How are the fiction genres of suspense, horror and thriller both similar and different?
Using flash fiction, I have been experimenting with the genre, horror, lately. I have come to recognize that horror, suspense and thriller genres seem to overlap/blend or otherwise invade one another's space. Feel free to approach the question however you want, i.e. define each, compare, contrast. Is there a single element that sets horror aside form the others? Thanks for participating in this question.
Mostly they do overlap but as we all know horror can get more gruesome than suspense and thriller. I think suspense should keep us on the edge of the seat more than the others, and thriller can take from the other two and add its own elements. Today's "horror" films are much different than the old time Frakenstein and Dracula, think Nightmare on Elm Street. A good suspense/thriller, again going back in time would be Gaslight.
Suspense is very similar to thriller. They pretty much overlap to me. I would say there is a difference. Suspense is more artistic, classier than thriller (think Alfred Hitchcock). Suspense is designed for you to think. Suspense is a buildup not a 30 seconds roller-coaster ride. A thriller is more pulling out the stop signs to thrill the audience. Its more about twists and turns and excitement rather than a build up.
Horror can include elements of suspense and thriller (I would say generally horror is closer to a thriller than a suspense). I think horror is a genre all by itself (of course there is overlap though). With suspense and thriller, the plots and story-lines can be totally believable (even if fiction). While a lot of horror movies though entertaining, most the plots and story-lines are not believable at all (ever heard of The Gingerdead Man .... if you have Netflix, look at it, if you don't its a low-budget horror movie about a killer gingerbread man). Horror will do whatever it takes to frighten (or try to) its audience. Excessive violence, gore, nudity, etc. Its all about how its done. Usually zombie/vampire/getting hunt down by monster freaks horror movies are more in line with thrillers (rollercoaster movie). Supernatural/Ghost/haunted house/exorcist horror movies are usually more suspenseful)
It is very difficult to separate them, but I think horror always deals with either the concept of "other", or with types of transgression (pretty broad, I know).
Suspense is a tool which is used in both horror and thriller and becomes a genre in its own right when it becomes the dominate theme.
Thriller is something that I find hard to define but recognise when I see it. Usually it has many of the same features of horrors but the transgressions tend to be more social or legal, and the "other" is understandable - fro example Norman Bates in Psycho is a definite example of "other" in a character but he is also relatable in that he has been created through family and social issues. While when we see Jason in Friday the 13th his motivations are not recognisable to us.
Probably not very helpful, now I read it back.
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