Want and Need in a Slasher movie



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  • Want and Need in a Slasher movie

    Just curious, in a slasher or horror film, is there any want/need for a character beyond the need to survive? Will be interesting to see what you all think.

  • #2
    Re: Want and Need in a Slasher movie

    I'm not much of a slasher fan, but I would imagine those other goals come from either a B-Story or it's baked into the premise. In Halloween JLC's character is burdened with keeping the kids she is babysitting safe, and that puts a limit on her options. Cabin In The Woods puts a major goal in the hands of the folks downstairs, and leaves the surviving to the college students... at first.

    I would also imagine that many slashers share a two-story structure similar to many monster and horror movies. The first story, or first part of the movie, is trying to figure out what's going on and the second part is either getting away from the monster or killing it.

    Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

    -Steve Trautmann
    3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast


    • #3
      Re: Want and Need in a Slasher movie

      In most cases, it's to discover WHY the killer kills in an effort to use the information to stop them, outsmart them or destroy them.

      Neve's wound is the murder of her mother, and her need is to discover who murdered her, which is answered at the end of the story.

      The Ring:
      The need is to figure out what happened to the little girl and free her soul from being trapped at the bottom of the well. She takes the only action she can based on the story rules-- she allows the tape to be given to someone else, in effect perpetuating the cycle of death. I guess that's not really a slasher, is it?

      Nightmare on Elm Street:
      The kids try to discover WHO Freddie is to use that to destroy him. The fatal sin was what the kid's parents did to Freddie.

      Ghost Story:
      To figure out how to reverse the wrong that was done against the living person who became the ghost and find a way to free them... oh, wait, that's not a slasher either, is it?

      I Know What You Did Last Summer:
      Again, it's to discover WHY the killer is killing and try to find what will satisfy the killer and stop them or use it to destroy them. In this case they know what their fatal sin was, but what they have to figure out is the WHO is the killer.

      That's basically what most slasher movies are, I think... there has been a sin perpetrated on the one that becomes the killer and their victims are in a race against time to figure it out and use that to stop them or kill them.

      Horror movies are disturbing because it's about human devolution.

      We fear losing our lives, our identity, our sanity, or our control to something that is sub-human, inhuman, or an everlasting state of mindless death, as is the case with every zombie movie ever made.
      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso


      • #4
        Re: Want and Need in a Slasher movie

        Sex features pretty highly!!!!
        I heard the starting gun



        • #5
          Re: Want and Need in a Slasher movie

          In the better slasher films there is most definitely the classic internal/external conflict at play.

          I understand what FinalAct is saying about Scream but I don't think that's the want/need of Sydney. Sydney is horribly affected by her mother's death - of an innocent life cruelly extinguished and is scared of life a a result - but she never had any doubt about who the murderer was and her true driving force is the need to overcome her timidity and realise that what happened to her mother won't happen to her if she doesn't let it - which gives her the confidence to ultimately fight the killer when he targets her.

          She locks doors and windows, checks on her dad, and plays life super-safe to try and mitigate the risk of threat. She wants to go beyond petting with her boyfriend but is frozen by fear. and she needs to get over her fear. The subplot of her relationship with Billy further bolsters her want/need - her internal/external conflict - as it's only when she overcomes her timidity and opens up sexually that she is able to really overcome her timidity by fighting back and fight for her life. In both cases, she has to let go and face her fears.

          It's not that she wants or needs to know who killed her mother but that she wants to feel safe and needs to not be ruled by fear, to not be helpless and at the mercy of others, to not be a victim.

          Friday 13th part III

          Chris Higgins returns to Crystal Lake, where her family had a holiday home, to overcome her childhood trauma from sexual assault, which leaves her unable to engage in intimate relationships and though it's not explicitly stated save for a dream sequence, it's hinted that Jason Voorhees was the antagonist.

          Friday 13th part VI
          Despite being recently released from psychiatric care due to the trauma Jason inflicted, Tommy Jarvis is still plagued by hallucinations and fears that Jason is still alive and coming for him, wants and needs to prove to the world (and to himself) that he's not crazy, that Jason Voorhees is dead. He needs to defeat Jason once and for all - not only for his physical survival but his mental survival, too. The need to prove his sanity continues even when Jason resumes doing what he does best - killing obnoxious American teens - Tommy's want/need (internal/external conflict) is still to vindicate himself as no one believes him and the cops think he's the killer.

          Friday 13th part VII
          As a child, Tina inadvertently killed her father with her telekinetic powers and has blamed herself ever since. She fears her powers, fears she only brings death and misery, and runs from her powers - which requires running away from her problems, locking her even further in psychological distress and social awkwardness/anxiety. She feels powerless and under the control of others. She needs to know her abilities are not evil, that she is not a bad person, in control of her life, and that her father still loves her. Only by squaring off with Jason does she achieve each one.
          Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 01-04-2020, 04:30 PM.