King (2010) describes Horror as being defined through three basic elements. Explain, using references, what these three elements are. Think of a horror story you’ve read/watched/heard that makes use of all three of these elements and show how King’s definition is at play in that narrative.
King (2010) describes Horror as being defined through three basic elements. First is revulsion, things that are gross to look at can cause the consumer to be disturbed by pure disgust. Second is horror, or portrayal of the unbelievable, showing the audience something that simply cannot exist within the context of the story. Finally there’s terror, where the specifics are left up to the audience’s imagination, and therefore it is whatever it is that scares them the most. .
It may be ironic to pick a film that Stephen king has personally expressed his dislike towards, but I think Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is an excellent choice for this post.
There are a few examples of revulsion used in The Shining. The first is the bathroom scene, where Jack Torrence finds a beautiful naked woman in the bathtub and makes out with her. but once he looks in the mirror he sees that she has become bloated and decrepit with massive infected wounds in her flesh. Not only is it a surprise but the woman’s repulsive appearance makes this a good example of what King was referring to. Another example is the elevator scene, where blood comes flooding out of the elevator, it is disturbing and unnatural.
There is also Horror used in The Shining, The first example is the hallway scene, but first some context. Large portions of the film are spent with the characters mundanely in the hotel, these scenes establish that the Torrence’s are completely alone in the hotel. So when Danny is riding through the hallway on his tricycle, it completely catches the audience off guard when he turns the corner and sees the twin ghosts standing in the middle of the hallway. More than just being a surprise it is also unexplainable, The Torrence’s are alone in the hotel, how are they here? Why? What are they? The mind rushes.
Finally there is terror, which is where I believe the Shining truly… In the documentary Room 237, different interviewees discuss their different interpretations of the shining, and they have theories from The Shining being about The holocaust, to it being about the genocide of American Indians, all the way to someone believing that the entire film is actually a secret message from Kubrick that he helped NASA fake the moon landing. My point is that this film makes people believe that there is more to it than meets the eye. The unknown is everywhere in this film with all kinds of questions that the audience is left to speculate on. Is the mansion a living entity? Is it Haunted? How did Jack get out of the food cellar? And the moment that truly illustrates my point at the very end when Jack appears in a photo of a party at the hotel in 1921. The answer had been sitting right in front of us the whole time, as for what that answer actually means? That’s what makes it terrifying, because they never clue us in.
Neilan, D. (2017, September 13). Stephen King breaks down the different levels of horror. https://www.avclub.com/stephen-king-breaks-down-the-different-levels-of-horror-1806112160
King, S. (2010). Danse macabre. https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-5320793-dt-content-rid-12699647_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Stephen%20King%20Danse%20Macabre%20reading%20%281%29.pdf
Tyler, A. (2020, October 6). The Shining: Every Theory On What Kubrick’s Movie Is Really About. https://screenrant.com/shining-movie-stanley-kubrick-real-meaning-messages-theories/#:~:text=Perhaps%20the%20most%20popular%20theory,then%20fake%20the%20whole%20thing.