U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts > Books
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-25-2012, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
3,570 posts, read 7,780,647 times
Reputation: 5973

Advertisements

I've often wondered about the attraction to horror novels. I know some people will go so far as to call them suspense novels, and while they definitely are suspenseful if there is killing and gore, IMO it's horror. Call it what you will, I'm interested as to why people enjoy reading this genre.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-25-2012, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
17,727 posts, read 3,576,255 times
Reputation: 22841
No clue...
Suspense/yes, horror/no way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_loves_to_cook View Post
I've often wondered about the attraction to horror novels. I know some people will go so far as to call them suspense novels, and while they definitely are suspenseful if there is killing and gore, IMO it's horror. Call it what you will, I'm interested as to why people enjoy reading this genre.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2012, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
3,570 posts, read 7,780,647 times
Reputation: 5973
I used to read them about 30 years ago when I was a kid and don't know what I was thinking.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-26-2012, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
19,376 posts, read 13,040,478 times
Reputation: 14092
Horror, I think, is very hard to do well. I don't think it's just the amount of gore- I've read a lot of fiction that had bloodf dripping off every page, so much that it sometimes became boring to read on. But I've only read a few books that literally scared me. Vampires don't scare me at all. They're too similar to zombies for me. If anything, zombies are scarier- they are just as undead, but they don't grow fangs after they tip over, and aren't dispatched by garlic, crucifixes or sunlight. Zombies don't care about anything at all, but vampires are much too concerned about everything. Either way, the living dead has to be done carefully to scare me.

But give me a big, insane, smart, dying rabid dog who weighs as much as I do and is intent on ripping my throat out, and I can relate to that.

Here are some that worked for me:
The Exorcist
The Amityville Horror
Pet Sematary
The Shining
American Psycho
I am Legend
The Killer Inside Me
Silence of the Lambs
Cujo
The Terror
...and a number of non-fiction books.

The Birds is a short story, as is The Monkey's Paw, but both are sharp doses of real horror for me.

I think good horror also has to have a high degree of suspense, and it must have a strong sense of dread, something that most folks can understand and fear.
What new home owner has not wondered about the secrets of a just-purchased old house?
Who has not wondered if demons (or angels) really exist, and how powerful they might be in a physical close encounter?
What parent would not do anything, no matter how bad, if it could bring a dead child back?
Who has not pondered how stable that weird guy , or girl, or kid really is?
Who has not been curious about what's going on in that real quiet house down the block, where you never see the people who live there, but there are a lot of odd comings and goings and strange noises?

All this stuff is what makes a horror novel horrible. But it has to make us willing to keep turning the page, even though we fear to do so, to make it great. Most horror novels have a singly scary theme, but the really good ones are those that scare you in different ways at the same time.

The Shining and The Amityville Horror are both 'haunted house' books, but I could relate to Amityville- I bought an old house just after I finished the book, so it was a single-scare book for me.
The Shining was a double-scare book; The Overlook Hotel was creepy enough to scare me, but so did the protagonist, who slowly decides to kill his wife and child.
The Terror was a triple-scare; the freezing cold of the Arctic, the crew of starving treacherous men willing to do anything to stay alive were gripping. Each on it's own was real terror. But.... there's something out there on the ice, out there in the perpetual darkness, and it ain't just a huge polar bear...

Last edited by banjomike; 06-26-2012 at 08:39 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-27-2012, 03:35 AM
 
Location: central Oregon
1,856 posts, read 2,027,857 times
Reputation: 2382
Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
Horror, I think, is very hard to do well. I don't think it's just the amount of gore- I've read a lot of fiction that had bloodf dripping off every page, so much that it sometimes became boring to read on. But I've only read a few books that literally scared me. Vampires don't scare me at all. They're too similar to zombies for me. If anything, zombies are scarier- they are just as undead, but they don't grow fangs after they tip over, and aren't dispatched by garlic, crucifixes or sunlight. Zombies don't care about anything at all, but vampires are much too concerned about everything. Either way, the living dead has to be done carefully to scare me.

But give me a big, insane, smart, dying rabid dog who weighs as much as I do and is intent on ripping my throat out, and I can relate to that.

Here are some that worked for me:
The Exorcist
The Amityville Horror
Pet Sematary
The Shining
American Psycho
I am Legend
The Killer Inside Me
Silence of the Lambs
Cujo
The Terror
...and a number of non-fiction books.

The Birds is a short story, as is The Monkey's Paw, but both are sharp doses of real horror for me.

I think good horror also has to have a high degree of suspense, and it must have a strong sense of dread, something that most folks can understand and fear.
What new home owner has not wondered about the secrets of a just-purchased old house?
Who has not wondered if demons (or angels) really exist, and how powerful they might be in a physical close encounter?
What parent would not do anything, no matter how bad, if it could bring a dead child back?
Who has not pondered how stable that weird guy , or girl, or kid really is?
Who has not been curious about what's going on in that real quiet house down the block, where you never see the people who live there, but there are a lot of odd comings and goings and strange noises?

All this stuff is what makes a horror novel horrible. But it has to make us willing to keep turning the page, even though we fear to do so, to make it great. Most horror novels have a singly scary theme, but the really good ones are those that scare you in different ways at the same time.

The Shining and The Amityville Horror are both 'haunted house' books, but I could relate to Amityville- I bought an old house just after I finished the book, so it was a single-scare book for me.
The Shining was a double-scare book; The Overlook Hotel was creepy enough to scare me, but so did the protagonist, who slowly decides to kill his wife and child.
The Terror was a triple-scare; the freezing cold of the Arctic, the crew of starving treacherous men willing to do anything to stay alive were gripping. Each on it's own was real terror. But.... there's something out there on the ice, out there in the perpetual darkness, and it ain't just a huge polar bear...
^^^ This!

