I have known since forever that I hate horror. Well maybe hate is a too much of extreme. Immense discomfort.
With growing experience -- and hope for the wisdom, my mind come to acclimate to it. Also since my permanent housemate is a fan of horror, with great storyline I might add. Scrap the stories with redundant scenes just to fill up time quota. What's the point, right? A good writer know the purpose of every event that unravels. A good audience know how to appreciate such one by dissecting each. A fan...well, they know how to concoct new theories that underline such event, adding layers upon layers below.
Recently I receive a personal challenge to write a horror story. Inspired by the success of Modern Prometheus a.k.a. Frankenstein's Monster, I wish to enter a contest, knowing how bad I would be. But a good challenge was never easy. I realized something. Zilch knowledge in the genre yield to run around. I know one day my act of nurturing the fear will haunt me.
So by following advice on how picture make everything looks mighty fine, not really but that's a great blog entry, perhaps, I made the above infographic. Took me three days. Distraction from the dateline of contest and NanoWrimo Camp. Sigh, me and my obsession. Hopefully this infographic helps someone out there one day. Just like it did me.
Let me explain,
Horror, or many who claim another words for it, Dark Fiction. Sounds less...cheap maybe? With the saturation of pitiful excuse of fiction -- working with bodily fluid desensitize me from icky feeling of blood, and unmentionable secretion -- poor horror has gone through much.
Horror or Dark Fiction generally has 5 main Sub-Genre : Cross Genre, Supernatural/Paranormal, Historical, Apocalyptic, and Psychological.
Let's dive into each one.
CROSS GENRE is one that have the most subsub and a most of time is its own genre; as the name suggested, it is horror imbued with other type of Fiction.
Dark Fantasy overlap with the whole Supernatural thing and to add to that, of course Fantasy. Newest trend included YA, specifically dystopian society with pre, post, and around apocalypse. Unsurprising with amount of Supernatural elements and growing number YA-apocalypse, this subsub has gotten so vast that it's soon promoted into its own subgenre
Comedy horror (some are very particular between Comedy-horror vs Horror-comedy with determining question of which is more dominant). Some are spoofs while the newest trend is to mix splatter with dark humor/black comedy overlap.
Erotic/Ero-vampire mixed in sexuality with emphasis on graphic or violence, and some vampires.
Western doesn't just includes typical haunting. Magical realism and American gothic also add the tension. Even the subsub that somewhat modern such as aliens began to pop up. Who said only Egyptian horror got ancient aliens?
Religious uses of various icons and mythology, especially the angels and demons, thus overlap with Supernatural - hauntings, and Fantasy.
Dark Mystery/Noir, which is french for black hence the bleak nuance is crime/detective genre + horror. Mostly if not all set in an urban environment underworld of crime and moral ambiguity of sleuths.
YA, the overgrown, popular, easily become a favorite subsub. Although aimed at a teen market, with teen to college age characters, recently had gain followers from adult audience. The complex characters that recently found up the ante for this subsub. It might even become its own subgenre, but don't hold your breath and safety on it. In the world of horror, anything and anyone, goes.
Sci-Fi with a darker, more violent twist and of course who would forget our dear old abducter and all around galaxy invaders, aliens. On the olden days, SF horror could be mixed in together with Historical - gothic with mad scientists, or horrific experiments. These days could include YA or Apocalyptic.
Last in this Sub is Dark suspense, when the line between horror and thriller vanished. It overlap with Psychological Subgenre.
The other monstrous Sub is SUPERNATURAL OR PARANORMAL which owned the unfamiliar, unknown, strange, abnormal, the list could go on.
Weird tales is one of the pioneer subsub. Based on a pulp magazine with same name, it overlap with many Supernatural sub as also with Fantasy and Sci-Fi. What sets them apart is mostly the time -- 19-20th century, and the weirdness of it. Stories that involved undead animals, giant insects, and living inanimate objects fall into this.
