Friday, December 4, 2009

TODAY'S 2nd NUGGET: Horror Requires Psychology

Longtime readers know that I read lots of horror scripts b/c they translate overseas.

Horror isn't my favorite genre, but after reading bunches of horror scripts, I have a real appreciation for the Stephen King level of mastery.

Today I read a Misery wannabe, but it failed to explain the psychology of the characters, which King does so well. (Mind you, I don't have to approve of the psychology...I just need to understand it.)

In this script, the male & female leads are trapped in a house with a terrifying version of Annie Wilkes. This script begins with promise of a bloody battle, which it delivers. But it fails to be emotionally satisfying.

I peered inside with my script laryngoscope, and found that this one lacks an antagonist that is layered with Annie's desire to be needed and wanted. (This is what Paul Sheldon uses to get to Annie and eventually triumph over her. )

Here, the antagonist does not engage in psychological cat and mouse that raises fears, releases, raises more fears, releases. Thus, the only thing the leads can do is use brute force to fight the woman. Frankly, it's as boring as watching a jackhammer pummel concrete.

Where's the challenge to my mind? Where's the anticipation and the drawn out suspense? Pass.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Stephen King doesn't just make your skin crawl with mind's eye visuals, but he has a free-for-all inside your head. Copy that.

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