December 14, 2019, 03:39:20 PM

Author Topic: How comfortable are you with ambiguity in horror?  (Read 299 times)

Offline JamesGBoswel

How comfortable are you with ambiguity in horror?
« on: November 11, 2019, 11:56:33 PM »
One thing I've noticed is that there's a spectrum when it comes to comfort levels with ambiguity as a plot device in horror. Some people prefer the very ambiguous, creeping, growing dread of existential horror like in Bird Box, while others prefer the explicit, in-your-face, "I'm going to kill you right now with this knife I'm holding in my hand"-sort of unambiguous terror like in slashers and gore-fests.

I fall almost completely on the side of the former; I don't want to see what the monster looks like or even know if there's really a monster there at all, I just want to be afraid that there could be a monster and believe it's probably horrible, if so. What about you?
I write dread-inducing stories inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and The Twilight Zone.

"That Feeling When You Know You're Doomed" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S3Z6LK8


Offline Bender

Re: How comfortable are you with ambiguity in horror?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 01:29:30 AM »

Looks like two different sub-genres as horror is way too generic.

I used to read/watch a bit of both early on, but for some years have been avoiding the genre totally. Both have its advantages and disadvantages as the ambiguous kinds feels unfulfilling as the horror never gets explained at the end and the later tends to have a overdose of slasher/gore.


Some people prefer the very ambiguous, creeping, growing dread of existential horror like in Bird Box,

The ambiguous kind usually tends to be occult/paranormal based stories. For that not much explanation apart from really vague definitions like "beyond death" or "wandering souls" etc would prove sufficient.

while others prefer the explicit, in-your-face, "I'm going to kill you right now with this knife I'm holding in my hand"-sort of unambiguous terror like in slashers and gore-fests.

These tend to be more psychological thrillers or outright monsters (werewolves etc).
"I shall hunt your firstborn children and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!" - M-Bot

Offline Bender

Re: How comfortable are you with ambiguity in horror?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 01:31:08 AM »
And Bird Box is really a lame movie to be cited as an example. It felt like a cheap rip off from A Quiet Place which was a better movie hands down.
"I shall hunt your firstborn children and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!" - M-Bot

Offline Yora

Re: How comfortable are you with ambiguity in horror?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 12:40:57 PM »
Ambiguity is essential for horror. You can't have horror without it. Disgust is not the same as suspense.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor