Week 7: Brendan O’Neill

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.

Week 7: Horror, by Rachel Banks

Q1: 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.

““Horror,” as a category of ordinary language, is a serviceable concept through which we communicate and receive information. It is not an obscure notion,”says Carroll, N. (2003). Although Horror is a well-known genre, there are many sub-genres to consider such as Body Horror, Supernatural Horror, Psychological Horror, Art-Horror and those Horror stories involving monsters whether they are perversions of human beings or aliens.

When describing Horror, King (2010), describes three basic elements, Terror, Revulsion and Horror to identify sub-genres. He uses the examples of Freaks or Carnival folk in the context of Revulsion. To audiences they seem to be drawn to the weird oddities of people on the fringe of society such as dwarves, Siamese twins and bearded ladies. An example of this style of Horror features in season 4 of the Television series “American Horror Story – Freak Show”. As well as the aforementioned freaks there is a woman with male genitalia, a strong man, a pin-head and more. The season is creates uncomfortable emotions for the viewer as they become more familiarized with the characters and sense how exploited and disposable they are in the society they must survive in.

The two other elements written by King (2010) are Horror and Terror. I’ve chosen the (2005) film “Hostel” as an example of both, as when I viewed it a number of years ago it left me with a very unsettled experience. The film is set in Slovakia where tourists are kidnapped from a backpacker’s hostel and sold to members of a mysterious organization. These people travel to this area to torture, mutilate and kill the kidnap victims. When the protagonist wakes up in a dungeon he is confronted by a masked man holding a drill. In the background you can hear the screams of people being butchered while awake. In this example there is the splatter and gore or a classic Horror as well as the psychological terror that comes from the knowledge this could happen to anyone anywhere. I believe it left me particularly terrified as I’ve stayed in back packer accommodation in many parts of the world. In some ways “Hostel” could also take on the Revulsion factor because the people who are paying to torture humans are of a Freakish nature.


King, S. (2010) Danse Macabre

Carroll, N. (2003). The Nature of Horror. In The Philosophy of Horror. Routledge.

Hendrix, G., & Errickson, W. (2017). Paperbacks from Hell. Quirk Books, pp9-14

American Horror Story (2014-2015) [TV Series] “Freak Show” Season 4

Roth, Eli (2005) Hostel [Film]

Week 7

1. 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.

The 3 main Elements of Horror as Defined by King (2010) are horror, terror and revulsion. He talks of terror using the example of HP Lovecrafts, Henry S , Robert Blog and Ray Bradbury’s work as terrifying collections. With Horror being more of the classics Frankenstein & Dracula. Without forgetting Revulsion which he includes with Freaks which is about carnival freaks which even though he has never been to a freak show he can understand.

I cannot personally think of anything that would encompass all three but things i can currently watched that encompass each would be Mist (2007) which isn’t Horror but is more Terror where the slow realization that help may not come as they tree to escape on their own only for in the end the main character feels the dread of having killed his son and the others in the vehicle only to be saved moments later. The Revulsion comes when in the Pharmacy scene they enter and talk to a Military Police member who had eggs hatched inside him only for them to start hatching and leaving his body while he was still alive. Horror may have been when they finally left the store and could not see in front of them the unknowing of what creatures were in the fog.


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.

Week 7: Mollie Chater

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.

Stephen King is known for his horror novels, he depicts that the three basic elements to horror are; The Gross-out, The Horror and The Terror. Looking at Stephen King’s own story ‘IT’ shows these three elements and shows how they add to complete the overall horror experience that people love.

The first element of ‘The Gross-out’ is self-explanatory, it is meant to gross out the audience, this can be done in multiple ways, most common with bugs, and gore as some gross topic’s horror produces. The gross element within ‘IT’ throughout both novel and film, in many different forms. On one hand there is the use of blood, gushing and overwhelming the screen in multiple scenes, but also the use of monsters (King, 2010) that represent disease and disgust to viewers like the leper in the novel that appears to one of the characters. The gross-out is the weakest of the three elements according to King (Reel, 2019).

