This week: Romantic HorrorEdited by: Lonewolf
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Horror and romance are not genres that are often thought of together. Romance is generally written for women while horror for men, but both horror and romance are a part of life and many great horror stories use romance to build tension.
Romance as Control
One of the earliest examples of 'Romance' in horror is Dracula. The vampire at its most horrible is a seductive creature able to control people through emotions. One of the reasons this is so scary is because it is not easy to understand. When people are in love they do not think straight. They tend to make decisions that they would never make while single. The idea that love is blind is a very valuable idea to expand upon while telling a story.
Love as a Driving Force
One of the things that is often needed in horror is a reason for someone to do something that would otherwise be very stupid. Love is the perfect choice for this. Having the protagonists lover disappear is one possibility but not always the best. Perhaps the romantic interest has become a monster and the hero must try to defeat it or perhaps they have a disease which forces the protagonist into situations he or she would otherwise never go into.
Love Makes you Vulnerable
Being in love with someone means that there are now two people that you have to protect and protecting other people is often harder. This can give the protagonist a reason not to simply flee the situation. In addition, threatening the loved one may in some ways be worse than threatening the protagonist. There are a lot of other ways to explore this vulnerability as well and all of them can be explored better in horror than in almost any other genre.
Love is Scary
One of the most important things in horror is not knowing. Anyone who has heard anyone explain anything about the movie Jaws knows that the reason it was scary is because you didn't see the shark. Love can be a shark. How do you know that someone is really in love with you and not lying. The fear that you may be controlled, manipulated, or that they simply do not love you is always scary and horror can use this.
Romance is one of the most vulnerable and scary things that people put themselves through. Using that in your horror can give you a lot of of value. Whether it is a monster that makes a person fall in love, or the simple drive of being in love, they can all do a great job of making horror story seem both more real and more scary.
Excerpt of Mimosa:
Reese pressed the girl against the rough brick in the alley, laughing when she did, pressing his mouth against hers, tasting the lingering flavor of the liquor she'd consumed earlier that evening. A soft rain fell, and her flaxen hair hung around her shoulders in sopping waves, while he remained dry. Her scant clothing clung to her curvy body, and already he could hear the ebb and flow of her blood pulsing through her veins. He nipped her bottom lip catching her moan in his mouth, tasting for an instant how sweet her blood would be. Reese pulled away, his tongue flicking at the wound once, before he met her eyes, glassy and small in her intoxication. A small smile played over his full lips.
Excerpt of Hour of the Beast:
Her feral eyes snapped open. Bright moonbeams slithered over bare skin. She felt her lover's breath across her back - her hackles rose. He's so near, her beast thought, it would be easy. Her fingertips tingled as her nails grew into claws. Her senses sharpened - she could smell his flesh. Her mouth watered lustfully.
Excerpt of Come To The Window:
Walking past the late night revelers and the bakers and waiters headed to their pre-dawn jobs, he traveled into one of the discarded areas of the city and slipped into the old house he claimed as his own. Usually Gary quickly fell asleep in the morning. He partied hard enough to wear himself out and vicariously imbibed enough mind numbing alcohol and other drugs to knock him out. For some reason sleep eluded him this Saturday morning. It was Saralyn. It was the game they played when she wouldn't let him into her apartment. Tonight he felt cold and lonely. He wanted her, or at this exact moment, any human's warmth, but particularly a woman's beside him. He wanted their smell and the life throbbing within them.
Excerpt of Dark Side Of The Moon:
Eyes the color of ancient glaciers surveyed the inkiness of night while he sauntered effortlessly through the cobbled streets, the stealth-like quality of each measured step matching that of his partner.
Silently, they combed the city's darkened corners for those whose hearts and souls were as rotted as the rancid stench in which they dwelt. His companion paused, breathing the cooling air of true dark. A smile crept across her face, causing her eyes to match the intensity of his until they burned with the fervor of a zealot.
He'd smelled it first; however, he always liked to watch her eyes shine when she picked up a scent. He loved her eyes, especially when they glistened as raindrops caught in a fathomless pool of watery death.
Excerpt of Scare Tactics VI:
Ian felt a sting, saw the horror in Margaret's face, and held out a hand to show her it was all right. The hand was covered in blood along with his plaid and kilt. He suddenly felt light-headed and heard Margaret's voice from seemingly far away, screaming his name. He realized then what was happening. The thought flitted through his mind that he'd expected it to be more painful. He focused in on Margaret trying to tell her it was not so bad. He opened his mouth to speak but only a strange gurgling sound came out. He fell to his knees. Margaret was on her knees too, clutching at him and whispering over and over that she loved him. He slipped sideways onto the sand eyes staring up into the fog.
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