Friday, October 28, 2011

Horror By Other Means

Last time I talked about horror. As I said last week, horror is a flexible genre, capable of taking on multiple personalities as needed.  In many cases, the "horror" element of the story takes a back seat to the other elements of the genre.  Horror then becomes less a genre and more a setting, which is what I'm going to talk about this time.

I have read a lot of comics that have horror elements, or a horror setting, but not actually what I would consider horror.  I look at suspense and mystery as an essential part of horror, with gore and scares being the final results of those two elements.  Most of the time, though, horror is less about those things, and more about, say, comedy.

Which brings me to the first comic I'd like to discuss, Eerie Cuties.  This is most certainly not suspense or mystery, but almost entirely played for laughs.  Yes, there are vampires, werewolves and even witches (until they moved to their own comic), but they are merely characters in the comedy that is Eerie Cuties.  There are SOME horror elements even with these characters, but they really take a backseat to the comedy.  I find that comedy and horror go very, very well together, but in this case it's more comedy than horror.  Nothing wrong with that, of course, and as a comedy it works pretty well.  The actual horror part of Eerie Cuties loses out in most cases to the comedy.

Further away from pure comedy is Conny Van Ehlsing, Monster Hunter, who leans more towards the horror angle, with actual monsters, but rarely goes into pure suspense.  How Conny deals with the creatures is very thoughtful and practical, but often the motivations of the monsters is rather silly and are put down rather easily.  Here we get more gore, less humor, but not strictly a lot of actual suspenseful horror.  The action, however, is much more prevelent here.

Then we get to Kristy vs the Zombie Army.  Comedy and horror go well together, as I said, so much so that some of the greatest horror movies are actually comedies.  Specifically, I'm thinking of the Evil Dead series, and Army of Darkness, which is where Kristy gets it's inspiration.  Like Army of Darkness, however, the comedy is merged more into action, and the fight with the zombie army takes up quite a bit of the early comic.  Of course, the fact that a little girl is carrying a giant chainsaw is enough to put a grin on anyone's face.  Though calling those zombies actual zombies is hard to do, they are kind of stylized.

Which finally brings us to the other end of the horror spectrum, action dramas, and Dead Winter.  Like the majority of zombie based, well anything, it is about action and killing or running from zombies.  Dead Winter is all about that, with the occasional bout with other humans.  There are tense moments, yes, but calling them horror would be a disservice to horror as a whole.  Doesn't mean Dead Winter isn't good, it is, but it's not strictly horror as I see it.

I've read other horror comics, of course, the direction of each being somewhere between comedy and action with only elements of horror in them.  From Choppingblock to Contemplating Reiko, the variety is there to be had, but I wouldn't call any of them true horror.

One day I hope to find one, until then, I'll just have to make due reading more Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.  Until next time kiddies, happy Halloween.

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