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Horror stories

03 May 2019 17:04 #63884 by stmercy2020
Replied by stmercy2020 on topic Horror stories
After reading through this thread, I'm left wondering what, precisely, people mean when they say or think horror.

Personally, I have a literary background and inclination, so I tend to think in terms of genre tropes. From that perspective, very little of what is published here falls into the category of horror- usually the protagonist is the monster, and, if she's not, she never faces any sort of significant threat. For that matter, even when she is the monster, the typical evil supergirl story has her as so completely overpowering that there's never any real question about her eventual and complete victory.

There are no relateable underdog, either, which, again, removes it from the horror genre in my mind. The underdogs are, for the most part, either cardboard or thoroughly unlikeable.

For a little more insight into my own standards for horror, I'd recommend a little outside reading:  https://storygrid.com/secrets-of-the-horror-genre/
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03 May 2019 17:54 #63885 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Horror stories

stmercy2020 wrote: After reading through this thread, I'm left wondering what, precisely, people mean when they say or think horror.

Personally, I have a literary background and inclination, so I tend to think in terms of genre tropes. From that perspective, very little of what is published here falls into the category of horror- usually the protagonist is the monster, and, if she's not, she never faces any sort of significant threat. For that matter, even when she is the monster, the typical evil supergirl story has her as so completely overpowering that there's never any real question about her eventual and complete victory.

There are no relateable underdog, either, which, again, removes it from the horror genre in my mind. The underdogs are, for the most part, either cardboard or thoroughly unlikeable.

For a little more insight into my own standards for horror, I'd recommend a little outside reading:  https://storygrid.com/secrets-of-the-horror-genre/


I was thinking along the same line. Seems to me that the horror genre tropes are pretty narrow and clearly defined, and different from anything I've read here. 

My introduction to horror was H.P. Lovecraft, specifically Mountains of Madness, which scared the crap out of me when I was young and living on the side of an ancient volcano in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (Terceira Island, Azores). Those of us on the midnight shift at a radio transmitter site were all reading Lovecraft and freaking ourselves out given the creapy, isolated surroundings up on the volcano. Some guys couldn't handle it. 

Shadar

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04 May 2019 02:04 #63889 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic Horror stories
Out of curiosity Shadar, do you hold an amateur or commercial radio lic?

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04 May 2019 03:42 #63890 by Jabbrwock
Replied by Jabbrwock on topic Horror stories

Woodclaw wrote: I think this is a good assessment, but I think there's another kind of horror, which is the one where one character accepts his/hers own monstrosity as a fact.
For example, in Frankenstein the Creature, who is actually a highly intelligent and positive character accepts its own monstrosity because of how people react to it. From that moment on the Creature acts like a force of nature, rather than a human being.
Stoker's Dracula is very similar. The original story never dwells upon Dracula's motives or intentions, he's a monster from an ancient time, whose motivations are either purely animalistic or completely impossible to understand.


My definition does not really encompass psychological horror. There are a variety of stories that involve plainly human - at least internally - people being destroyed psychologically by the situations in which they find themselves. Edgar Allen Poe had quite a few such stories. Frankenstein is, as you pointed out, also one. It is a very different kind of horror, psychological and even existential.

I don't think Dracula qualifies. Dracula is a classical monster, unknown and unknowable. Even when the rules of his existence are stated and his weaknesses exploited, neither the rules nor the existence they define actually make sense. At least that's how it looks from my perspective. That said, I'm far from an expert. I'm just trying to state my not particularly clear understanding of what differentiates a story I perceive as horror from another story that to me is plainly horrible, but not horror. 

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04 May 2019 06:05 #63891 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Horror stories

ace191 wrote: Out of curiosity Shadar, do you hold an amateur or commercial radio lic?


I was a Ham a long time ago, but haven't messed around with amateur radio in many decades now. 

I was on the side of that volcano I mentioned (reading Lovecraft) back in the the very early 70's, but my role wasn't running Ops on the transmitter or a technician, but rather the cryptography side of things. Back in the days when only government/military encrypted stuff. 

As far as radio, we had several really powerful HF transmitters on site. Big enough that the tubes that made up the final stage of the transmitter emitted so much power that they'd immediately fry you if you stepped inside the Farraday cage they operated in. Big voltages too. We had a technician get zapped while I was there. He was dead and crispy in seconds. That kind of powerful.

