By Ian Long
I think they’re missing out on some of the things that make cinema vibrant, powerful and entertaining.
My Writing Horror Now workshop on July 9 is there to supercharge people who already love the genre - and to help others see what they’re missing.
So - to lure you into my (cackle) lair, here are 6 reasons why you should be writing Horror (even if you don’t think you want to).
1. Politics, Society, Religion, Sexuality...
…Interested in any of these issues? Want to comment on them in ways that will make people sit up and listen?
The genre’s visceral, unbound quality lets you talk about social and political ideas in ways that are devastating– and memorable.
Think of recent films like GET OUT and UNDER THE SHADOW. Or older ones like CARRIE, the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and JAWS.
All had intriguing depths and important things to say about the way we're living.
Horror cuts to the chase, dealing with deep, primal issues that other genres skate around.
2. Visual and cinematic qualities
Horror intensifies stories which might otherwise lack cinematic interest, opening up visual possibilities, heightening emotions, increasing stakes.
Sound is also crucial (many of cinema’s breakthrough sound and music design came in the Horror genre).
In other genres, a problem may be talked about, or acted out. In Horror, it’s embodied … by a monster. And it’s up to you how that monster looks, acts and sounds.
3. Popularity with audiences (and critics)
Horror is the most profitable genre of them all, and producers always want good, original Horror scripts. Many popular recent TV shows (HANNIBAL, BEING HUMAN, DEXTER) have strong horror aspects.
And lots of the movies that “break out” of their home territories and achieve international success are in the Horror genre (TROLLHUNTER, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, THE ORPHANAGE).
And when the films are good, the critics will also come on board; all these films were very well reviewed.
4. The Illustrious Tradition
Horror has no lack of cultural or intellectual credibility. Many great writers have contributed to the genre – from Daphne du Maurier, Susan Hill and Hilary Mantel to Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka and Honoré de Balzac (not forgetting Mary Shelley).
Join this gilded roll-call with your own contributions!
5. The Creative Challenge
Horror is an extremely malleable genre which gives writers the chance to reform the world and its possibilities at will. It also blends in interesting ways with other genres.
Think of David Cronenberg’s comment that his film THE BROOD was a more truthful account of a marriage break-up than KRAMER VS KRAMER.
The workshop will look at ways of making something new from this “blending” process.
Take up Horror's creative challenges and give your imagination free rein!
6. Horror isn’t polite
At times when cultural mores become a little rigid, some outlet is necessary for us to say the unsayable, and to give vent to the dark things that underlie our psychology and culture.
Horror is always going to provide these opportunities (humour does something similar - and there's a strange bond between these seemingly very different genres).
Use Horror to indulge your inner punk-rocker, to be provocative, and to experiment with divergent ideas. Audiences will love you for it.
For more information on the workshop, and to book, click here.