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Don't fear the cliches!

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Posted 5th August 2009 at 12:35 PM by Peter Neal

"Originality is very overrated". Is that thought utter blasphemy for a writer...? I don't think so, depending of course on what your goal in writing really is.
Cliches...horror fans throughout the www know them by heart and love to complain about them in various reviews and debates- yet they seem to be magically attracted to any new slasher-, backwoods-, torture porn flick coming along, though years of watching movies should have told them by now that they'll be once again in for more of the same- just as with last week's rental, as with their upcoming horror DVD buys!
So what is it with fans and stellar genre conventions?
Why are we struggling with them while they're simultanously drawing us towards them?
Why do we feel the need to look down on them while they're secretly exactly what we actually need, what makes us coming back to the same kinds of movies over and over and over again?
Horror movies are fairy tales for adults... and as the princess will always get saved by the poor, but clever "ordinary guy", who'll become in return a king in his own right, the virginal heroine of the slasher movie will always find a way to escape the knife wielding, masked psychopath at the very last minute- at least until the next sequel, when she'll get replaced by another almost identical character.
Cliches indeed....but cliches are FAMILIARITY.
Familiarity gives us a cosy feeling of safety, the same feeling we had when our mother read us the same tale night by night before shutting down the lights.
It's the reason why people get hooked on franchises, TV series...and also horror sub genres. More of the same in a slightly different dressing...that's what we're secretly after, that's what'll make us forget our everyday worries, the feeling/hint that there's a fateful order to things, at least in our entertainment.
Looking at the times we're living in, the brief illusion of familiarity has become even more important.
We know what'll happen when a lead character in a "Saw" movie has reached the final room- yes, yet another clever twist!
We know that the heirs of Laurie Strode- despite not being that prudish any more- will always outsmart the Leatherface/Jason/Michael Myers- substitutes of the 21st century.

So, if you ask me, there's no need at all in getting TOO original, as all those cliches have their rightful place in our horror fan psyche.
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  1. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    I finally just sent out twitter links to this

    I had problems before because of those Russian Hackers shutting down Twitter, the wee scamps
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    Posted 11th August 2009 at 07:00 AM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Peter Neal's Avatar
    Thanks a lot, Sam!

    It would be also interesting to read people's thoughts on what they might like to hear a bit more about concerning (script)writing, though I already have a few more ideas for upcoming blog entires...
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 12th August 2009 at 07:59 AM by Peter Neal Peter Neal is offline
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