Horror films are usually seen as cult films, yet despite this label, they have little issue making the jump to other forms of media. From movies to television series, books, games and more, what is it that gives this genre so much flexibility?
The key to this transposition is the fundamental idea of horror – it is our imagination which reigns supreme. Horror succeeds through not just what it shows, but also what it doesn’t. Films like The Blair Witch, never actually show the eponymous monster, yet our minds still create a terrifying experience.
It is true that most genres of film rely, to some degree, on imagination and suspension of disbelief, but none lean so heavily into this concept as horror does. This cornerstone is part of what allows it to translate so well into other arenas. If we take that base concept, we already have a strong starting point from which to build.
A fantastic example of this is the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Released on consoles and home computers, this first-person horror game adopted a similar tell-and-don’t-show attitude. Attention to world-building created a game that many praise as one of the most effectively frightening video games ever.
The monster in this game, which pursues the player throughout the experience, is attracted to the player through being looked at. This encourages an urgency in the need to hide and escape that intensifies the fear, just as we might have hidden in a corner or under the bed as a fearful child. It plays with the imagination, reawakening these deep-seated fears, exploiting the opportunities afforded by a new means of entertainment.
There is also a vast attempt by artists all over the world, striving to integrate horror to make something new and evolve other forms of media. Take, for example, an online service which boasts a temple of casino games. This includes many popular entries like blackjack and roulette, but also slots where integration of horror themes can be seen. Considerable work has been put into developing slot ideas over the past few generations, and now slot games like Wild Blood and Devil’s Number continue that legacy.
These don’t try to scare on the same level as film media, but rather they draw from the surrounding contributions which horror has made to our greater culture. By leaning on the tropes which have horrified and intrigued us for years they manage to create a bridge where we might not imagine one exists, pushing horror into otherwise disparate forms of media.
Most encouraging about this interplay between horror and its transpositions comes from the relationship it has with technology. Each new technological leap brings forth new avenues of exploration, and we get to see horror involvement in this media evolve before our very eyes.
Those interested in new horror experiences should not underestimate the experiences of VR, for example. Most importantly, though, these transpositions of the horror genre in turn lead to further developments in the more traditional horror platform, bringing in an entirely new generation of fans back to film: in other words, a bigger community overall means more horror films and, as you might have guessed, that’s what we really care about.