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Horror Storytelling / Horror Art

In artworks, books, comics, movies, streaming series, television shows, and scripted podcast fiction episodes, elements of horror storytelling have inner workings that can be explored. You just need to know what to look for to increase your awareness of how tales of horror work.

The horror genre uses storytelling and visual art which has the deliberate goal of pleasing an audience specifically by scaring or shocking or thrilling or emotionally and potentially sexually arousing them.

This podcast series has an official name of “Taboo Truths and Tales” because the topics or subject matter in the episodes are identified as being taboo. This simply means what you hear in the podcast episodes is considered by certain segments of society to be excessively controversial, replusive, offensive, sacred, profane, untouchable, and only allowed for a select few. See a listing of horror theme podcast episodes.

beheaded by drug gang members

A Focus Upon Male Characters Only

The topics or subjects in the horror storytelling and horror art involve precise tactics in fictional storytelling which depict male characters interacting with other male characters.

dead cowboy

This podcast series has a clear target of audience—males and females who for various reasons consider it appealing or even arousing sexually to pay attention to images and stories of men interacting with other men in storytelling about men in peril or jeopardy or danger or serious risk. See a listing of horror theme podcast episodes.

Basic Inner Workings

Here are the inner workings: In the storytelling and the art presented in podcast episodes there needs to be a central character or a lead character in the story. The need involves having a horror tale which focuses upon a human (or perhaps a non-human) to which the audience can relate and share from afar in the experiences and challenges unveiled in the story. An essential storytelling element is some specific conflict with which the main focus character faces. Often that conflict requires the storyteller to create a memorable environment or atmosphere or setting that the audience will not soon forget.

drowning man

The second need is for someone or something (not necessarily a living being) that brings challenges or obstacles to the situations in the story with which the main focus character must overcome. To work as a horror genre story there are no fixed requirements to include vampires, warewolves or zombies, but these three specific types of predatory creatures are readily found in storytelling that can be traced back many decades to the earliest horror themed books and movies.

A third horror tale element is the backstory of the main focus character and the source of the challenges or obstacles. Even a very short horror tale must take a minimal amount of time to present crucial background details that are intended to give the audience emotional anchorage to the story being told. There should be clearly-expressed or deeply understood rules within which the story takes place even if the storyteller chooses to bend or break those rules.

image from 'Thief of Eggs' podcast episode

Many (though not all) horror tales and horror artworks are built around specific and clearly-threatening aspects of physical or mental pain and suffering. Many (though not all) horror tales and horror artworks also depict particular physical or mental violence. Storytelling components that depict pain, suffering, and violence can work well in fictional tales that are set in the past, present or future, in science fiction and fantasy, or in what most people would recognize as ordinary, everyday life.

No matter what else is true, for a horror tale or horror artworks to succeed with the audience, there must be clear-cut outcomes advanced by storytelling elements which each audience member processes in their minds as personally frightening or scary or terrifying or greatly upsetting or to be feared. This explains why cannibalism, dismemberment, imprisonment, kidnapping, rape, or torture can readily be found throughout the horror genre.

Suspense or surprise or mystery may be essential for the storyteller to successfully depict what audience members are in their minds supposed to process as personally frightening or scary or terrifying or greatly upsetting or to be feared.

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