The second element is ‘The Horror’. This is said to be the portrayal of what is meant to be unbelievable yet sparks fear within the audience, the horror is when we see something so awful, unnatural that we begin to fear it as we cannot grasp or understand what we are seeing. This is the middle of the three elements and is worse than the gross element not only can we be repulsed but our fear is determined by something we can physically see but not understand. Within King’s ‘IT’ the horror can come from Pennywise the clown as he morphs into a child eating clown luring children to their deaths, he takes the form of what the children fear most throughout the novel to make both the characters fear it and the audience watching.

The third element is ‘The Terror’, this is regarded as the worst of the three elements as it is our fear created by our imaginations (Neilan, 2017) When we turn off the light and flick it back on because we think something is there is a factor of having terror cause fear. Within it, this is the constant idea that Pennywise is everywhere watching the characters and that they can’t hide from into matter what they do.


Neilan, D. (2017). Stephen King Breaks Down the Different Levels of Horror. Retrieved from https://www.avclub.com/stephen-king-breaks-down-the-different-levels-of-horror-1806112160

Regal Reel. (2019). Stephen King’s 3 Levels of Horror. Retrieved From https://www.regmovies.com/static/en/us/blog/stephen-king-3-levels-of-horror#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20acclaimed%20author,but%20in%20cinema%20as%20well.

week 7

2. What is the philosophy of cosmicism and how is it used to convey a sense of dread in The Colour out of Space?

Cosmicism is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s idea that humanity and what we do are mere illusions, that “Human consciousness, human civilization, humane values, and all the rest, add up to a bubble that surrounds us and keeps us from seeing that the cosmos is wholly indifferent to us.” (Patheos). The concept of how small and insignificant humans are to the sheer size and age of the cosmos and cosmicism tries to use existential dread to provoke fear into its audience. Lovecraft used Cosmicism a lot in his stories, the most famous of which would be, “ The Call of Cthulhu”. 

Lovecraft’s horror doesn’t use much blood or gore, it uses the fear of the unknown, where he would introduce an antagonist that was immense in power, an existence that was as old as the earth, that had no malice but had enough power to destroy humanity without any regard for resistance. Lovecraft’s “monsters” would view humans the same way we would view ants, as either; something to admire from afar, or as a minor inconvenience that posed no threat, which could be dealt with by flicking it away, “Cosmicism is rooted in the absence of God and, ultimately, any sort of morality and meaning tethered to such a Presence.”(Duran, 2016). The Colour out of Space film based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story, directed by Richard Stanley, follows Nathan Gardner portrayed by Nicholas Cage as he moves to the countryside with his whole family after a health scare, where he sees a colourful and bright meteorite that falls on their land. The meteorite gradually reveals itself as the film progresses, to be an evil entity from beyond our concept of reality that corrupts and warps whatever it touches with its colour. 

In Colour out of Space, we see the usual conventions of darkness, and muted colour in horror completely ignored, as bright colours are not only used, but they represent the main villain of the film. The main antagonist was simply too large for the Gardner family to face as the entity could corrupt anything it touched, including plants, insects and animals. Near the end of the film, we see Ward played by Elliot Knight, returning to the Gardner farm, which has now been completely overtaken by the Colour, he sees Livinia who has been also taken over by the colour, all the while the Colour is trying to open a gateway to its home above the property. When Livinia touches Ward, both he and the audience are connected to the Colour, and it shows its homeworld, which looked like a bunch of abstract colours, we then see millions of worm-like creatures writhing around, with several giant worm-like creatures moving towards against monument, which looks like an eye which is also seen as a symbol on Livinias forehead. Here the audience is able to see what the colour had in store for humanity and that we would be hopeless in the face of such unimaginable power. 

King, S. (2010). Stephen King’s Danse macabre / by Stephen King. Retrieved November 6, 2020, from https://cpl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/Record/5394/Excerpt

W7: Questions

  1. 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.

The three elements Stephen King defines are named ‘The Gross-Out’, ‘Horror’ and then ‘Terror’.

