Have you ever stopped to consider the level of impact horror movies have on our society?
I’m not talking about theories where horror movies turn people into killers or whatever. I’m talking about how horror movies have impacted what we wear, the shows we watch on TV, the music we listen to and even the games we play.
If you’ve not, let me tell you this — the impact is pretty vast.
It has quite literally made its presence known in every other aspect of consumerist life. If you’re a horror movie buff, like me, then you’re bound to find it interesting to see an overview of how and where it’s done this. So let me quench that interest. Here’s an overview of how horror movies have impacted, well, everything.
Think back to your favourite thriller. It had an iconic sound to it, right?
Suspenseful music is certainly nothing new. We’ve had it since the ages of classical composers. However, we have to recognise that it took a dramatic turn as thrilling movies became popular.
The Misfits, and the entire horror-punk scene, are a great example of how horror has influenced music. With the suspenseful beat and the lyrics filled with regular horror/thriller themes. There’s no question that this branch of music would not exist without horror movies themselves.
Shows like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Twilight Zone and even the upcoming Resident Evil TV show (Yes, you read that right!) are clear displays of how the early days thrillers have transformed our bite-size entertainment.
Considering how closely related the television and movie worlds are, this really comes as no surprise.
Thrilling horror movies are always known to do well, so it makes a lot of sense to bring this to the television as well. If AHS and The Walking Dead are anything to go by, it’s most certainly a successful move as well.
But this isn’t anything new. If you were around for the original Twilight Zone, you know this. It’s just a growing trend now.
Okay, so I guess this could be covered under TV shows. But if you’re at all savvy to the world of anime, you’ll know it’s far more expansive than that of television shows in general. It is its own breed of entertainment at this point.
While some may argue that a lot of anime takes its main inspiration from more drama-based show, there is a hugely growing trend in which horror is clearly the main motivator behind it.
Death Note, Another and Elfen Lied are prime demonstrations of suspenseful, gore-filled animation coupled with chilling and horror-esque plots. Watching a few episodes of these back-to-back is enough to bring on flashbacks of 1960 Hitchcock thrillers.
The key difference between horror-inspired anime and a horror-inspired TV show is the way the killing is depicted. In TV shows, they have a tendency to make them a lot more aesthetically pleasing. Not a great deal of gore.
However, in most animes this isn’t the case. They’re grizzly and gruesome.
Tying closely into our anime point, manga — which is simply a certain form of comic, credited to Japanese culture — also borrows a ton of inspiration from our early day thriller and horror movies.
This isn’t a surprising or new revelation. If you’re well-versed on anime, you’ll know many of them are based on mangas anyway. Borrowing from our previous examples, Death Note is one of the animes based on a widely successful manga before becoming an anime.
While the format is very different, and the translations to English tend to be crude, it’s still easy to detect the subtleties in the writing that feel very much like the world of King and Lovecraft.
Plus, the gore. There’s no shying away from entrails being spilled and heads being lopped off. Manga is most certainly a world apart from any other western comic book you can think of.
Online Gambling is certainly no stranger to jumping on themed games.
Undoubtedly, there’s a ton more where they came from. Everyone loves a good thriller. For many of this generation, it’s what they grew up. It’s what they can relate to. So it would make sense for any service that can play to that familiarity to do so.
There’s no denying that a lot of what we consider horror games today, especially Dead Rising, would not exist without that famed Dawn of the Dead movie.
Not to mention the ridiculous amount of video games that are made purely from the idea of the horror movies themselves. Such as Friday the 13th and The Blair Witch Project series just to name a few.
One of the core necessities to a successful video game is the idea of suspense and progression. With this already being a necessary characteristic, shared by that of any great horror movie, it’s easy to see how video games often borrow inspiration from said movies.
Arguably, we could say that horror movies have been influenced by books more so than books influenced by movies. However, we just can’t deny that Hitchcock and Lovecraft’s legacies have had a huge impact upon the literary scene.
Just think of Stephen King growing up. His early life right through to his early adult years, the genius that is Hitchcock was gripping the movie scene with his intense thrilling entertainment.
While King attributes his inspiration mostly to finding a collection of Lovecraft short stories, can we really believe that King didn’t end up using the exposure to Hitchcock’s material he undoubtedly experienced? I don’t think so.
Not only that, but Lovecraft’s stories were eventually turned into movies as mentioned above. Considering we already knew King as a Lovecraft fan, it’s pretty unlikely that he would’ve skipped out on the movies.
What came first, the thrilling comic books or the horror movies?
It’s a similar conundrum to that of the books. There’s certainly overlap. Undoubtedly horror movies have taken influence from comic books as well. But the iconic image of the horror movie has very much inspired comics in a similar way.
Friday the 13th, 28 Days Later and Saw: Rebirth are just some of the examples where the horror movie world has been converted to comics. Plus, as an added bonus, these follow-up comics have a tendency to add to the conclusion of the movies. (Which is something worth checking out!)
That concludes our brief overview. But, like the word brief implies, this barely breaks the surface of how deep the influence goes. And as we continue to revere the world of horror, and bring back the classic movies that started this movement, this influence will only ever continue to grow.
I don’t know about you, but I’m only getting more and more excited by that prospect. Horror has a unique way of touching on aspects of our lives that usually go unexamined. That’s likely why it’s so widely successful.
Why not go explore the influence of horror for yourself? Consider this your starting block. As always, be sure to report back any interesting findings into the comment box below. (We’re all movie fans here. We really want to hear!)
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