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Hey, is it too late to do a Halloween episode?
'Cause, like, we all got costumes already, and- oh, we can! Cool. Okay.
["Penguin Cap" by CarboHydroM]
We desire a rational world.
A world where things make sense,
where even the most horrible events jive with our understanding of reality.
If we have that, we can maintain some sense of control,
some rational framework for what's going on around us, some hope.
But in the world of horror, that very desire is turned against us.
Horror turns against us our most powerful tool,
the tool with which we have tamed the world,
with which we've made a dark and scary place very comfortable to live in in the last 200 years,
our reason.
Horror presents us with the extraordinary, with things beyond reason,
things that a thousand years ago we might have called demons or spirits.
But today, our great strength, our reason,
our belief in a rational world, causes a very different reaction,
one which the best horror writers and designers play on to
the fullest. Because today, instead, the
extraordinary fills us with self-doubt.
How many times have you seen or played a
character who witnesses the horrific, who
witnesses a monster, or an apparition, or
a shade, and shakes their head, doesn't
believe what they've just seen? They'll
say, "Oh, it must have been the Sun, or
maybe a distorted reflection off of the
water, or just some kids dressing up
pulling a prank." Dismissing the horror
when they could be preparing for it. Go
back and watch your favorite horror
movies, or play your favorite horror
games, and think how differently the
whole story would have gone if, instead
of throwing out their first encounter
with horror as a mere illusion, the
protagonist took it at face value and
began to figure out how to thwart it. So
many of these stories would have turned
out much better for the protagonists, but
that's not the root of why this is so
important for horror.
Yes, playing on our dismissal, on our
sense of a rational world is essential
to holding many of these plots together,
and it's an excellent plot device, but
horror is about feel as much as it is
about plot, and the best horror creators
use this conflict with our understanding
of the world, this conflict with the
rational, to build the feeling of horror
as much as they do to shore up their
stories, for the most fundamental belief
we have is the belief in our
perceptions.
A hundred million years of evolution
cause us to trust them. We may know
they're flawed, we may know that they
have weaknesses and offer us the
occasional error, but they're the system
by which we judge reality. They are the
system by which we differentiate the
sane from the insane. When confronted
with things so wholly beyond our
comprehension, so grotesque or impossible,
so antithetical to how we believe the
world is supposed to work that we can't
rationalize them, we start to question
our own senses.
"Was I dreaming?" "It must have been a
hallucination." "Just a trick of the mind
created by fatigue."
These are the sorts of things that
you'll hear our horror protagonists say
to rationalize what they're experiencing.
Then comes the breakdown, where what
they're facing is too insane and they
can't trust their senses, where they're
faced with the panic of not knowing
what's real and what's some mad delusion,
and they can't escape this feeling
because, like us, like the very audience
they're playing to, they've been trained
to believe in a rational world, and so, to
these characters, "I am insane" is an
easier answer than, "The world is insane",
or to put it another way, they are more
ready to believe that they themselves
are going mad than to believe that the
world is radically different than what
we understand it to be, and the panic
this causes is real, because they're
perfectly rational, but think they're
going insane.
They're trapped in this rational box,
having all of the faculties, all of the
ability of analysis and reason that
they've always had, but they're watching
themselves, as they think it, going insane
and they can't do anything about it.
Unlike the madman who, in most stories,
believes his fantasies are realities and,
thus, doesn't see his own insanity, the
characters in horror are acutely aware.
They know they're going mad. They are
forced to feel that descent, to feel the
rest of the world judging them, making
assumptions about them, because they
aren't actually going mad, but even they
don't believe it.
That is the greatest horror trick with
our belief in a rational world, to use it
to have us doubt ourselves, to isolate
our character from the rest of the world,
to disempower them by making them doubt
their sanity, and to disassociate them
from their friends, because the moment
where the character finally faces the
possibility that what they're seeing and
experiencing is real, the moment where
they have to ask themselves, "Do I hope
I'm going mad?"
because the alternative is worse. That is
the quintessence of horror.
So next time you're playing a horror
game, or watching a horror movie, check.
See if you see the characters ever
doubting their perceptions, see if, rather
than immediately springing to action
against whatever horrible things entered
their world, they instead withdraw into
disbelief, unable to square what they've
seen with the reality they know, see if
this slowly build into the fear of the
descent into madness, or, instead, forces
us to face the true dread of confronting
a world that isn't as known as we would
like to think of it,
see if this makes others doubt the
character, pulls them away from the
people that could help them be it friends
or authorities like the police, and see
if, in the end, this rational world that
is our greatest strength, that we truly
believe, and that we think we know comes
to be one of the character's greatest
weaknesses. I hope you all enjoyed your
All Hallows, and, don't worry, that
probably wasn't really a monster you saw.
See you next week! Probably...
["Spooktune (Chiptune Remix)" by LemonDrop]
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最根本的欺騙 - 恐怖和理性是如何背叛了我們 (The Most Fundamental Deceit - Horror and How Rationality Betrays Us - Extra Credits)

247 分類 收藏
李俊德 發佈於 2016 年 11 月 16 日
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