‘The Gross-Out’ is- as it sounds- designed to disgust the audience with its grotesque use of gore; whether it be a broken bone, a disembodied head or a flood of blood. Now certainly, some horror movies won’t have excessive use of gore if any at all, some examples include a demonic stalker that can only be seen by its victim (It Follows, 2014), or where you only see the monster once in the films entire runtime (The Babadook, 2014). On the other side of the spectrum, you have movies that are notorious for its gore it wouldn’t be the same without; including he movie that started it’s own genre called Torture Porn, (Saw, 2004), or the one that went so far as to be banned in several countries (The Human Centipede (First Sequence), 2009).

‘The Horror’ is the staple of the genre, it’s fear in its purest form. It’s meeting your body double who has a murderous vendetta against you (Us, 2019), witnessing the corpse of a woman emerge from your bed sheets (The Grudge, 2004), watching hundreds of spiders burst from your own pimple (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, 2019), etc. Without experiencing this fear, the whole story fails.

The final and- in Stephen King’s own words- the worst element is ‘The Terror’. Something not wholly explainable by conventional means, it’s not a deranged man in the walls, it’s not your adopted daughter, nor is it your vengeful neighbour. A true example of terror is gripping your friends hand tightly in the dark only for the lights to come on and see her on the other side of the room (The Haunting, 1963).

A great example of a movie that uses all three elements, aside from King’s own works, is Ari Aster’s Midsommar. ‘The Gross-out’ was the elders of this community jumping to their deaths in full view. ‘The Horror’ is watching them all be picked off one by one in different ways. ‘The Terror’ is realising this was planned from the start.


Carroll, N. (2003). The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart. Routledge.

King, S. (2010). Danse Macabre. Simon & Schuster.

Regal Reel. (2019). Stephen King’s 3 Levels of Horror. Retrieved from https://www.regmovies.com/static/en/us/blog/stephen-king-3-levels-of-horror

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.

According to Stephen King, horror can be broken down into three elements; these include the horror element, the revulsion element, and the terror element.  The revulsion element is the act of physically revolting the audience through grotesque animation. Additionally, it is the lowest level of trifecta yet still disturbs the audience, and makes them squirm. To simply sum, it is the scene in which the audience are in a way forced to close their eyes, or peek in order to continue watching. An example of revulsion as a form of horror, is present in the movie saw II, where there is a syringe with an antidote which is hung, in a see through box with fatal poisonous gas, it can only be accessed if one slips their hands through the unavoidable razor lined sleeves. This is gruesome as you can watch the gore of the hands oozing with blood as it hits the blade. The second element of horror is called horror. This is when the audience are exposed to something that seems graphically unbelievable. Accumulating to a state where the audience are shocked out of fear, and sense an inability to comprehend what actually occurred on the screen. An example of this would be the abundance of large creepy crawlies or a scene in which the dead rise from the grave, as seen in Zombieland. The final element of horror is terror. This is the highest form of fear. Viewers are presented with the ability to imagine the horror that has or is yet to take place. The suggestion of the unknown allows the viewers to fill in that space with something that is terrifying to them. Stephen King describes the terror element of horror as ““when you come home and notice everything you own has been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…”. An example of this is in the Indian movie raaz in which the woman is in a haunted forest at night, the audience’s immediate reaction, of all the terrifying creatures or possibilities that may cause her harm in her possessed state. King further states mentions how all three elements are necessary to truly embed horror within the viewers hearts, he states “it is not the physical or mental aberration in itself which horrifies us, but the lack of order which these aberrations seem to imply.”

An example of a movie that contains all three elements of horror is, ‘The Sixth Sense’. The movie is about a child psychologist who attempts to help a young boy who has the ability to see the dead, he is mentally traumatised by this ability. The revulsion factor within the film is the scene in which  the audience are able to visualise the explicit gorey dead people walking around everywhere. They are able to see what the boy is able to see. The horror element is presented in the scene in which the boy is exposed to a ghost female vomiting vigorously, followed by the revelation that her meal was poisoned by her own mother. The terror element in this movie is slightly different- it is the unsaid realisations that are suggested to the audience. These include the terror of regretting things that an individual never got to carry out due to deep regret, sorrow and emotional trauma. The realisation that it is too late now.


