Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay's blog

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Dream Horror

There is an inevitability to sleep that makes it frightening in a way that most real-world fears can never quite match. Sharks can be scary, but you can always stay out of the water, and you’re never required to go camping or participate in a séance with your friends. But sleep… that’s an inevitability to which everyone eventually succumbs.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Humans Hunting Humans Horror

Humans love to stalk, to hunt, to devour. Many of the advancements humanity has found in the world have their roots in the desire to overpower another: weaponry, medicine, knowledge, these are all achievements which place humanity at the top of a quickly narrowing pyramid of superiority. We want nothing more than to know that we are at the top of the food chain.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Nazi Horror

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a bad guy that everyone can hate. In horror, you often want people to root for one person or group and against another, and it becomes troublesome to create three-dimensional villains that have real-life motivations and reasons for the awful things they do. When faced with a situation like that, one of the tried and true solutions is to bring in the Nazis.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: WITCHCRAFT HORROR

Women are mysterious; even in our enlightened and educated times, the modern male is aware of the imbalance between the sexes. Women are the ones who give birth to the next generation of life, giving them the driver’s seat when it comes to biology. Women have instincts and emotions that exist beyond the obvious and pragmatic awareness that most males tend to exist with on a day-to-day basis, which some call women’s intuition, and some mistakenly confuse as “being too emotional”.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Underwater Horror

The more advanced and civilized humanity becomes, the less equipped we are to protect and defend ourselves without the civilization and the technological advances. The world itself seems to be aware of our inherent weakness and actively tries to confine us in the narrow window where we can survive; gravity keeps us out of the cold vacuum of space, and buoyancy keep us out of the crushing depths of the ocean. Constantly being pushed down from the sky and up from the water, and we still have the audacity to consider ourselves the superior species.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: SURGICAL/MEDICAL HORROR

Though the study and practice of medicine has been around since the beginnings of human civilization, it is only within the past 150 years that the medical field has made its most groundbreaking and world-changing discoveries and advancements. We’ve learned what germs are, what they do, and how to destroy them; we’ve discovered DNA sequencing and the secrets of genetic coding; and we’ve advanced the act of surgery, once a desperate battlefield choice likely to kill the patient, to an outpatient procedure that people can volunteer for when they don’t like the shape of their noses.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Theatrical Performance Horror

In a theatrical performance, there is an obvious deception that is accepted by both the audience and the performers. On a stage seventy-five feet wide with a fake sunset painted on a backdrop and plywood castle walls dressed in colored construction paper, the audience must be willing to buy into the blatant fantasy that is Hamlet’s Denmark. The performers accept it as well, altering their natural voice and body to the over-enunciation, volume, and broad gestures necessary for the performance to reach the back of the theater.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Western Horror

Isolation and loneliness are often at the heart of any situation that instills irrational fear in humanity, and nothing is more isolated and lonely than the untamed American West. With hundreds of lawless miles in-between outposts of civilization, a single human being is at constant threat from rough terrain, weather, and both animal and human predators. When he finds himself dehydrated, starving, lost, or injured, he becomes imprisoned by that distance; it is claustrophobia in the world’s biggest locked room.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Subway Horror

Humanity’s love/hate relationship with the subterranean world has existed since the dawn of time. The caves that ancient man hid in to escape his predators were the same foreboding places that remained in darkness, even during daytime. The fertile soil that grew crops to feed them eventually became their resting place in death. It seems appropriate that we would still find ourselves looking over our shoulder in fear as we head underground for the convenience of mass transit.

Horror By the Sub-Genres: Redneck Horror

Ed. Note: BGH welcomes Chris and Kathleen, who are embarking on a project to explore the many hidden corners of the horror world in the new series: Horror by the Sub-Genre

In 1972, British director John Boorman created the grand-daddy of all redneck horror films, “Deliverance”. Though its subject matter was distinctly American, it was perfectly appropriate that a man from a country almost two thousand years old would remind us that we, at the time barely on the cusp of our two hundredth birthday, were not quite as civilized as we would like to think.

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