Hauntings are the work of ghost, demon, and poltergeist. It very much overlap with Religious subsub and a tiny bit of Western. Many urban legends enters this subsub.
Then there is Occult which overlap with not just Religious but also Magical Realism, or magic and mysticism in Fantasy Genre.
Monster as we all know is one of the oldest subsub that some of its own has been promoted to subgenre. Vampire, were-animals/shape shifters (popularized by werewolf in gothic to modern), zombie, and aliens might as well become a Sub. Overlap includes Sci-Fi, Historical, and of course the end of the world, Apocalypse. This subsub also is the only one that have its own sub included.
Lovecraftian is a subsubsub, if there's any, that is often promoted as its own genre. In honor of H.P. Lovecraft, aliens and fabulism. The characters in Lovecraftian don't generally face world wide apocalyptic situation. This kind of supernatural has a special name also in Japanese Culture, called the Kaijus which means strange beast. Very Lovecraftian no?
Which brings us to Fabulism. Anthropomorphic and fable fictions are fully invited into this supernatural subsub, but not just them; similar to Weird Tales, Fabulism also covers inanimate object and indescribable force of nature. Almost 89% of fabulism conveys deeper meaning that meet the eye. Metaphor, allegory, hyperbola, symbolism, and Fantasy are often used in this subsub to deliver some version of moral lesson.
Modern Magical Realism is inspired by Latin-American authors; it blends reality with abnormal yet extraordinaries. Overlap include Fantasy, YA, Sci-Fi, Historical, and even Comedy, black Comedy that is.
Phew, that's a giant sub indeed. We have about a couple more to go, but they are pretty small yet very productive subgenre.
HISTORICAL mostly consist of fiction that is inspired by earlier works, and mythological stories/creatures. A Sub that overlap with others, Historical have two very old literature.
Gothic in modern times could be divvy up into European, older Gothic, and American, newer. Gothic is a subgenre/crossgenre that pioneered the horror writing but heavy with Romanticism and overlap with Religious.
Mythic fiction are usually spread by word of mouth. Of course with modern archeology, anthropology, and history research, most of these ballads and poems has been immortalized into journals and books. Weird West that included Native American legend overlap with this subsub.
Next subgenre is APOCALYPTIC.
The fictions include Pre, Peri, Post, and Fake Apocalypse -- manipulated settings that suggests Apocalyptic event. This Sub are almost if not total opposite of Historical. Modern, action-packed, with only a splash of Romanticism.
Two subsub in Apocalyptic describe a particular settings.
Technology subsub explains the rise of unwanted science breakthrough that becomes the mortal enemy of humankind. It could be internal battle in Earth with the machine, computer, or AI, or intergalactic war with the Alien. This subsub overlap with Sci-Fi and YA.
Plague also provide the background for Apocalypse that recently populated with Zombie, hence the overlap with Supernatural, Sci-Fi, and also the evergrowing YA.
PSYCHOLOGICAL lend the term from the meaning itself. It deals with humanity, mind, mental, and mostly deprivation of it. It often exploring altered realities.
Survival relies a lot on ambiance or rhythm. Almost 90% of the subsub overlap with Apocalypse either surviving hordes of infected, zombies included, or rogue technology that also undead. Quite a number of YA fictions, that are survival horror, are set on a fake post-apocalypse/dystopian society. Overlapping with tangible Supernatural, though the willingness to test its tangibility is zero to none.
Soft/Quiet relies entirely on the use of rhythm, beat, atmosphere, and mood. Its subtlety is a complete opposite of Hardcore Horror.
Next in our list is, you guess it,
Hardcore or much much better known as SPLATTERPUNK; a new breed of extreme horror that relies either heavily or absolutely on gore. There is although a milder version of it. Sometimes labelled as visceral. Many of the black comedy injected a version of Splatter into it and of course the popular YA.
Last but not least, CUTTING EDGE. The gate of horrorland. Where the new breed brewed, nurtured, and grown. The land of new possibilities, you might be its pioneer. Good luck and write on!