 King, S (2020). Danse Macabre. Retrieved from https://cpl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/Record/5394/Excerpt 

King, S. (2010) Danse Macabre.  

Nellan, D. (2017) Stephen King Breaks Down the Different Levels  of Horror https://www.avclub.com/stephen-king-breaks-down-the-different-levels-of-horror-1806112160

Week 7: Carroll (2003) and King (2010) discuss how the “monster” is a defining feature of a horror story. Using references, explain in your own words how a monster in horror differentiates from monsters in other popular genres.

In this blog post, I will be discussing Carroll (2003) and King (2010) and how the “monster” is a defining feature of a horror story. And how the monster in horror differentiates from monsters in other popular genres.

Monsters in horror go hand in hand with the horror stories they occupy as they often represent the embodiment of the other that the author expects their audience to fear. As Stephen King writes about when horror is most popular “these periods almost always seem to coincide with periods of serious economic and/or political strain, and the books and films seem to reflect those free-floating anxieties,” (king,1981). As horror uses the monster as a defining feature it only makes sense that the monster reflects the strain in the population. We see this during the inquisition where those early horror stories reflected the Vatican imagery of the horned devil and witches as they “used it as a tool to scare the masses into submission, or as propaganda to perpetuate various inquisitions,” (Jones, 2020). It is seen again as the monster evolves to fit a less tangible enemy as it evolves into a haunted house during the American 70’s mortgage, class and equity crisis (Jones, 2020) and expands its terrifying reach as it evolved into whole villages as the folk horror as Christian societies expressed their fear of Christianity losing its grip on the population (Jones,2020).

 The monster in horror never becomes anything other than their fear-inducing otherness to those who fear them. This is because the fear they represent is a fear that followed its audience out of the viewing of the text (King, 1981). A good example of this I believe is the Addams family tv run (Lanfield, 1964) they appeared in a time of America’s history when the equal rights movement was seeing clear changes and the idea of having a neighbour that was different to you became ever more of a reality as the fair housing act was seen as the follow-up to the civil rights act (History.com editors, last updated July 10 2020). The Addams family expressed those fears, with each episode of the Addams family usually containing a new guest star, whether neighbour, teacher or salesman, interacting with them usually for the first time only to be frightened out of their wits (Lanfield, 1964). The Addams were the monsters and the protagonist so usually, you laugh at the thought that anyone could find them anything other than kind neighbours with some eccentricity. Yet throughout this horror-comedy at no point does a guest, apart from those already apart of their eccentricity, ever see them as you the viewer. They remain monsters to the point that in one episode the traditional sitcom villains, the robbers, would rather luck their chances outside at being caught by the cops than stay any longer in the Addams mansion (Lanfield, 1964). This is where I believe monsters in horror and monsters in other popular genres begin to differentiate.

In the film franchise the terminator one could make an argument that the T-800 is a great example of a monster his unfeeling he is honestly near unstoppable and indestructible and yet terminator 2 has him change sides and fight to protect the child he attempted to stop from being born in the first one(Cameron, & Wisher, 1991). The monster changing sides is something that can’t occur in horror because in the outside world for the audience that is something that can’t occur. Rather horror movies often reveal that what you thought was the monster wasn’t that all along. We see this in the tv series Lovecraft country’s episode  Holy Ghost main characters Leti and Atticus confront the haunted house Leti has bought believing the murdered black victims are expressing their agony of not being able to leave only for the ghosts to help them in the end. But as the episode occurs the monster is revealed to be the white scientist who experimented on them, not themselves (Green, & Sackheim, 2020).

I conclude my post by saying the monster in horror differentiates itself from monsters in other genres because they never become anything other than their otherness to those who fear them.


Cameron, J (Dir, writ), & Wisher, W (Writ). (1991). Terminator 2: judgment day [Film; cinimas]. Carolco Pictures, Pacific Western, Lightstorm Entertainment, Le Studio Canal+.

Green, M (writ), Sackheim, D (writ). (2020). Holy ghost [Television]. Lovecraft Country. HBO.

