to add the feeling of the viewer them self I are being watched by a supernatural force, in one particular scene a lady is riding up a elevator and each time she passes a floor in the elevator there is a boy standing near the door of the elevator, but when the doors open at her floor nobody is there. Or another particular part in the film, when a character is having a shower and washing her hair, and there is a shot of the back of her head and a hand appears put of nowhere, but seconds later its gone. These sorts of images in film play tricks on the views and it makes them imagine there nightmare, and fear of the unknown, which the 2007 film The Mist does.
The Mist released in 2007 directed by Frank Darabont is based on the short story written by Stephen King, the plot is very simple, the military were conducting experiments on opening portals to other dimensions, and it goes horribly wrong, creating a portal which sends out a mist which envelops a near by town and unleashed a unknown evil onto it, and a group of survivors are left stranded in a shopping center. The film mainly relies on surprised and horrific scenes to scare and shock the view but also leaves them heightened so they can watch the rest of the film, the film its self is classified as a horror, but its also quite dark in the sense that people would sacrifice others so they can live, that is one of those aspects which make this film fall into the category of a gothic film as well. “It always struck me as a kind of timeless story,” says Darabont. “It’s what I call the Lord of the Flies paradigm: you put people into a pressure-cooker of fear and terror, you shake ‘em up and you see what they do. Do they start to work together, or do they start to descend into unreason and savagery and superstition? It’s like one of the characters says: ‘The human race is fundamentally insane. If you put two of us into a room together we’re soon gonna start figuring out good reasons to kill one another.” (Patterson 2008, ‘The human race is insane’) The other part of this film that makes is a really good horror film is the fact that it plays on peoples fear of the unknown and what might happen if we venture outside our safety zones, in the film the survivors safety zone is the supermarket. If something were to get inside the safety zone people would be thrown into chaos, and near insanity. The mist started of as a short story in a collection of books written by Stephen King, another famous collection of short gothic and horror stories written by Stephen King is Just After Sunset.
On the 11th of November 2008 Stephen King’s latest novel was released this one was called Just After Sunset, it is a collection of short stories where the characters have their lives changed by horrifying experiences. A truly horrific story in this novel is one that goes by the name of The Cat From Hell it is a story about a wealth elderly man, who now lives in a house by himself, after his friends die in the same house. He believes the cause of their deaths was because of a cat, so he hires a hit man with is unusual challenge of disposing of the cat, the hit man soon realizes that this is no ordinary cat, this cat is evil like it has been possessed by a demon. Just when the hit man was getting to his destination, the cat some how escapes its prison and attacks the hit man causing him to drive off the road. And is followed up by the cat gruesomely killing the man and turning his body into a bed. King like his mentor Alfred Hitchcock provides an assortment of victims for his novels and short stories, like in another story in just after sunset is one called The Gingerbread Girl it is about an obsessive jogger finds herself duct-taped to a dining chair in the kitchen of a mansion in the Florida Keys; and death isn’t far away, with lucky she might escape, alive. With this in mind any reader could easily put himself or herself into that characters shoes and think that could be me that psycho could have tied up. This is why Stephen King is called the master of horror.
Those three examples of both gothic and horror films and a collection of short stories, are widely read and watched in today’s society, not just for fun or something to do but people want to genuinely scared and terrified. This is because people rather want to watch something bad happen to someone else instead of having something bad happen to themselves. People in today’s society also are using these films and books to help them get over their fear of the unknown, it can’t nothing can prepare someone for a completely random event. Everyone should be afraid of the unknown.
Harrison, J. (2008). My poisoned bon-bons. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/nov/15/just-after-sunset-stephen-king. Last accessed 11th February 2011.
Patterson, J. (2008). The human race is insane. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2008/jun/27/filmandmusic1.filmandmusic6. Last accessed 10th February 2011.
Wilson, S, L. (2004). Takashi Shimizu: Director of The Grudge. Available: http://www.horror.com/php/article-605-1.html. Last accessed 10th February 2011.