As we begin this week, I thought it in my best interest to try to get as much done at the beginning of the week, instead of waiting ’til Thursday & Friday. For this assignment, we were asked to read/listen/watch some horror. I read Last Respects and watched Night Gallery & Boris Karloff’s Thriller.
Since Last Respects is a comic, it is hard to convey horror and emotion through words alone. This comic used an excessive amount of exclamation points as well as bolded and capitalized words to convey their emphasis on certain words and create the spooky effect. The comic did use a style that had Quentin Tarantino-esque features to it: The story started towards the middle, then had flashbacks in order to fill the audience in on what exactly was happening. It wasn’t until the very end of the comic that the horror comes out, in the fact that the main character ate corpse flesh in order to stay alive… (Note to self: Don’t try to multitask and eat while doing ds106 homework. I lost my appetite because I was working while eating lunch..) To me, this ending was not expected, and it took the audience by surprise. As we can see across multiple examples of horror, this comic also has a host that introduces the story, and wraps it up in the end, the Old Witch. Other examples of hosts are Rod Serling and Boris Karloff.
In watching Night Gallery, it is always a surprise as to what is the twist in the story. As we saw with Amelia, the outcome was not what was predicted by most audiences. In this episode, “Certain Shadows on the Wall”, we see one of the main characters pass away in the beginning and the three surviving siblings start to quarrel over the will. There was nothing in this episode that was meant to scare the audience, per se. This episode dealt more with the subtleties and let the imagination do most of the work. What I found more horrifying than the eerie shadows on the wall, was the attitude of Rebecca, who seemed perfectly normal, but then poisoned her brother, because he disagreed with the two sisters over the will.
What makes these stories effective is that they build suspense throughout the story, and the audience in turn is on the edge of their seat for the big reveal, so their senses are heightened, allowing themselves to be frightened by small events. Throughout the story, the audience can start to make assumptions as to who is the culprit. As the show progresses, however, the culprit is revealed to be a character that no one suspected, giving the story a horrific twist. In shows, the strings music adds to the mystery and suspense, so the actors only have to do half of the work. A lot of the older horror-genre shows are in black & white, and in my head, I associate B&W shows with horror, even though I know this is not always the case.
When relating these stories to that of what Stephen King writes about in “Tales of the Hook”, the perpetrator, or monster, is not the deformed one. King writes how the real monster in the story could be the one with a slight pimple — something minor enough that the audience does not pick up on it right away. This “pimple” could be a minor character trait, or even something that they have said. Whatever the case, since the good-looking one turns out to be the villain, the audience is taken by surprise, adding to the shock value.