History.com editors. (last updated July 10 2020). Black history milestones: timeline [Archive]. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-milestones

Jones ,N(Lect). (2020). A history of horror [lecture recording]. Auckland University of technology. https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_96250_1&content_id=_5273101_1&mode=reset

Jones ,N(Lect). (2020). A history of horror [lecture powerpiont]. Auckland University of technology. https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_96250_1&content_id=_5273101_1&mode=reset

King, S. (1981). Danse Macabre. New York: Everest House.

Lanfield, S (Dir). (1964). Halloween with the adams family [television]. The Adams Family. Metro-Golden-Mayer.

Week 7: Anastasia Shearer

Question 1: 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. These elements as classified by King in his book Danse Macabre, are terror, horror, and revulsion. King holds the element of terror with the highest regard, believing that if an author can do their part to imply the unknown they can leave the reader to conjure up something horrifying. King has been quoted to compare the feeling of terror with “when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…” (Regal, 2019, paras. 5).

‘A Quiet Place’ (Krasinski, 2018) uses the element of terror generously. In the film they have these blind extraterrestrial monsters that are hypersensitive to noise. It’s not until the very end of the film that the audience sees what these monsters look like and so a lot of terror is built through the techniques of silence and the intensity of the small moments of noise that happen upon accident. There’s a scene at the beginning of the film where the youngest child finds a battery powered toy. The parents take the toy away from him and remove the batteries to prevent any noise, but the sister feels guilty that he’s not having fun and gives the toy back to her brother. However, he takes the batteries and activates the toy and the tinny toy sound is somehow deafening in the surrounding silence. The father starts running towards the son but resounding footsteps start competing with the fathers own and before the audience knows it the boy is snatched away and the brief image of the monster is hard to understand.

King regards the element of horror as the second most important element. Horror occurs when an audience is exposed to something so horrifying and unimaginable that it invokes feelings of horror (Regal, 2019). In ‘A Quiet Place’ there are certainly many scenes that invoke these feelings. For example, there’s a scene where the main characters stumble upon a women’s body that has been mutilated by the monsters in an incomprehensible way. An older man is standing over her body crying and starts to scream in pain because he wants to die (Krasinski, 2018). This simple yet intense scene demonstrates feelings of such unimaginable desperation and horror in which none of us will hopefully ever experience.

Revulsion is the last element of Horror that King discusses. Simply put this element means to revolt the audience by using tactics such as an excessive amount of blood and gore (Regal, 2019). In Danse Macabre, King compares this to the ‘carny freaks’. He talks about a particular carny called the Geek who used to bite the head off live chickens whilst holding the still flapping now decapitated chicken in his other hand. It’s the urge to want to see something so revolting that there’s a component of something forbidden (King, 2010). In ‘A Quiet Place’ they have a scene in which a raccoon is making animal-like noises while walking through the cornfields, you see the monster’s arm come down on the raccoon and its body just explodes. Guts and blood are used to revolt the audience and further demonstrate the monsters freakish strength.

King, S. (2010). Danse macabre. Everest House.
Krasinski, J. (2018). A Quiet Place [film]. Platinum Dunes; Sunday Night Productions.
Regal. (2019, August 27). Stephen King’s 3 levels of horror. Regal Reel Blog. https://www.regmovies.com/static/en/us/blog/stephen-king-3-levels-of-horror

Week 7: Sia Caldwell

King’s (2010) three basic elements in reference to Korean horror film: Peninsula (2020)

Stephen King is a master mind behind horror fiction and one of his greatest abilities is that he can manifest the fear of the reader and create it into a work of fiction (Stobbart, 2017). King states in his book that “The good horror story about the Bad Place whispers that we are not locking the world out; we are locking ourselves in with them” (Rowe, 2019). King explained that there are three levels or elements known that produce a well written horror narrative in a novel or film that strikes fear in its audience. (Suderman, 2017).

The first level which is said to be the lowest of the three is the gross out. (Regal, 2019). This represents the parts of the narration that are gruesome, revolting and gag worthy when experienced by the audience/reader.

