I read a pretty good blog piece about Alan Wake, Limbo, and Stephen King this evening. The point of the piece is that Limbo is better at horror than Alan Wake because Wake is big-budget, telegraphs its scares, and feels the need to explain everything. It’s a pretty good series of short articles, which I enjoyed.
But the author also linked to a 2008 piece by Stephen King about why big-budget Hollywood movies are rarely scary. They explain everything. Their use of CG and blue screens makes them impersonal. They “blast our emotions and imaginations, instead of caressing them with a knife edge.”
It’s a great article, and one that very deftly makes the point that simple horror is better horror. There is a reason, King maintains, that the best horror films are low-budget. Nightmares are simple, and nonsensical. They don’t need a complicated explanation, CG, or even a huge grotesque monster to be scary. King’s inspiration for this piece, a horror movie called The Strangers, only has one known star (Liv Tyler). It’s a simple, uncomplicated film. And it’s (apparently) quite scary.