Two of my favorite genres in film and literature: history and horror. They both contain enough blood, suffering, and brutality that could make the devil cry for mercy (the latter is if its made properly anyways). Horror has long been associated as somewhat of a “fictional” genre. Ghosts, serial killers, demons, and so on. Only recently with the “based on a true story” tag from some current horror films has the general masses started to look into the real stories that inspired the masked killers and monsters of our beloved films.
The recent horror/suspense film, The Witch (2015), has brought historical accounts to a modern horror audience. The story of a puritan family banished to the surrounding woods with the fears of God and the legends of a local witch who lures daughters into lives of freedom and heathenry. I personally enjoyed that film because it captured the fears those puritans had at that time period; they were afraid of witches, but they were even more afraid of displaying obscenity and infidelity towards God. Perhaps I am nitpicky towards historical accuracy, but I think the historical context especially matters for this film as much as the characters.
Before I stray into a full movie review, I’d like to point out that history is full of wars, genocides, and other moments of evil for trivial if not completely ridiculous reasons. Perhaps its this dubious quality of history that draws modern horror writers away from historical periods. Maybe history is just boring to them as much as it is to many modern readers. I’d say so if the majority of horror films now consist of jump-scares set in upper-middle class homes in suburbia. Where are the insane asylums? The haunted mansions that are hidden in some deep forest? The zombies from some forsaken war? (On that note, I’d pay good money to see a compelling film set in Italy with Cosa Nostra mafia zombies.)
Of course there are good exceptions to this hideous truth. Get Out (2017) is an obvious choice and even incorporates some of the elements of America’s sudden obsession with social justice and racism new deeply embedded with the cultures of millennials.
Stories should taking more examples from history. I sure am trying to. After all, even the current events of today can be considered history. Including events that have not received much exposure in the media…
Follow my blog for more updates on my writing and other rants such as this!