Horror/Thriller: One of the Most Inventive Genres?

Now’s the time of year to appreciate the color of fall, namely – blood red!


Seriously, save the golds, browns, and evergreens for Thanksgiving, because the fact is that Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas,” celebrating its 20-year anniversary, proves that Halloween comes and goes way too fast.


People love to be freaked out. We love to cover our eyes in horror and then peek through our fingers in fascination. It goes beyond the first contemporary Hollywood smash-hit movie, “Halloween;” beyond Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone;” beyond Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” Public executions have been high entertainment throughout history, including the story of Jesus Christ, who was tortured and crucified. Of course, horror themes are consistent throughout the Old Testament and the Koran, too.


Nowadays, more and more people want new horror/thriller content year-round. But writers know that they just can’t spew out the same old stuff – no more “Friday the 13th Part Infinity.” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” circa 1997 addresses the horror formula and utilizes it as much as it puts a twist on it.


While media continues to undergo massive changes in behavior and go-to sources, year-round horror releases reliably draw crowds and are money-makers for studios. And it’s not just blood and guts; the art of fear demands creativity.

Think about the worst neighbor Elm Street has ever known – Freddy. Often, when we dream, we cannot distinguish dream reality from waking reality. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” capitalizes on that moment when you wake up from a nightmare and think someone is still chasing you. It’s a brilliant idea.


The horror/thriller genre has given some of the greatest directors many of their most memorable moments. Stanley Kubrick’s filmography just wouldn’t be the same without “The Shining,” originally a novel by the horror maestro Stephen King*, who has sold more than 350 million books! (*Of course, Kubrick and King didn’t agree on the film adaptation, but more on that in another blog.) Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” which has been described as a movie about fear and anxiety (symbolized by the hordes of birds) may be the greatest film by arguably the best director ever.


Accentuating horror from our plausible experience may be the most genius facet of the greats. That’s why I utilize everyday light as a method to kill in my new horror/thriller book “Dead Light.”


Leave a Comment