PLAY SORCERER 32: This is a Horror Story

Sorcerer_Cover

Sorcerer is not about a secret world revealed. Sorcerer is not about slathering one horrific over-the-top image on top of another in a kind of pageant of horror imagery. Sorcerer is in no way a story of fantasy using fantasy logic.

No. Sorcerer is a horror story. It uses horror logic.

“Horror” as a genre means many things to many people these days, mostly because there are plenty of movies that fall under the label of “Horror” that actually are quite different from one another. Some are designed to cause fear in the audience. Some are designed to cause disgust. Others might be, in my view, what we call horror. Since this are all matters of taste, and some overlap, let me discuss this a bit.

This following is, by definition, personal and idiosyncratic. I hope it helps–because it’s the best I’ve got to offer. Ultimately, you will have to find your own way to what horror means to you–because that will be the right way.

In the broadest terms, horror means something is wrong.

  • In a horror story the world is utterly mundane and normal. Which is as it should be. There are already enough problems: Relationships, money, work, taking care of kids, whatever. It is the here, it is the now.
  • A moral transgression of  some sort has taken place. The transgression might involve violence. It might involve sex. It might involve an innocent. But the key is this: It was wrong. By any standard by which we accept that life is hard and sometimes things go wrong, this event crossed that standard.
  • The moral transgression introduces a tear in the world. Something goes wrong. Something that shouldn’t be here is now here. Something arrives. The moral transgression–something that offends our core sense of right and wrong–inflicts something upon the world. What happened was so wrong the world broke.
  • Humans are involved. Humans know something is wrong. Everyday people are scrambling to catch up to what is happening. They struggle to understand what is happening. They struggle to control something that is happening. Something that is so strange that there is no way they really can handle it and shouldn’t ever have been expected to handle it well.

Here is an slight sample of  stories that give, for me, the right feel. I’m not saying they are Sorcerer stories–they do not contain models of story structure to help you. We’re talking about the feel of the stories.

Stephen King’s novels Pet Cemetery and ‘Salem’s Lot. The television series Twin Peaks. The movies The Ring, Session 9, Lake Mungo, Paranormal Activity.

In these stories the horror comes down to an awareness on the part of the character that something is wrong. The horror reaches critical mass when the character engages in the wrongness. This engagement can be simply comprehension (the mother in The Ring realizing what happened in the family that generated the ghostly girl) or action (the mother’s decision and method to save her son at the end of The Ring, the husband in Paranormal Activity essentially abusing his girlfriend to engage the supernatural entity in the house.)

Now, here’s the kicker: Sorcerer has all the qualities of the tales above, and the Characters are fully aware of what is going on and what they are doing. 

That is the scariest thing in the world.

The Characters are the agents of the moral transgression. The Characters are completely engaged with the breaking of reality. The Characters are completely engaged with the things the do-not-belong here.

The Characters are doing what is wrong to get what they want. When thinking of your Character think, “If I could do what was wrong to get what I wanted, what would that thing be? What would I want that would be worth doing the wrong thing for?”

In other words, “How far would you go to get what you want?” Not as a filling in the blank question because the game requires you come up with an answer. No. Really, what would you really want? How far would you go to get it?

 

 

Advertisements

Tags:

One Response to “PLAY SORCERER 32: This is a Horror Story”

  1. oberonthefool Says:

    The scariest thing of all is that this:

    “The moral transgression introduces a tear in the world. Something goes wrong. Something that shouldn’t be here is now here. Something arrives. The moral transgression–something that offends our core sense of right and wrong–inflicts something upon the world. What happened was so wrong the world broke.”

    is never true.

    The world cannot be broken.

    It does not care about your morality.

    That is the scariest thing of all.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: