Monday, July 30, 2012

TOP 10 MIND-BENDING HORROR vs. THRILLER



THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 
HORROR & THRILLER


Let's start by agreeing, HORROR is a very broad genre. My novel, WISHBONE, is listed as Horror on Amazon.com, but I am often asked why, and encouraged by readers to list WISHBONE as a Thriller. 

Many readers suggest the word HORROR incites memories of teen slasher films and is a could be deterrent for many more mature readers seeking something with a bit more story-meat to curb their reading/viewing appetites.

On this note, Thriller is also a very broad category; perhaps even more broad than Horror.

In my humble opinion, and for what it’s worth, I differentiate Horror and Thriller by specific, though sometimes subtle, content within a story.

UNFAITHFUL (Unmistakably, A Thriller) 

If a story is THRILLING and the proverbial “monsters” are REAL (Serial killers, A broken down elevator trapping the lead, an earthquake, a disease plague, A SCORNED SPOUSE/LOVER, and so on), I consider a book/film to be a THRILLER.


When the “monsters” become decidedly unbelievable (witches, zombies, supernatural experiences, ghosts, paranormal entities, inanimate objects brought to life by magic or spirits, murderers raised from the dead, the dead coming back to warn us, and so on) I consider the book/film to fall into the HORROR category.

So, to sum, Thrillers are Real Life Monsters that any one of us could possibly face in real life, while Horror is based on less believable forces which the majority of the public would argue can not (or probably won't) happen in real lifeI'm sure I'll get a few protesting letters from ghost chasers.

And this explains why WISHBONE, with its supernatural premise of WISHES coming true and Jerome (the protagonists father) making periodic (and horrifically painful) visits, would fall under the HORROR category... More Specifically, The Mind-Bending Horror category - My personal favorite sub-genre of Horror.

These are books or films that take an Average Joe kind of character, with a strongly BELIEVABLE and dramatic back story (death of a loved one, a tragic experience, a major life-change) and sprinkle it with a peppering of the supernatural…often with a Mind-Blowing Twist at the end.


One of the most famous and respected Mind-Blowing Horror examples is M. Night Shyamalan's brilliant blockbuster, THE SIXTH SENSE. Who can forget those last moments of the film when you suddenly realize NO ONE ever interacts directly with Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) except for the troubled little boy, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). Or that something RED always appears just before a supernatural momentSheer Brilliance!

As an author and screenwriter, this is my preferred genre. That jaw-dropping, mind-bending, “Wait…I need to go back and read/see this again”, ending is what I hope to deliver with my writing. I’m told I accomplished this petty well with WISHBONE, and I'm proud and excited each time a reader tells me so.

 Mind-Bending Horror is written for the mature mind. It is Horror's AGED WINE versus KEG BEER. You're not likely to find naked co-eds popping up throughout these books/films; the protagonist is often of middle-age, and while there are usually a few good jump out of your seat scares, they rarely contain gratuitous blood & guts. Sex scenes, if included at all, are purposeful and poignant. They have a strong backstory and rich character development to aid you in believing the unbelievable woven throughout the journey.


To follow are some of my favorite MIND-BENDING HORROR Films…









1. 
THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

 A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist. 




...Quite Possibly my favorite ending of all time.















2.
THE OTHERS (2001)

A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted. 




















3.
WHAT LIES BENEATH (2000)

The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost - or that she's losing her mind. 













4.
JACOB'S LADDER (1990)

Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam vet attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of disassociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusion, and perception of death. 












5.
SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)

Drama set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding nearby.
 












6.
STIR OF ECHOES (1999) 

After being hypnotized by his sister in law, a man begins seeing haunting visions of a girl's ghost and a mystery begins to unfold around her. 











7.
CASE 39 (2009) 


A social worker fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected. 

















8.
SESSION 9 (2001) 

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back. 















9.
THE JACKET (2005)

 
A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a Doctor's experiments, and his life is completely affected by them. 


















10.
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

A young man blocks out harmful memories of significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life. 














...And One for Nostalgia's Sake







11. FLATLINERS (1990) 

Medical students bring themselves near death; their experiment begins to go awry. 













...Which have I forgotten? 
...Which are your favorites?


Click Join This Blog to Stay in Touch!



12 comments:

  1. I looooooove horror.
    I love to be scared, surprised, or chilled. But it is not easy to do this to me. So, when I find a movie that makes me jump or gasp or I can't figure out--I am thrilled. Not a big fan of Saw or The Hills Have Eyes or anything with too much guts and gore--I love the mind-bending horror idea. Make me think!! Freak me out. Scare me--more than I scare myself.
    I love this post--and thanks for listing the films--haven't thought of a few in a while :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!!, I am replying this almost two years after your post. I have similar taste for Horror like you. My ATFs are Hellraiser (only 1-2-3), Nightmare on Elm Street, ChildsPlay, TCM etc. Can u suggest some spine-chilling Horror/Suspense movies you have learnt?. Thanks - Shyam-India

      Delete
    2. Hi! Welcome. I would try DARK SKIES, MAMA, THE CONJURING, THE PURGE, and OCULUS.

      Delete
  2. Thanks Pen! Fun stuff! There are so many more, but these seem to be my faves (off the top of my head).

    xx, B

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great list. Out of those ten, I have only seen 2 of them completely all the way through and I loved them; 1 and 3 and are my favorites. I saw part of your #2 and have not seen any of the others. Now you have give me some movies to watch when I get tired of reading.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh excellent Jacqueline! I was hoping for exactly that...to inspire others to see these films (or re-watch them if it's been a while). Thanks for joining in! Let us know your thoughts as you watch them.

    xx, B

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, I would love to let you know my thoughts, but now that I take care of my mom in my sister's house, the programs I get to watch are reruns of game shows, CSI, NCIS or Law and Order over and over and over again. I made mom actually last night watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and of course she had to talk to my sister through the movie. So I will try, but who knows when I will get to watch them. Probably have to wait until my hubby comes to take me away for a couple of weeks every other month or so, lol.

    Oh, and Brooklyn, Jacqueline is too formal and takes too long to type, so please call me Jacque or Jac, but I answer to almost anything, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like Jac...it's different. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi, Brooklyn. There's some real good choices there, and several that I have yet to see. The other three members of my family do not appreciate that level of suspense, whether one labels them thrillers of horror. I practically have to sneak my laptop into my bedroom in order to watch something scary. Lol.
    In the past year or so I have had good experiences with George C. Scott's classic, "The Changeling" (I had never seen it), Mr. Harry Potter's film, "The Woman in Black" and "Let Me In". Brilliant films all.
    Thanks for sharing.

    -Jimmy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Jimmy, I definitely enjoyed LET ME IN and THE CHANGELING. I must admit I quit Harry P. after the second film. It was a conscious reaction...it just happened (I should catch up).

      I'm afraid I'm not as kind as you; in my home, no one has any choice...if they don't like what I';m watching, there are other rooms for them to dwell ;) Luckily, my daughter LOVES Horror/Thrillers.

      I'm happy to hear there are some films on my list which you haven't seen. Let me know your thoughts when you have a chance to watch them.

      xx, B

      Delete
  8. Great post! You define the two genres well! I can't wait to see Wishbone as a film! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks Lena...COMING SOON! :)

    xx, B

    ReplyDelete

Your comments and views are always welcome!

All comment containing a link will be deemed SPAM and WILL NOT BE APPROVED.