In the movie Peninsula (2020) The gross out is amongst the scene I identified as the Ship scene: South Korea is infested with a virus that creates zombies and so survivors escape to a large ship. One of the people are in infected in the lower cabins and kills, bites, infects the remaining people inside. People transform into zombies, their bones breaking back to front and they jump on others as if catching prey like a lion. The room is covered in blood, the snarls and sounds from the zombies and the way they look is terrifying.

The second level is the horror, initiating fear into the audience with something unbelievable or unnatural. (Regal, 2019). This could include sound, lighting, speed features or incredibly well thought camera angles within a film. This level is meant to put the audience in a mindset of struggle and make it difficult for them to comprehend what is going on. It looks for phobic pressure points. (Rowe, 2019).

In the movie Peninsula (2020) the horror I recognised was amongst the Arena scene:

A Korean man who was sent from Hong Kong to collect money from the zombie-invaded abandoned Korea is attacked by zombies and ambushed by unknown survivors. The man is taken to the base where the survivors are and is beaten, screamed at and treated like bait. The men write the number 61 on the front and back of his body in red spray paint and he is thrown into an arena with other captured men where they fight for their lives against zombies for 2 minutes. This scene was disgusting to watch as the men outside of the arena appeared to be animals, they were more hostile and threatening than the zombies.

Finally, the third and worst level is the terror, the reader or audience is provoked into using their own imagination to grasp what might happen and what is there. (Regal, 2019). Terror exploits the way the human mind in a physiological way. (Suderman, 2017).

This element gives the audience control to visualise what they believe the unknown is. This is the most terrifying as the individual will picture something that is truly petrifying to themselves. King states that terror is the most interesting yet hardest to execute appropriately making the audience/reader feel a tense sense of discomfort. (Fables, 2018).

In the movie Peninsula (2020), I believe the terror was represented through the suspense and survival scenes. The suspense was repetitively terrifying because I didn’t know where and when the zombies would jump out at the camera. The fight for survival and the relentless horrifying obstacles that refrained the survivors from being saved constantly gave me the chills. Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy horrors myself and the timing of Covid19 and watching this movie truly provoked me to imagine disturbing zombie outbreak endings for us here in New Zealand and to me this was terror. 

Ultimately, the three elements are needed to create an authentic horror narration. The gross-out, the horror and the terror all contribute to creating fear, chaos, turmoil, disease, loss and disarray to the reader or audience. In Kings book he explains, “I recognize terror as the finest emotion…and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find I cannot terrify him/her, I will try to horrify; and if I find I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.” (Rowe, 2019).

Reference List:

Duran, M. (2016, October 31). The Real Horror of Lovecraft’s Cosmicism. Retrieved September 06, 2020, from https://www.mikeduran.com/2016/10/31/the-real-horror-of-lovecrafts-cosmicism/

Fables, J. (2018). R/horror – Terror, Horror, Grossout – Thoughts on Stephen King’s 3 layers of horror? Retrieved September 06, 2020, from https://www.reddit.com/r/horror/comments/8vjucp/terror_horror_grossout_thoughts_on_stephen_kings/

Kim, Y. (Producer), & Yeon, S. (Writer/Director). (2020). Peninsula [Motion picture]. South Korea: Next Entertainment World.

King, S. (2010). Danse Macabre. Everest House.

Regal. (2019, August). Stephen King’s 3 Levels of Horror. Retrieved September 06, 2020, from https://www.regmovies.com/static/en/us/blog/stephen-king-3-levels-of-horror

Rowe, B. (2019, May 11). Why Stephen King’s ‘Danse Macabre’ is the Ultimate Love Letter to Horror. Retrieved September 06, 2020, from https://medium.com/read-watch-write-repeat/why-stephen-kings-danse-macabre-is-the-ultimate-love-letter-to-horror-282e455c8f27

Stobbart, D. (2020, July 20). Stephen King: A master of horror who finds terror in the everyday. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://theconversation.com/stephen-king-a-master-of-horror-who-finds-terror-in-the-everyday-83758

Suderman, P. (2017, February 07). Stephen King’s hierarchy of scares remains the best explanation of how horror movies work. Retrieved September 06, 2020, from https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/2/7/14492124/stephen-king-rings-horror-movie-scares