Horror movies continue to be a staple on cinema screens and television on-demand queues. Audiences can’t seem to get enough of these films. So screenwriters continue to write them.
Horror films must still follow the tropes of good screenplays in order to be successful. They need to take the audience on an emotional journey. By experiencing a range of emotions associated with horror films, audiences face their demons and eventually overcome them.
Let’s take a look a look at some of the major emotions explored in horror screenwriting:
Is a final and absolute departure of someone, forcing another character to face danger alone. The recipient feels isolated, discarded, useless and incapable of being loved or being a vital part of a team.
Is an acute feeling of emotional or physical distress and suffering. It is often associated with knowing that someone has to do something terrible to survive.
Is a sharp statement of concern about a situation. It is characterized by physiological responses such as drumming fingers, pacing and rapid breathing.
This is an uneasy sensation of imaginary creatures crawling on one’s skin. It’s associated with “hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.”
Is a crushing feeling of defeat. It is signaled by a loss of hope of overcoming a predicament or a situation ever improving.
This is an intense fear or apprehension caused by a clear and present danger or an anticipated one.
Is a response to current and impending danger; both physical and psychological. Fear creates various physiological responses such as elevated body temperature, sweatiness, raised blood pressure, paralysis and a pit in our stomachs.
Is the lingering heaviness that accompanies death and bereavement.
Is an uncontrollable burst of emotions characterized by irrational screaming, cackling, crying and shouting.
A profound sadness experienced when something or someone is abruptly taken away from somebody else.
This is a heightened neurological response to impending or perceived danger. It is typified by physical responses such as twitching, covering one’s face.
Panic is a sudden overwhelming agitation that blocks rational or logical thinking. It is based on an inability to respond to a danger whether it’s actual or perceived.
These are irrational and uncharacteristic words or actions designed to relieve somebody of emotional stress.
Is a short, sharp emotional response to a recent terrifying or traumatic event.
This is a result of excessive and protracted emotional pressure due to an external threat. It is characterized by high levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the bloodstream. Physical manifestations include loss of sleep, rapid heartbeat, deep breathing, inability to think rationally and incoherent speech.
Surprises are generally negative in horror films. They refer to a temporary state of being startled or astonished by unexpected or unforeshadowed events.
These are provocative, callous statements made by the perpetrator designed to invoke an angry response. They are insulting, demoralizing and humiliating.
Is a mental state caused by overstimulation and psychological strain. It is often depicted by uncomfortable silence or incessant talking.
A generalized feeling of agitation, alarm and fear.
This is a relentless form of psychological or physical abuse. It is defined by severe embarrassment, nuisance and discomfort.