Movies have been growing increasingly more explicit for years. Horror films are no longer based on a cleverly written script with lots of twists and turns, but rather how graphic and twisted the images are throughout the movie. Horror films are appealing to viewers for various reasons. In fact, according to some film critics, “good” horror films have particular characteristics.
Maggie McCutcheon in “Too Disturbing, Too Shocking,” According to Olson, people particularly enjoy experiencing the end of their fear and terror.Once the fear and terror have ended, people feel better. And, according to Stephen King in “Why We Crave Horror Movies,” horror films can help us confront our fears, and help us deal with the “bad side” of ourselves. Given the wide variety of characteristics “good “horror films have, this paper will address two specific characteristics of horror films. One characteristic is visual images/suggestions that symbolize our fears. Another characteristic is vitality or strength of source of horror.In order to analyze the characteristics of horror films, I viewed Poltergeist, an early 1980s film about a family being haunted by earthbound spirits, and I also read four definitive articles about horror films.
One characteristic of a good horror films is visual images/suggestions that symbolize our fears. Stanley J. Solomon in “The Nightmare World” claims the cinema of horror concretizes this nightmare world- our abstract fears of destruction and death.The Midnight visits of vampires, the laboratory induced reincarnations, the skull deformities, the murders in the fog – these visual images of the genre may be the symbols of our fears rather than the psychological source of them, but the terror without a body is terror deprived of a means of menacing us. The movie Poltergeist certainly has this characteristic. Examples of visual images from the movie is a scary clown that looks mean , sitting in the chair and has the ability to move , goes under Robbie’s bed.A hand reaching out of the TV also the gateway for the beast to reach Carol Anne, parents later communicate with Carol Anne through the TV.
Another image is a Dead tree outside the house making scary shadows every time it storms and also tries to eat Robbie. And in the closet there is a monster that takes Carol Anne and at the end of the movie the closet turns in to a Giant throat with a serpent coming out of it sucking the house in to the earth. So clearly the viewers can see the characteristic of isual images in the horror film Poltergeist. Another characteristic of a horror film is Vitality or strength of source of horror. Stanley J. Solomon in “The Nightmare World” claims If the depiction of archetypal fears is one aspect of the genre, the process whereby these fears become dramatic incidents in a film reveals at least two other genre traits: the degree of unpreparedness on the part of the endangered victim, and the vitality or strength of the source of horror. The movie Poltergeist certainly has this characteristic.
Some examples are a normal looking neighborhood, Tweety dies , Steven has a remote control war with his neighbor , Carol Anne answers the TV people questions, Diane mentions the swimming pool what if Carol Anne falls in, the way the clown looks when its lighting in the kids room and when the Tree and storm clouds look and the hand reaching out from the TV, but only Carol Anne sees it- rest of the family thinks it’s a earthquake and the chairs stacked up, out from the table , and Robbie utensils are bent.So you can definitely tell that Poltergeist has the characteristic in the film. In conclusion Poltergeist clearly reflects the characteristics of having visual images/suggestions that symbolize our fears and of allowing viewers a degree of unpreparedness on the part of the endangered victim. Based on my evaluation, I believe Poltergeist is a very effective horror film.In fact, according to Tim Dirks article states that horror films are generally set in spooky old mansions or fog shrouded, dark locales, with “unknown,” supernatural or grotesque creatures, ranging from vampires, madmen, devils unfriendly ghost, monsters, even the unseen, diabolical presence of evil. This is the case with Poltergeist, and I think many people still like this horror film till this day.