Does the Horror Genre Need Blood To Scare?
You’re probably thinking yes but now your thinking about the last horror movie you saw and realized it had no blood in it at all. Horror doesn’t need blood to win people over or catch their attentions but it is used as an effect because it is so associated and common in horror that it’s just naturally assumed that horror has to have blood but it really doesn’t. Sure, vampire novels and movies need blood because vampires are all about blood and sure killers and slashers cause bloodshed but still blood is not necessary for horror. Gory and gruesome horror entertainment thrive off blood but does this mean blood is a need in horror? Once again no just a theme in horror that needs it. Horror is the intent to scare, to gross out and yet it is widely known that horror and blood usually go hand in hand but both do not need one another and horror more so does not need blood to be what it is.
The Shining, one of the most iconic movies in horror. Yes there’s an elevator scene where blood splashes through the doors but it’s only shown twice in the film and the rest of the film uses different elements of horror to scare you. Blood is not the effect in it nor is it used to scare, it’s not necessary. While there is blood it’s not enough and it doesn’t use blood to make the film. There are way better examples out there of films and books that don’t use blood to pull you in or to use it as a way to get the story going. Blood is in all of us, it is essential to life but not to horror, remember that the next time your thinking about writing it in your story. Blood is used because it’s a go-to effect, it’s an obvious theme, it’s “hey how do I get this story really going? Oh I know I’ll include blood!”. Horror may not need blood but just think of how films that do need it would be without it.
The Shining could survive without the elevator scene but there’s a few iconic films that simply wouldn’t have the same effect or scare factor without the appearance of blood. Imagine if Psycho’s iconic scene of Janet Leigh getting stabbed in the shower didn’t happen and you didn’t see the blood going down the drain? Well it is in black and white and they used chocolate syrup but the whole idea is to make you think your seeing blood. Imagine if they didn’t show gore in Halloween or the Friday th 13th films? You’d be bored because you’d know people got killed but without showing blood you’d be less interested. In this regard, blood is necessary. Any slasher film; Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, American Psycho all rely on blood to get their point across and this isn’t a bad thing but it just goes to show you how they fit in a certain type of theme of horror. Gothic films, psychological thrillers and macabre don’t necessarily need blood to scare or to be their selling point to be horror. The next time you read or watch horror ask yourself, do you see blood? Is the blood important to the story? You may be surprised at the realization.
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