Terror vs Horror

by juliusmsanz

Yesterday I got to watch an old favorite: Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

It brought back some nice memories and inspired me today to speak about the not so subtle differences between terror and horror.

They are completely different things. Terror is more about anxiety and distress, it’s about feeling scared and more than scared. Horror revolves around disgust and shock, it’s about feeling disgusted with something. If you watch a movie where blood flows every minute and people are mutilating themselves then you are watching a horror movie. It wants you to feel disgusted and sick and nauseous. But if you watch a movie where you know something bad is going to happen, but it takes the time to set everything right to scare you to death, then you are watching a terror movie. You see, terror is all about you finishing the movie and feeling scared about a situation similar to what’s happened in the movie. It wants you to feel dread and anxiety. The fear goes with you.

Let me give you an example:

A few years ago I had the chance to watch Hostel. If you didn’t see it, then I’m sorry but I’ll have to spoil it. Hostel is a great example of a potential great terror movie turned into an average horror movie. Let’s leave the racial remarks aside. Some youngsters go out and decide to travel across Europe if I’m not mistaken, and after arriving in some eastern european country some bad things start to happen. They run into a human selling and torturing ring and suffer the consequences. Why can this movie be terrifying? Because it can scare you, telling you not to go to Europe. Shady things happen, people get kidnapped, people get killed. It’s scary, it can make people second guess themselves into not travelling abroad. Travelling is great by the way, it’s a very unique experience that can enrich you beyond belief.

And then it turns into a horror film because it shows graphic violence without even thinking about it. I can remember the scene of the girl with her eye out. That’s gruesome to say the least, and then the girl kills herself after seeing her reflection. It’s shocking. Did the movie need that to be more scary? No. It just wanted to make you sick.

Terror is all about subtlety, Horror is the exact opposite. There are plenty of horror films out there, but no so many terror films. I find it harder and harder to be truly scared and let my imagination run wild from the scare as time goes on. When I was a child things were different. I remember grabbing all my toys and locking them because I was scared they would come to life and maybe attack me.

Anyways this is it for now, later I’ll have to properly thank some people who nominated me for some awards, do some nominations myself and share some things about me.

Have a nice day!