Horror Is like Hot Sauce, Here’s Why
Games with horror elements, and horror movies themselves are great, and add some much needed spice to your life. Let me explain.
So you’ve got a slice of pizza in front of you… and it’s a really good looking, steaming, tasty slice if pizza.
You take a bite, and it’s good – really good. You take another bite and it’s still as good as before. A few bites in you remember that, hey, I have forgot I’ve still got some of that hot sauce in the pantry, and you go and get it. You put a few drops of the hot sauce on your slice and take a bite.
You didn’t think that this amazing slice of pizza could get any better… but guess what, it just did! You put a few more drops on to spice things up that little bit more and finish up the slice. So good.
Is it feeling chilli in here?
You grab another slice; you’re ready for more. You get distracted though and forget to put the hot sauce on and when you take that next bite… it’s… just not as good. Wait, how could this be? Those first few bites were so good, how can this great slice suddenly be so boring to my taste buds?
I feel the exact same way about horror. It adds spice to your entertainment, from gaming to films. Sure it’s not welcome everywhere and all the time, but sometimes I think that horror just makes any damn genre better.
The Haunting of Hill House is an amazing example of what can be achieved when Horror and a good Drama work together.
Do you like ‘This is Us’? Add some hot sauce and you’ve got The Haunting of Hill House; Mmmm, mmmm good. Like shooting stuff in games? Gears of War of war added a horror element to spice things up just right. Action-RPG? Bloodborne‘s world is absolutely terrible and a place I’d never wanna set foot in, but it makes for a hell of a video game setting and adds a level of suspense and intrigue you just wouldn’t get playing the same genre in a wonderful fairytale land.
Do I even need to talk about what Alien did to Sci-Fi? Long story short: we got Event Horizon, Dead Space and a whole lot of other really great things as a result. Thank you, Ridley Scott.
Glen Schofield, the game director and creator of Dead Space said something I found to be so profound in an mini-doc/interview with Ars Technica about Dead Space, while speaking about the influence that Resident Evil 4 had on him, saying:
“The mood… was impressive sometimes, but it was dreadful but I was… I dunno I just got caught up in it. I was always worried about what was around the corner, but I always wanted to see what was around the corner.”
Horror forces you to engage with the material, whether you’re watching or playing. It adds that extra layer to the experience that gives you a good reason to fight, or to root for the protagonist/s. It’s not just about being the hero who is gonna save the day, there’s something special about fighting for nothing but your own skin; something we can all relate to.
Dead Space scared the living hell out of me, but remains one of my favourite horror games of all time.
Actually, Spice Is The Spice of Life
Something doesn’t have to completely *be* a Horror to benefit from it. I just love what it brings to the flavour.
This entire thought is brought to you by spending a lot of my lockdown with people in my household that don’t appreciate the fine art of soiling your own pants in a dark room while eating popcorn. I realised that after a while I was struggling to get what I wanted out of my movie choices. I mean, they weren’t bad pizza slices – err, I mean movies, it’s just that something was missing. I needed some more horror in my life.
I find it interesting how different people have a capacity to manage different kinds of scary experiences. I, for one, can handle watching Horror way easier than I can playing it.
That’s simply because I’m not the one in danger, the character in the movie is. When it comes to games though, I’m the one who has to respond and for that reason, I get hella nervous because it’s like, me who is dying. I have a close friend who is the exact opposite and hates watching horror specifically because he isn’t in control, and cant’ react or take control of the situation.