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Baytor, explain to me how Horror & Thrillers are the same thing.


Panch
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Because "Thriller" isn't a sub-genre it's a Michael Jackson song it's a name snobby people throw out because they consider horror movies low class. It's also a buzzword for action movies that have no action and play out like Giallo movies with machismo (see: at least 3 of the Dirty Harry Movies.) From what I can gather, if it's "Smart" it's a thriller and if it's "stupid" it's horror. And not being scary is not enough of a reason for it not to be horror, because there are entire genres of horror that aren't scary.

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While what you're saying sounds good and makes perfect sense I don't think elitist movie goers determine the name of movie genres. I think Nick hit the nail on the head. While scary, I don't think a severed head in a box constitutes horror. Se7en is a thriller. Insidious, on the other hand, is suspenseful as fuck, but that's a horror for sure. I'm sure if I think about it more closely (and while not tired as hell) I can probably find the line that separates the two, but I'll have to get back to you. For now, though, I'm pretty sure - with my two examples - that everyone can see what I'm talking about and can pretty much know the difference.

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i'd walked by that one since im not as sure about the lines of movie genres - when we say "thrillers" we mean suspense films, yeah? Se7en and such? because some places i've been to seem to toss psychological horror in there too.

I'd say "suspense film" and thriller aren't technically synonymous. Genrally when I think of "suspense films" I'm more inclined to think of something like North By Northwest, Fargo, or even some of the more recent spy films like the Bourne franchise and the first Mission Impossible--although those latter two could even be categorized as "action-suspense."

 

I'm glad you brought up Se7en b/c I think it is a perfect example where "thriller" is a more accurate term to use than "horror." It's definitely got the elements of the grotesque that a horror film has yet it lacks (if I recall corrrectly, that is) emphasis on the actual murders. It's more about solving the case and the results of the serial killer's murders. Ditto for Silence of the Lambs, which I'm sure Baytor and most other horror enthusiasts take umbrage w/ as it's often referred to as the most critically acclaimed "horror" film.

 

Personally, I think two necessaities of a true "horror" film are 1. an emphasis on elements of the supernatural and/or the grotesque 2. emphasis on showing murder/death in a terrifying and/or gratuitous manner. Then of course you have the sub-genre of horror that takes away the supernatural and then you've got a "slasher" film.

 

I'm curious if Baytor and others would agree w/ how I'd categorize these films:

 

Thrillers = Se7en, Silence of the Lambs, Sixth Sense, Fatal Attraction

Horror = Nightmare on Elm St., Drag Me To Hell, Final Destination, The Birds

Slasher = Psycho, Scream, Friday the 13th, Halloween, American Psycho

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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wait, i gotta disagree on point 1 hakus: horror doesn't necessarily require supernatural; i thought that in itself was as sub-genre? or at least, demonic/paranmoral. ill grand that slasher guys like freddy, jason etc are supernatural as well.

 

ps as an aside, i love the definition of "true horror" thrown out in Garden of Sinners, this excellent anime movie series bish got me on:

1) the monster must be invisible/out of sight

2) the monster must be both relentless and seemingly invincible

3) it must not speak

 

kinda fits lovecraftian/psych stuff i go for, mostly because there's so very few stories i can think of where the mask comes off and it's not a letdown on some level.

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Haku pretty much took the words outta my mouth. Thanks buddy. Although, I do agree with Nick that Freddy/Jason are supernatural, but also fit the slasher title. Slasher-horror? Anyways, as Haku also mentioned, horror doesn't only mean supernatural. Showing grotesque scenes of murder or gore can count as horror even without the supernatural element. I.E. Halloween, American Psycho or Hostel even.

Edited by Panch
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Yeah, I did put the "and/or" in there to make it the broadest definition of horror I could think of; however, I kinda stumbled over that w/ my def. of slasher. That needs tweaking. But what I was going for w/ "element of supernatural" for a horror film is the fact there is a monster (be it demon, ghost, animal, etc. or some amalgamation of those) and the monster is by definition something unnatural, no?

 

I also like your anime series' criteria for horror, nick. JAWS certainly fits the bill there. . .

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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The problem is all the rules you're establishing can have millions of holes poked in them immediately. Slasher movies are horror movies, they're a subgenre but the only established rule is that it has to involve a killer (or killers) stalking people and it's not uncommon to have them focus on the police investigating the killings.

 

Here's where I file Thriller under horror:

1. Does the movie put any of the main characters in serious physical danger for part or even all of the movie?

2. Is the action central to the movie or just central to a couple of scenes?

3. Is the movie dark, grotesque, or otherwise create a "gothic" (for lack of a better term) atmosphere or generally just a state of unease.

4. Is the cause of the danger made to seem as though it outclasses the hero to the point where stopping it seems insurmountable?

5. Does the hero have control of the situation? (The implied answer here is "no.")

 

If it fits all of those criteria then it is a horror movie. Horror movies are meant to make you feel uneasy, like you can't expect what's coming next and even when the hero gets control of the situation it's meant to blow up in their face. Silence of the Lambs does all these things, Seven does it in spades, Fatal Attraction does (Hell, she even does the "The Killer Comes back to life for one last scare" bit.) I grant that American Psycho doesn't necessarily fit but to be fair that movie doesn't fit in ANY genre and is not a good yardstick by which to measure things.

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I'll go with the logic that slasher, thriller, etc. can all fall under the larger umbrella of horror, but by that token would horror then be considered a subgenre of mystery?

 

A lot of secondhand bookstores sure seem to think so. I would say yes and no, Mystery (the criteria is basically to have a question that needs answered) is a very broad genre so it's hard to categorize, also a horror movie doesn't have to have to have a mystery involved I'd say they're more of a venn diagram relationship.

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