Horror Writing

Horror Writing: My Favourite Setting

Today I want to talk about one of my favourite settings for a horror story.

The forest!

The forest is one of my favourite settings for a proper spooky story. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember, but when I tried to think about it I couldn’t for the life of me think why. I mean I love the forest, I love spending crisp autumn weekends wandering around the forests, watching the trees changing colour, picking up knickknacks (a habit I started as a kid and have never broken) watching out for wildlife and being chuffed to all hell when every year there seems to be more and more.

But why then, if I love the woods so much is it my go-to, best location for setting a scary story?

While it is possible to turn any location into a scary place with the right amount of subversion, I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. A forest is a place we learn to fear from a young age. Fairy tales, like the Brothers Grimm, teach us that the forest is where dangerous things, like monsters, witches and wolves live. But more than that, they teach us that the forest itself is scary, it’s easy to get lost and never be found, it is a place where the natural makeup of the land is dangerous.

I imagine in the days of Brothers Grimm there was a lot of danger to be had in the forest and these stories were, in part, created so people would be careful, children would not wander off and thus people would be safer. With far less woodland now than there was then this threat is no longer so great. Yet we hold onto the old stories and the fear they gave us.

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Horror Writing

Writing Horror: Found Footage

Today I want to talk about one of the many subgenres of horror.

Found Footage.

This particular subgenre is a bit like marmite, you either love it or you hate it. Rarely have I come across a subgenre that invokes such polarising viewpoints.  I find it very interesting that something so straightforward as a filming technique has become such a staple in the genre. So thought it might be worth an explore.

What is Found Footage?

Generally, this is a film subgenre, although it is extremely popular in the horror genre, more so than other genres. It’s a style of presenting a story, whereby all or part of the story is told through supposedly ‘real’ footage that has been found by a third party and prepared for mass consumption, usually as a way to ‘expose the truth’.

Usually found footage is seen in films, the camera being held by one of the characters experiencing the story. It can be a group on holiday, a news team, surveillance footage or a go pro situation. As a result, the camera work is usually a bit on the shaky side.

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