Military HF was used for point-to-point ground communication on a global scale, as well as aircraft communication on a global scale.

The military in those days had access to a LOT of frequencies. Not like Hams with little slices here and there. 

Anyway, the cool part was living on the volcano with everyone reading Lovecraft in the middle of the night when on duty, scaring the hell out of ourselves. The usual Air Force-trained kids -- late teens, early twenties -- doing big jobs and just glad we weren't in Vietnam.  The entire site was often inside clouds so thick that they felt heavy. Visibility zero a lot of the time. Zero as in feeling our way from building to building, often unable to see the road well enough to drive at all.  Trapped up there, sometimes for days in the winter, because we couldn't see the road even when standing on it. That thick. Mid-Atlantic weather on top of the Mid-Atlantic ridge a few thousand feet up.  Freaky place in the winter. Mountain of Madness we called it. If the Cthulhi or Shoggoths ever came, we were all screwed. 

Still, techs had to climb towers and do whatever had to be done to stay on-line in that weather. Me, I was always nice and cozy given that my workstation was inside a vault room in the basement. What with codes and special equipment and all. 

Shadar

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04 May 2019 06:16 - 04 May 2019 07:11 #63892 by Dru1076
Replied by Dru1076 on topic Horror stories
Reading the new comments today rammed home the truth. I'm not the "superhuman horror" pioneer I have pretentiously claimed to be all these years. Woodclaw is right. Pinnacle Effect isn't horror. And I dont think of any of my other stories as horror anymore.

But I wonder what they are then. I don't want to think of myself as a "horrible super human" writer. What category does a story like The Pinnacle Effect fall into? Or Constantine's Portal? Maybe I shouldn't ask...cuz I'm also wondering whether it's really worth analysing my beer and pizza stories so deeply....

"Stupid Reality!" - Homer J. Simpson
Last edit: 04 May 2019 07:11 by Dru1076.

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04 May 2019 10:58 #63896 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Horror stories

Dru1076 wrote: Reading the new comments today rammed home the truth. I'm not the "superhuman horror" pioneer I have pretentiously claimed to be all these years. Woodclaw is right. Pinnacle Effect isn't horror. And I dont think of any of my other stories as horror anymore.

But I wonder what they are then. I don't want to think of myself as a "horrible super human" writer. What category does a story like The Pinnacle Effect fall into? Or Constantine's Portal? Maybe I shouldn't ask...cuz I'm also wondering whether it's really worth analysing my beer and pizza stories so deeply....


I think that Constantine's Portal came very close to what you were looking for.

(formerly Anon, still Librarian)

"What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?" ("Gentleman" John Marcone)

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04 May 2019 14:24 #63897 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic Horror stories
Thanks for the reply Shadar.  So I guess you know what a KWM2 and a 30L1 are. I rebuilt my DAd’s KMW2 in 1994 and I have an advanced lic, but I have not fired it up in years.  Cell phones and the internet devastated amateur radio.  

In turns of horror, it was always more fun to tell stories where you were not as secure as usual like backpacking the Sierras or sleeping on the beach when Zodiac was out and about.

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04 May 2019 18:10 #63902 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Horror stories
Was told by a colleague that had probably worked at one of the sites for a super high powered troposcatter site.   A sandwich or other food item could be thrown up into the antenna beam and it would explode!   Possibly similar results to some one testing out their brand new heat vision....

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04 May 2019 22:52 #63904 by fats
Replied by fats on topic Horror stories
Do you know this might be a great workshop idea.

A ubergirl horror story, each writer writes their idea of a true horror story either from a single viewpoint or multiple viewpoints, 

What are people's views on that idea, my thinking is that we make it a long workshop say a 6 month writing period.

Lots of possibilities there.

Fats

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04 May 2019 23:39 #63905 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Horror stories
I grew up camping a LOT... with parents, Scouts, friends, plus summer camp, etc.  So telling scary stories around the fire in the deep dark woods in the night was a feature of my growing up, starting from when I was thankfully too young to understand everything. As I got older, it was my turn to do the telling.

This was before we even had transistor AM radios to take with us into the wild. So the only entertainment was telling stories and singing if we were lucky enough to have someone in the party who had a guitar. 

So the process of scaring the crap out of younger kids was an art form, and I'm sure many of them went on to become horror genre enthusiasts. There is nothing like being cared shitless, with every sense and hormone in high gear, adrenaline flowing, hackles rising, when you know you are (maybe! probably!) completely safe. 

