Fear is area of the fundamental core of human existence, as connected to the essential functions of survival and the psyche as the survival instinct or the need to mate. Fear and anxiety, consequently , are among the staples of any genre that deems it self fit to entertain the masses, an art to be mastered in the hands of a genuine artiste. Fear, dread, and anxiety are integral the different parts of any successful horror story, for example , however, not everyone who writes horror manages to get the mix of the important elements — pacing, plot, and characterization — all of which should be just right to make a classic which will frighten generations long following the first copy was printed. There are a few that manage to accomplish the difficult feat to be eternal within their horror and long-lasting within their ability to turn anxiety in to outright terror.
Edgar Allan Poe, writer of “Annabel Lee” and “The Fall of the home of Usher”, is easily recognized as among the foremost masters of horror and the macabre. His works have inspired terror and anxiety in many individuals, primarily by using heavy psychological tones, rather than the gore and blood themes used and abused by writers of his time. Poe’s collected works easily counts as a few of the most frightening material ever written, especially now, in an age where horror movies are relegated to two hours of bloodshed and senseless violence, lacking any true horror and relying solely on shock value to appear “scary. ” Poe also sticks out as being among the few who can make even the absolute most mundane things seem utterly terrifying, a feat emulated by Stephen King and many Japanese horror authors, but never truly duplicated.
In a totally different vein of horror from his predecessors, and arguably making a sub-genre of horror through his works, H. P. Lovecraft also stands out. His works, while lacking in humanity, are difficult to see as not terrifying, especially because of the apparent insufficient humanity in them. As opposed to writers of previous generations, Lovecraft focused more on the certainly monstrous, ignoring the human element that a lot of horror writers tended to insert to their works because the days of the Gothic era. His stories were littered with monsters that knew neither morality nor mercy, seeing humanity as insignificant insects and, in Lovecraft’s malignant world of ancient races and Elder Gods, humanity was insignificant. He also cut back something from the Gothic horror era, showing his readers that knowledge, even just a little knowledge, can lead to the absolute most terrifying of discoveries. That is perhaps most readily useful exemplified by the alleged “Cthulhu Mythos, ” a collection of stories that centered around Lovecraft’s anti-mythological beings.
Among the most putting up with horror classics in the world is that of Shelley’s “Frankenstein, ” which combines the current weather of horror with the intrinsic questions that plagued morality and philosophy at that time. In some ways, the story is one which puts a fresh spin on the old ghost story, in that the “ghost” is inevitably due to the actions of mortal men who meddled in things these were not designed to. The story, aside from being truly a genuine tale of terror, also took on the role of a lesson in morality and the limits to just how far medical science could go. Prolonging life is a very important factor, but bringing back the dead is another thing entirely, which is among the subtle messages of the novel. The underlying question of if Frankenstein’s creature is the monster, or if it’s Frankenstein himself, also plays a part in making the story a memorable, chilling tale.
But very few stories can certainly stand up against the pure terror and the subtle anxiety and dread due to Bram Stoker’s infamous novel, “Dracula. ” The novel is a hallmark of the Gothic horror era, presenting a villain of potentially epic scope in the guise of an extraordinary gentleman and nobleman. It deviated from other vampire stories of that time period in that the vampire, Dracula, was not monstrous in appearance. He looked every inch a master and nobleman, establishing the “lord of the night” archetype that would be a stock image of vampire characters in literature for years and years to come. It also had all the elements necessary to both frighten readers and keep them returning for more, marking it as the most putting up with horror novel in history.