Horror is a genre that is found in many forms, from long novels to films, and from poetry to short stories. A while ago, a number of posts circulated on social media that were compilations of horror in another, new form: two-sentence horror stories. This new form poses a challenge for the genre of horror and the people writing it, since within two sentences, a writer can’t rely on building suspense or describing gloomy castles, eerie situations or scary figures to create a sense of horror. This raises the question; how short can a short story be? Moreover, can a two-sentence narrative be considered a story at all, and if so, how can it function like a story?
Disclaimer: this article features spoilers.
Zombie flicks and films seem to go hand in hand with social criticism. Romero’s films about the ‘Living Dead’ have often been interpreted politically. Night of the Living Dead, for example, is a zombie film that came out in a time when America was divided and in social turmoil, with various figures and movements, such as Martin Luther King, seeking equality for minority groups. The hero of the film is an African-American man, Ben, who hides in a house, trying to outlive the roaming zombies outside. He rescues a woman, initially a very silent and catatonic character, who hardly manages to help out – this in contrast with other women who do their best to help out. Another illustrative passage is the interaction between Ben and Harry Cooper, a white, middle-class man, as they clash over the best way to survive. The government is broadcasting news updates and researching the phenomenon, but is too slow in rallying its forces to help the survivors. It takes the posse of a local sheriff to help the local survivors, yet instead they shoot the only survivor when they mistake him for a zombie. Here, Romero already introduced the idea that the government will not always be there to save people, and broke away from the solid belief in the government as man’s saviour.
A very recent series with a similar theme and message is In The Flesh, a drama mini-series by the BBC. The premise is that there has been a rising of the dead: some of the recently deceased have come back from the grave. In their hunger for human flesh, they have attacked humans. Mankind has been fighting them off, and in the meantime, they have also invented a drug through which they have been able to ‘save’ some of the zombies. The drug suppresses the neurons responsible for the hunger-frenzy and allows their personalities to return to their former selves. They are then observed for a period of time in a high-security facility whilst being given therapy to prepare them for their re-assimilation and re-immigration into society. They also need to come to terms with what they have done in their ‘untreated state’.
Disclaimer: this article features spoilers.
This year, the new Mad Max film took the world by storm, and presented us with a world of its own. Not much is said about how exactly the world became this apocalyptic, but it is caused by nuclear weapons and wars. The world has turned to dust and sand. This primitive and savage world revolves around three things: food and water to survive, bullets to protect what they have to survive –or to take it, and gas to move around. Vehicles here are not only a way of escape, but they are also weapons
In some (post-apocalyptic) works, the world and environment function as a mere setting or decor. It is the background for a story about people surviving and overcoming obstacles and enemies. One reason for this is that all the social structures of the old worlds are literally dead or broken, and it is hard to write a dynamic world when there is so little going on compared to what we are used to in our world. It is often reduced to a free-for-all sandbox. On top of this, in case of films, there is just too little time to work in a detailed and vibrant world when you’re also trying to fit in an action-packed narrative. TV series are more suited for building dynamic worlds, since they have more screen time and can feature gradual and more detailed build-ups. In The Walking Dead, for example, there are a few settlements of people banding together in settlements to increase their chance of survival. The post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max is surprisingly dynamic and alive, which is especially surprising considering the fact that it is brought to us in (four) films.
Disclaimer: this article features spoilers for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly/Serenity, The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The loss of a character can hit home hard, even when it is only fiction. When a creative team decides to kill, maim or erase these familiars from memory within the fictional world, the non-fictional audience can feel quite shaken. One director who especially loves to “shake things up” in such a manner is the creator of great cult classics such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Dollhouse and Firefly, but is perhaps generally mostly known for his recent collaboration with Marvel on the Avengers films; he is the elusive and well-spoken serial-heartbreaker, Joss Whedon. Continue reading The ‘Self,’ Corrupted: Joss Whedon and his Tropes of Loss By Coco Clements
During the E3 of 2015, Square Enix announced that the company was going to remake one of its all-time classics: Final Fantasy 7,written by Yoshinori Kitase and Kazushige Nojima.[1,2] This news was received with a lot of excitement as many a fan reminisced about playing Final Fantasy 7 on the original Playstation some eighteen years ago. Thus, with Final Fantasy 7 being forced into the spotlight again, I feel that this is the perfect time to take a closer look at the dystopian world that we will, hopefully, re-explore in the near future. Continue reading Shinra’s Dystopian Strangehold: Dystopia in Final Fantasy VII By Kevin Swijghuizen