The Horror Story Unit
October 7, 2011
Create an original horror story
The short story must be 2-3 pages in length.
The short story must be typed using Arial or
Times New Roman font
The short story must include dialogue,
characterization, theme, and suspense, BUT no
This is not an experiment in how much bloody
violence you can write about. It is a piece
about fear, suspense, and terror—not blood
The Goblins Will Get You if You
Don’t Watch Out
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre XXV:
Freddie Meets Norman on Elm Street on
Friday the 13th
1. Why do gory movies (a more precise term than horror
movies) attract so many viewers today?
2. Why do people like the gory special effects?
Horror or just Gore?
Before the days of Freddie Kruger, Hollywood made
many suspense/horror movies, some cheapie thrillers (I
Dismember Mama), and some that became classis for
chilling the blood of the audience. The master of these
movie-makers was Alfred Hitchcock, who built suspense
slowly and subtly, usually without blood or overt
violence. The original Psycho was a masterpiece of
subtle horror as were Rear Window and The Birds.
Today’s master of the horror novel is Stephen King,
whose books (often made into movies) are true spine-
chillers that use suspense to terrify readers.
Do horror movies of today scare viewers or merely excite
What’s so great about fear
Do you feel moments of terror? Do you
hold your breath? Do you laugh? Why do
you react as you do?
How do you explain the desire of people
to be terrified?
As children, we delight in ghost stories
told in the dark. As adults, we read books
or see movies that we know will scare us.
Elements of Horror
a deserted (or sparsely inhabited) castle or mansion in a
state or ruins or semi-ruins
labyrinths/mazes, dark corridors, and winding stairs filled
with dusty cobwebs
castles or mansions which have hidden
tunnels/staircases, dungeons, underground passages,
crypts, or catacombs
if set in a broken down modern house, the basement or
attic becomes the place of terror
threatening natural landscapes, like rugged mountains,
dark forests, or eerie moors, exhibiting stormy weather
Elements of Horror
limited lighting such as moonlight (usually a full moon),
candles, flashlight, lantern
often the light disappears: clouds hide the moon,
candles go out, flashlights/ lanterns are dropped and
if electric lights exist, they usually mysteriously go out
dark secrets surrounding some tormented soul
who is left to live in isolation
ominous omens and curses
magic, supernatural manifestations, or the
suggestion of the supernatural
a damsel in distress
the damsel’s rescuer; usually a lover
horrifying (or terrifying) events or the threat of
Elements of a Short Story
Listen to and follow along with the song about
the five major elements of a story. A copy
of this song has been given to you for your
Definition: a conversation between characters
Annina asked, “Monsieur Rick, what kind of a man
is Captain Renault?”
“Oh, he's just like any other man, only more so,”
(Joy Page and Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, 1942)
Short Story Maps
Due: Friday, October 7, 2011
at the beginning of class.
Remember, this is a working rough draft,
which means it can be subject to any
changes that you see fit.
Victorian Horror Novels
Classics of the horror genre written during
the Victorian Era:
3. The Hound of the Baskervilles
4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
5. The Picture of Dorian Gray
6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
7. The Invisible Man
Elements of Classic Horror of the
Psychological terror not physical terror
Not a lot of bloodshed
Suspense, Suspense, Suspense
The object was to let the imagination go
Restraints of the Victorian Age
Firm moral values.
Suggest the sins. Don’t than name
Age of change
Age of great poverty and great riches
How Proper were the Victorians?
Ankles as sex symbols?
Draping of furniture?
The euphemism of the drumstick
Private dinner parties—