Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Take Out the Garbage

*** Disclaimer: The following in no way means to disparage the people of lower class income or who live in certain kinds of homes. It is specifically about the character of some people and speaks to the common and likely even stereotypical view of such groups of individuals. ***

Previously we took a look at the unsavoury subset of the already looked down upon white trash group. For note some of this applies to disaffected urbanites, the rich who live in their own world practically, and just the general malaise affecting much of the civilised world that rises to the very aptly named legal term called depraved indifference. Further, this is different than the uncivilised groups that frequently partake in wanton destruction and consider defilement commonplace and desirable--the villain/monster perhaps. This is really about those who have the veneer of decency and civility bare in spots or ripped away and sitting askew. With that in mind, it's time to look at how exactly they change the horror in a story or movie.

One consideration is that the horror should offset or counterpoint the grungy, dirty, immoral quality of these characters--this of course is if they are prevalent, which is certainly true with their natural habitat as the setting. The first possibility that comes to mind is a slasher who is much the opposite, who is moralistic in that sinners and the improper die by his or her hand. Thematically, or better yet even literally/visually, the blood spilled washes away or hides the dirt with clean, placid-smooth red, though of course this is temporary as it dries and becomes just more grime worsening what was there--don't forget the added element of blood smell to this--a chink in the armour of this "purity" if you will, belying it's masking nature, and foreshadowing the physical rot to come to match the moral rot.

Overall the most important consideration in creating terror with these types of characters is how to overcome the audience's dislike of the characters. It dulls the horror when people don't identify with the characters. It's even worse when the audience wants to see them come to a bad end--though there are readers and movie watchers who do that on purpose, but even they frequently want nice, undeserving victims, when the point isn't to punish the impure. Also, unless you're looking to have shades of grey in frightening conflict you want to be clear just who the metaphorical monster is. Make your horror really horrific and evil. Enough to scare the hardest heart and make them look almost cuddly in comparison. Lastly, in film at least, fear is infectious and characters who show their fear illicit it from the audience. These are just some of the things to keep in mind in this kind of setting.

Mood: solemn.
Music: Sweet Pain by Kiss and Poison by Alice Cooper.

Kiss: Destroyer
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Alice Cooper: Trash
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