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Senior Essay

1331 words - 6 pages

As the main topic suggests, what are the types of horrors associated with media? First off, you might want to think about what your definition of fear is, what unsettles you, and what rubs you the wrong way. Well according to Stephen King, this can be broken down into three types; which is the gross-out, horror, and terror. The gross-out in this case is what it is. It’s things we as humans find disgusting, morbid, or diseased. To provide an example; picture yourself waking up in your bed, all seems normal right? You then look around and notice a severed torso sitting on your computer chair. Morbid right? Onto the next type which is horror. Stephen King places the supernatural under this ...view middle of the document...

Whilst differing from the other two horror types, psychological horror works more on a mental level. Instead of relying on things such as gore or a quick scare to terrify the audience, psychological horror makes use of the conscious and subconscious elements. A good example of psychological horror in video game form would be Silent Hill 2; which focuses on the main protagonist emotional and mental stability. Silent Hill 2 which was produced by Team Silent focuses on our main protagonist James Sunderland as he ventures into the mysterious town named “Silent Hill” to meet his wife at their special place after receiving a letter from.; the thing is though is that his wife has been dead for quite few years now. Questioning his sanity own sanity, he still sought out the reason to why he had received the letter. From the beginning it's rather evident that James is not in the right state of mind and becomes steadily unreliable, to the point where his sanity is questioned. This becomes more apparent as the story continues when the letter he received from his deceased wife slowly disappears. To back this claim of James not being as sane as he appears, let’s take into account the monsters he has killed throughout the game. They emit very human like screams. Mixing this in with our main protagonists falling mental health, can we assume this isn’t some elaborate mental breakdown formed by James? Can we just assume the monsters he’s killed so far actually real... or are they actually real people? This is what we generally define as psychological horror. The ambiguity that clouds the characters, their mental state as the driving point for the narrative, the dark realities that we can face, etc…

Moving away from the psychological aspect of horror games let’s get into the remaining genre, which is survival horror. Though technically a sub-genre to the larger genres of action/adventure games, survival horror’s purpose was to introduce the general matters and themes of horror fiction while featuring the vulnerability of a poorly equipped avatar. Offered with few ways to defend themselves as well as limited supplies, the genre truly emphasized on pure survival, doing whatever it takes to survive. Given this sense of vulnerability, this allows the horror aspect to work more effectively in unsettling or scaring players. This is used in full effect when combined with the overall setting and atmosphere of the game. A good example of this would be again, Silent Hill 2. With the theme presented as an internal conflict, the game is heavily reliant in using the survival horror controllers as a catalyst for the scares presented in the game. Making use of the camera control feature implemented into the game, the camera itself tries to hover over behind James’ head in a third person...

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