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Do we all want some chills?

Short one here. I find myself thinking about movies, television series, books out there in the mainstream mostly and just wondering how much dark creeps and scares the general public seem to really want. As much as the horror genre is derided, ignored or mocked, it constantly surfaces in so many forms of pop culture without acknowledgement. Take it away from these films, TV or books and so much would be missing there, a considerable amount of tension and drama gone.

From Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes at the cinema, to The Killing or Lost in television, and books which do more often blur the lines, there is very much a strong level of horror and dread crawling under the narrative, always pushing the drama to a higher point. With the Potter movies and many modern cable television series, are they containing much stronger, more extreme elements of horror and fear these days? Is it actually not simply that special effects have become much better quality and much cheaper and accessible, also allowing creation of more convincing fantastical nightmare scenes and storylines than previously seen?

We always only ever have what is in the present to judge, and with hindsight we can see that special effects in film and television of the seventies, eighties and onwards now look terrible often. Now with the likes of Avatar, Iron Man, Terra Nova (not a favourite of mine), we have such absolutely stunning photorealistic imagery that dreams and nightmares are regularly easily presented to us. Are we now more accepting of the most incredible fantasy and also most truly terrifying horror that w can confront?

I should also remember that our highly creative genre television and movies are out there at the same time we also view all kinds of non-stop intense news media in numberous different formats across television, newspaper, the internet, our phones. In some ways, life is simly increasing extreme, and so

maybe our entertainment just has to match up to our reality. Just maybe, Our individual imaginations and desire for great levels of amazement, wonder and fear seem to be greater than ever. For the writers, filmmakers, artists involved (like myself) this must then be a good thing. A wild, shocking, and entertainingly good thing.



Author of science fiction novels Orbital Kin and Minerva Century-also horror, literary fiction, many short stories and screenplays. Always reading, writing, watching films, playing guitar/bass, and am a husband with a coffee addiction. New horror novel due for 2017. This is my blog, offshoot from my website. It will be where I post current thoughts, opinions, views, reviews, or discussions about contemporary film, movies, books, video games, television series mostly in the horror, science fiction, fantasy and their sub-genre offshoots. The entertainment not in the mainstream (for the most part) and proud of it. Also follow me on twitter- @ParsonsFiction, and facebook - James E Parsons

5 responses to “Do we all want some chills?

  1. I think you have a very good point ihere, but I wonder if there are two elements that are key (both of which you touch on).

    First, do you think that the ease with which special effects can be used creates an easy way to get emotional reactions from the audience? That is to say, is it easier to make something scary, emotional or what have you by showing a giant monster or inserting your actors into the Kennedy assasination than it is to script it out using dialogue alone?

    My second thought is whether or not you feel the rising popularity of horror and horror based stories, is that it’s abundence in media is in part due to the present world economic situation?

    With the creeping sense of desperation tied into any individuals soicio-economic secirity, does the presence of physically visable, but purely imaginary monsters (etc.) give a focal point for ones fear that is clearly fictional?

    • Thank you for your thoughts. Yes I do agree in some ways about the influence and potency of modern CGI and effects in movies and television right now. They have brought much more freedom to adapt many books and stories which were difficult to do so convincingly in the past. Yes, better effects now do threaten the acting and script/screenplays also.
      As I have observed an increase in more fantastic, dark stories in the mainstream culture, it is often viewed to come more often when in the real world we face grim, difficult times. With many of us concerned about terrorism, poverty, crime, epidemics and more we often want this hyperreal escapism so much more. Many of these films and television series let us also deal in metaphorical ways with difficult socio-cultural issues too.

  2. To that end, how do you feel the Sparkley Vampire effect plays into that? Did it arise due to the decadent nature of the first decade of this century or is it just teenage wish fulfilment?

  3. Ah well, that’s just the mind of Stephanie Meyer and Twilight. She wanted to create her own kind of vampire myth, in a modern very overtly romantic way. Job done it seems. No, not every film, book or series can be read for symbolism so easily, and probably should not be initially. First and formost it is about the story, the entertainment. Personally Twilight is both almost offensive and amusing, and just not for me. But to answer you-probably both. Many of the most popular movies and books really get wishfulfilment right, but I don’t think a writer should aim for that primarily, just firstly for a great story.

  4. I agree whole heartidly!

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