Today I wanted to talk to you about three horror films that have taught me writing lessons.
While these are all stellar horror films in their own right, I’m not here to gush about the films themselves (except maybe one), I’m bringing them to your attention to show you how these films are great examples of subversion in horror and how to write certain things really well.
So while none of these films are my personal top horror films(except maybe one) they are all brilliant examples of excellent writing.
What does it do? This 2017 film directed by Jordan Peele is a fantastic modern example of how horror can showcase societal issues and terrify an audience in one blow.
Summary: Get Out is the story of Chris Washington, a young black man who uncovers shocking secrets when he meets the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage.
Similar Films: While Get Out is well known for tackling a societal issue it is not the only film to do this and to do it well. It Follows was a great example of this as well.
What does it do? This 1979 film directed by Ridley Scott is a perfect example that horror can happen anywhere. It’s bold setting showcases that horror doesn’t have to be in run down, haunted houses and can be in wonderfully futuristic settings also. Horror is all about subversion and this is a great film for subverting your expectations when it comes to setting.
Summary: Alien is a story about the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo, who encounter the eponymous Alien, an aggressive and deadly extra-terrestrial set loose on the ship.
Similar Films: Stepford Wives also subverted it’s location. It took place in the safe, dull location of suburbia. While it is not unheard of for horror films to take place in suburbia at the time this was a nice touch of subversion.
What does it do? This 2014 film directed by Jennifer Kent showcases how not all horror films need to have an actual monster. The Babadook is introspective while at the same time pretending very well not to be. It shows how the ‘monster’ in horror doesn’t always have to be something outside ourselves. It can, quite literally, be within. It also shows us that not all monsters can be destroyed, sometimes we have to learn to live with them.
Summary: The Babadook is a film about a recently widowed mother who must help her son deal with the monster that lives in their home while also managing her own grief.
Similar Films: When I was making this shortlist I really struggled with this one, not because I couldn’t find a film to illustrate my point but rather because there are two films that accomplish horror coming from within perfectly.
His House was bloody amazing and defiantly make my top horror films list. Like the Babadook, His House also explores horror and monsters as something that comes from inside of ourselves and that we must learn to live with and it does it amazingly. If you’ve not seen it then I highly recommend it.