Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Gore vs. The Creep, and The Why?

There has been a lot of discussion of gore vs. lit. horror at the writing places I've been frequenting lately. I've been asked by members at both the df_underground and Shock Totem what flavor I (and the other users) like my horror. The other question thrown up for us is "Why?"

First off, the Why - I've always had a dark sense of the world at large, it is cold and crusty place that is what makes me feel at home. Now, I don't always need to write dark tales, I've been dared by some lovely people to write with not darkish themes, and those have turned out alright. But my home really is in the shadows that creep through the house when there is a thunder storm, or the dark corners, long forgotten in a damp basement that everyone is afraid of.

Does this make me or the other people I associate with "Bad?" No. Not at all. If anything, I believe it makes us stronger because we are ourselves with open arms, despite the strange looks, or the questions of "Why can't you write something Happy?" It's not really about happiness. I know plenty of people who write darkly who are pleasant and singing most days. We just think differently than what is considered the "norm"

Now for the other subject of this post. I enjoy gore, but only on a humorous level. In movies it's usually overdone to gross out those who can not stomach blood- letting. When I first started writing (I don't think that will ever get old. Sorry if people are tired of it, I'm still in awe that I found my nitch) my story came out dark, but I didn't think it could be horror because it didn't have gore.

For those of you who know me better than others, I tend to be a tad neurotic and a touch paranoid and that spawns a panic inside of me that could throw me off the course I was originally on (I've since worked on this problem and it happens a lot less frequently) and so, I started adding sprinklings of blood and bitty pieces of flesh to "spice" up my writing.

It was a rookie mistake on my part to be completely honest. Then, as I settled into my gut wrenching, blood-spilling self I found the term "Literary Horror" it was creepier, darker and richer. Filled with unsettling obstacles that really took me out of my own dark place and thrust me into a abyss where no light could ever go. I was fascinated. I loved it, and I started thinking I could never write something beautifully tragic.

Then I muffled the damn nervous voices (got me some duct tape and wire) in my head and really took a look at what I've written in the past. Only about four stories out of fifteen or twenty have gore. I realized where I had gone wrong, and again it pointed to the place where I should have trusted my instincts.

So I've grown in my writing, and I now know what the true meaning of staying true to yourself means. I love literary horror because it sneaks up on you, it makes you feel uncomfortable, and puts you in a place one would not normally want to be in. It makes you face things you don't want to. And frankly, while I am still learning, I am looking forward to the day where I get to place a reader inside of one of those little boxes to torture them as well.

Gore will always be there. It helps hone action scenes, and once in a while I still purge my brain of the icky and groady. But mostly I still with the creepy. It's just the way I roll.

So I pose to everyone the same questions bestowed upon me. Why horror? And which do you prefer? Gore or Creep? There are no wrong answers, only opinions :D


K. Allen Wood said...

Give me creepy over gory any day. Gore too often lean heavily on the cheese.

Done well, though, and it can be very frightening. But the creepy stuff is what gets me, the stuff that only shows the shadows of the vivid details you get with gore.

E. F. Collins said...

I'm with Ken. Gimme creep any day of the week. Gore can be done well, yes, but I'd rather my mind come up with the details of the horrific things.

Shadow said...

Yep I third this view. Give me creep so that I huddle under the covers in terror!

Good post hon!

Cody Taylor said...

Creepy over gore. Even though I prefer Slasher flicks over the psychological thrillers. However, I just watched Paranormal Activity and it scared the shit out of me. I'm confused, creepy is scary but gore looks good on the silver screen.

Demon Hunter said...

I prefer creep which is traditional horror. Gore is just a lazy way to bring about a reaction, IMHO. To scare folks without the tactics Hollywood uses is a lot harder to do and it causes a more genuine scary reaction. :-D

K.Hinny said...

I think that seems to be the overall view. Horror gore is good but can be overdone, horror creep is great and people love feeling that discomfort.

Thanks everyone for answering! And reading.

Benjamin Solah said...

"Creepy" over "Gore" tends to win out, but I think that's mainly about how we discuss it.

Often "gore" stories or movies are overlooked chiefly because people can't look beyond the violence and see that there might be a story behind it.

I tend to be far more impressed by movies labelled "torture porn" than most people.