In my view, if you can't freak out the reader, if you get their hackles up, it isn't really horror. 

Although I admit, kids are less less sensitive to horror stories these days. My grandkids are basically immune to it, and find it amusing but not actually scary. Too bad. They are missing out on a truly powerful primal instinct that you'd normally only feel just before the bear eats you. 

Shadar

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05 May 2019 05:59 #63906 by d_k_c
Replied by d_k_c on topic Horror stories
Horror work shop!

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05 May 2019 16:39 #63911 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic Horror stories
I think that will get a lot of support.  Here is an old joke maybe even old enough to be new again.  

Two buddies out in the wild around their campfire spot a bear coming towards them.  One of them frantically starts putting on his tennis shoes.  The other guy says “you really think those will help you out run a bear?”  His buddy answers “No,but all I need to do is out run YOU!”

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05 May 2019 18:15 #63913 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Horror stories

ace191 wrote: I think that will get a lot of support.  Here is an old joke maybe even old enough to be new again.  

Two buddies out in the wild around their campfire spot a bear coming towards them.  One of them frantically starts putting on his tennis shoes.  The other guy says “you really think those will help you out run a bear?”  His buddy answers “No,but all I need to do is out run YOU!”


Yup, that's a classic. And also kinda a real thing for those who grew up in bear country, where this was regarded as sage advice.

I remember my father throwing aluminum lawn chairs at bears in our campsite. They were tearing open our food cooler and pulling the partially opened windows out of our car to get at the food inside.  

I had my shoes on.

But the chairs worked just fine. 

It's only horror if the bear eats someone. Or you see eyes in the bushes, reflecting the firelight, and are at risk of almost seeing a bear. Great for raising hackles and telling that old joke until a deer or a dog walks out of the bushes. 

Shadar 

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05 May 2019 21:00 #63915 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Horror stories

ace191 wrote: I think that will get a lot of support.  Here is an old joke maybe even old enough to be new again.  

Two buddies out in the wild around their campfire spot a bear coming towards them.  One of them frantically starts putting on his tennis shoes.  The other guy says “you really think those will help you out run a bear?”  His buddy answers “No,but all I need to do is out run YOU!”


The D&D version is: "You don't need to run faster than a hungry troll, you just need to run faster than the dwarf at your side."

(formerly Anon, still Librarian)

"What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?" ("Gentleman" John Marcone)

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06 May 2019 23:15 #63928 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic Horror stories
When we were backpacking, 1 guy was designated to carry the bear bait The idea was that he would rip it open and drop it as we all backed away.  The one time we actually had to drop the bait, it worked and we got away!

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07 May 2019 00:47 #63929 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Horror stories

ace191 wrote: When we were backpacking, 1 guy was designated to carry the bear bait The idea was that he would rip it open and drop it as we all backed away.  The one time we actually had to drop the bait, it worked and we got away!


Cool.. which I guess is why we're still enjoying you here on SWM. <grin>

Now, is the bear bait different for grizzlies versus black bears? And does the fastest runner get to carry the bait? Or the slowest?

In some places in North America (at least), these are important questions. I just learned today that we had a bear in our neighborhood recently. That might explain why my three Labs were freaking out over something in the dark a few nights ago.

Sheesh... it's bad enough to have to carry dog treats. Now I need bear treats too.

Shadar 

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07 May 2019 01:21 #63930 by ace191
Replied by ace191 on topic Horror stories
My distant memmory thinks it was a box of nabisco crackers, wheat thins I think.  

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10 Dec 2019 14:56 - 10 Dec 2019 14:57 #65855 by HikerAngel
Replied by HikerAngel on topic Horror stories
I write a lot of horror stories, but they are all for writing contests, so they are usually capped at 1,500 to 2,000 words. Only one of them has been superwomanish. The prompt for the contest was "doppelgänger." This story actually managed to win the contest.

https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2206002-Doppelgnger
Last edit: 10 Dec 2019 14:57 by HikerAngel.
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10 Dec 2019 20:37 #65857 by Klaus
Replied by Klaus on topic Horror stories
Buffy the Vampire Slayer already exsits and did a pretty good job of extracting both horror and some decent black comedy out of a "super femme collides with horror tropes" pretty well.

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