I really don't know what attracted me to horror. (I love sappy romances, too!) I do remember always wanting to read certain books (can't remember the titles any longer) but my mom said I was too young. Finally, at age 12, she allowed me to read them.
The first horror book I read was read one night while I was babysitting two kids across the street from my house. We were in an old house that had been converted into four apartments. The two front apartments shared a main front door and hallway. I was babysitting in the first floor apartment. As I read that book I heard creaks on the stairs and all kinds of spooky noises. Just enhanced my pleasure and I was hooked from that moment on.
I don't get grossed out from blood and gore. (I should have been a surgeon!) I really hate killings for the sake of killing. (Under the Dome comes to mind.)
Any kind of horror is fine with me. I like the suspense and the long nights of reading a book that I just can't put down.
And I never have had bad dreams from any book I ever read.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-27-2012, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Wrangell, AK
296 posts, read 533,542 times
Reputation: 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_loves_to_cook View Post
I've often wondered about the attraction to horror novels. I know some people will go so far as to call them suspense novels, and while they definitely are suspenseful if there is killing and gore, IMO it's horror. Call it what you will, I'm interested as to why people enjoy reading this genre.
Webster's College Dictionary: horror (n) 1. an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear (2) anything that causes such a feeling (3) a strong aversion; abhorrence.

That's an official definition of the word but still, what is horror? For some, Freddie Kruger may come to mind and for others, the fear of being unable to outwit destiny and death as in the Final Destination movies. Perhaps it's the terror of a lost child - or losing a child, the puzzle of a unsolvable murder, or the ghost that lives in the attic. Horror can be mundane or supernatural, fantastical or realistic, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic.
What makes "horror" so pervasive is that, ultimately, it depends upon who we are as people (culture) and an individual and what creates the feeling of emotional dread within us. The writer, Douglas Winter, said "horror is that which cannot be made safe....because it is about our relentless need to confront the unknown, the unknowable, and the emotion we experience when in its thrall."

Psychologically speaking, the human animal likes to be scared in safety. Whether it is kids telling ghost stories around the campfire, teen-agers at the latest blood & gore fest, or adults exploring the unknown, unseen, or unfelt via another's story or experience, we all want to be a little bit scared by what we don't know. When we read books, watch movies, venture into new experiences (bungee anyone?), we reach deep inside ourselves and face who we are, examine what we fear, and wonder. And, as we change and grow over time, so will our definition of horror. I no longer fear the bump in the night, but I do fear our capacity to hurt one another.

And now, I want to go finish reading my new John Connolly novel. That's my horror.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-27-2012, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
7,359 posts, read 6,220,948 times
Reputation: 10577
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_loves_to_cook View Post
I've often wondered about the attraction to horror novels. I know some people will go so far as to call them suspense novels, and while they definitely are suspenseful if there is killing and gore, IMO it's horror. Call it what you will, I'm interested as to why people enjoy reading this genre.
Every October, I go to the library website and search for available "scary" books. I don't like gore, and won't read "slashers" but I do like to read books that leave me a little breathless as I read. It's just my celebration of Halloween month. Every once in awhile, I have to go through several before I can find one tame enough for me. There are some that I have to wonder about their authors. Who would want to be with such a story long enough to write it, let alone think of it?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2012, 06:30 PM
 
3,936 posts, read 5,450,726 times
Reputation: 4156
I would love to read some "horror" books, if someone could recommend some really good ones. I like psychological suspense books. I've read nearly all of the books tulani posted. Pet Sematary was the only one that was horrifying to me. I have American Psycho, but I haven't read it. Cujo is one of my favorite books. I've read that some people have said that House of Leaves is the only scary book they have read. I think we've just read so much, that we've probably experienced everything more than once, and it's no longer scary to us.

Every time I think about ordering House of Leaves, I think that it sounds too complicated for what I want right now, but, if any of you have read it and recommend it, I may have to change my mind.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2012, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Texas
15,644 posts, read 14,704,608 times
Reputation: 62456
I guess I like to be scared.

Here are some golden oldies that scared the socks off of me:

The Exorcist
Mephiso Waltz
'Salems Lot

More recently the winner is The Ruins.

The above three are true horror books, IMO.

I find that the older I get there are two things I am less likely to do:
Ride a roller coaster
Read a horror book. Although I do like a good zombie book.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-29-2012, 01:16 AM
 
Location: Wrangell, AK
296 posts, read 533,542 times
Reputation: 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess5 View Post
I would love to read some "horror" books, if someone could recommend some really good ones. I like psychological suspense books. I've read nearly all of the books tulani posted. Pet Sematary was the only one that was horrifying to me. I have American Psycho, but I haven't read it. Cujo is one of my favorite books. I've read that some people have said that House of Leaves is the only scary book they have read. I think we've just read so much, that we've probably experienced everything more than once, and it's no longer scary to us.

Every time I think about ordering House of Leaves, I think that it sounds too complicated for what I want right now, but, if any of you have read it and recommend it, I may have to change my mind.
Try One Second After by William R. Forstchen. In today's world of terrorism this is a horrific - and all too realistic - read. If you prefer haunting thrillers, check out John Connolly. I recommend Every Dead Thing, followed by Dark Hollow and White Road. For a more personal, psychological horror, try Greg Iles' Blood Memory and Dead Sleep.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts > Books
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top