Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

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  • #16
    Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

    How many of the movies in that thread have you seen?
    I fail to see the relevance. Unless, of course, you are trying to pick on me.
    'The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.' GILBERT K. CHESTERTON

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    • #17
      Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

      You're giving advice on writing for the horror genre. You're basing this advice on the fact that you believe a majority ("more than half") of classic horror films don't have any character depth.

      I'm asking you how many of the films on those lists you've seen.

      The thing that leads me to believe you haven't seen very many is the wording of the sentence in question; especially this: "I can bet..."

      If you knew, you wouldn't have worded it that way.

      My fear is that you're giving advice about a genre you're not familiar with and are probably not a fan of.

      If I'm wrong, set the record straight. (Or don't. Whatever.)

      But if I *am* wrong and you have seen all of them and are a huge horror movie buff (and, quite possibly, write horror scripts), I have to ask you: Which of the movies in that thread do you think have "absolutely no character depth"?

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      • #18
        Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

        Jar:

        www.forsalebyownermovie.com). 9 out of possible 109 participants. The genre was "Horror". Took me 3 years from start to finish and is now repped by Strategic Film Partners in LA. Right now, I am in the middle of developing my second feature, scheduled to go to camera in January 2007. And yes, another horror flick.

        Having said that, everyone on this board knows how much advice should a writer incorporate. I just posted my opinion. Dark, or anyone else for that matter, should discard as deemed necessary.

        And yes, I have seen almost all the movies listed. Including a few that were not on that list. AND yes, I stick to my OPINION that half of them have absolutely no character arc. At least, not a meaningful one. You may choose to disagree. And that is fine with me.



        P
        Last edited by PNChheda; 10-12-2005, 09:59 AM. Reason: typo
        'The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.' GILBERT K. CHESTERTON

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        • #19
          Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

          Well, there you go. I stand corrected. And I congratulate you on the success of your film and wish you the best with it and your next endeavor.

          And we'll agree to disagree about the character stuff.

          (Btw, I like how our exchange pretty much brought the screenwriting forum to a screeching halt. There were no posts from 10:57am till now. )

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          • #20
            Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

            Jar:

            It is sad that the thread came to a screeching halt 'cos of me. I was, by no means, implying that characters depth/arc are not an important element of horror. I was just making a statement that it's writer's personal taste. Horror genre works well even without a "meaningful" arc/depth. Look at the BO numbers for some of the successful franchises (Scream, I know what you did, Friday 13th, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw, Romero flicks etc. and also recent movies like Grudge, Cabin Fever, Wrong Turn, Haunted Tension etc.) and it is clear that the audiences are going in for an adrenaline



            P
            'The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.' GILBERT K. CHESTERTON

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            • #21
              Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

              Ted Elliott on Halloween:

              HALLOWEEN is a good movie. Genuinely suspenseful and frightening. An interesting, well-told story, made with real affection for its characters, particularly the women. A lot has been made of the fact that Laurie, the heroine who slays the Shape (or does she?), is a virgin. But I think that the truth of her character has been blurred by Jamie Lee Curtis' similar roles in other, lesser movies in the genre.

              Laurie is an independent, strong-minded person. She doesn't live or die based on a boy liking her, she doesn't drink, she gets good grades, she fulfills her obligations (she baby-sits instead of partying) -- and she's still well-liked. That she's a virgin is simply an aspect of her character -- not the definition of it.

              And she survives because of her character. Because she goes her own way, makes her own decisions, fights her own battles -- always remaining true to herself.
              http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/wp35.Hacking.html

              I happen to agree wholeheartedly with his assessment of the film and of the importance of Laurie's character.

              The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Romero's zombie films are satires/explorations of some of the darker, more unpleasant aspects of our culture. TCM examines our over-reliance on family values and the dangers of isolating family from society*. Romero's films are allegories on greed, consumerism, and class warfare.

              Scream is a clever parody of the slasher genre.

              I'm not a fan of the rest of the movies you mention.

              Anyway, I guess it's all in how you see it.

              And YOU did not bring the thread to a screeching halt. Our exchange did.



              * The Shining explores similar territory. And brilliantly, I might add. (Not saying I agree with either film's stance, btw.)
              Insanity In A Jar
              Banned
              Last edited by Insanity In A Jar; 10-14-2005, 01:18 PM.

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              • #22
                Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

                Thanks for the insight Deus and Bill. It seems that while you can probably get by without a deep character arc in the horror genre, it sure adds an extra level of depth and complexity when it is executed well that can take a decent story and make it great.

                Bill, the article on your site about the theme breakdown in Liar Liar was helpfull too. I see now that to take the approach of building the horror/supernatural events around the character arc/theme rather than the other way around will make the story flow much better and make it seem more "real".

                Now if I could just get the Log Line hammered out...

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                • #23
                  Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

                  The arc in many thrillers and horror films is the protag's recognition that they cannot rely on anyone else. To survive they're going to have to embrace violence. They're going to have to become more brutal and violent than the monster/psychokiller that's been stalking them. The protag goes from a law-abiding wuss to a take-charge killer. There are times when the rules of civilized society do not apply.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Character arc in Horror/Supernatural Thrillers?

                    In regards to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, I feel that there are three different types of movies, writer's movies, director's movies, and those that fit into each category. TCM is a perfect example of a director's movie, where the directing is the main character, and driving force behind the movie and generally what makes it good. The Shining is another great example of a movie that relies on directing and not writing. If anybody else made that movie, it would suck. You can't write a movie like The Shining, you have to direct it. IN fact, 2001: A Space Odyssey is an even better example. Nobody is studying that film for writing purposes. Nobody. It's the director's movie the whole way, and it's really a testament to the greatness of Kubrick...how he could take a boring, banal script that would have been a complete disaster in the hands of anybody else...and make a masterpiece out of it.

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