While growing up I remember most horror stories being about evil that was set out to kill people for no reason other than to be evil.
Most of these stories were linked to religion in one way or the other and there seemed like a way to put the evil to rest by using some deus-ex machina of god.
I felt this change in late 90s to early 2000s due to what I feel was the Japanese horror effect. There was more build of suspense, a sense of dread and horror that forever haunts you. Jump scares too became a standard in this era.
Off late two shows I watched made me feel like this trend is changing or changed for good. May be it was because these shows were based on books, which in turn demand great characters, dialogues and a story to hold people’s attention, as opposed to gore and jump scares.
The new hook is love.
This one caught me off guard. I had no expectations when I started watching this series. 15 minutes in though, I was hooked!
Dark humour, a protagonist obsessed with extreme rationalism in the face of irrationalism, a very interesting time and political environment and then of course the horror itself. Paranormal has it all
To call it horror would be incorrect. We should call it haunting because that is what it is. Like in real life the horror is only in the minds. I thought this was very refreshing.
That’s not the reason I’m talking about this show here though. It was the use of love in a horror story. We could even call it a romantic story and say that it was the love story of a man who has paranormal experiences.
I don’t want to say anything more and spoil it for you. Please watch it.
Haunting of Bly Manor
The show is based on the writing of Henry James this show is a slow burn for most part of it with facts passed down in regular drips.
Most horror shows and movies are about the fearful things happening around leading to a ‘Why’ part at the end or in the form of a sequel.
This show is focussed more on the spookiness of the situation with enough talk about love and romance. The haunting itself is again linked to that vey feeling and nothing to do with evil.
I know, I know. It’s not a horror movie, nor does it claim to be. However, this movie changed genres more often than celebrities change looks.
There was a bit where Rebecca is haunted by the talk of the ex-wife and how it affects her thinking. I thought this was brilliantly done. It’s tough to fill in someone else’s shoes, in relationships or even in work. The way it was shown in this movie made it remarkable for me.
I feel love or romance makes a great premise for a horror movie because it is an emotion we have all felt in one form or the other. It is also one of the scarier emotions, because once we feel it we do not want to ever imagine losing it.
Some are haunted by the thoughts of what they didn’t do for love, while others are haunted by what they had to endure for love. Some others are scarred because they were unable to move on from a dead relationship and others are horrified by the loss of their loved ones.
To be in love is blessing, but to be bereft of it is pure horror.
PS: I hope we are not soon flooded by cookie cutter horror love stories. I know we will be. If something works, it’ll be overdone till it’s a cliche.