What makes good TV, films or games? Is it just about fantasy fulfillment, or is there more to it? Do we just look for the perfect or do we also look for the complicated, the difficult, the realistic in our fiction?
In horror, it's often the ugly that draws our attention – decay, disease, death; it's the things you see out of the corner of your eye or the nagging little voice at the back of your mind, whispering dark thoughts to you. As a whole the genre is the exploration of this, and the psychology behind it.
But how does that apply to the visual side of what we experience? Does it matter what our characters look like?
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the mechanics of horror; what actually makes a 'thing' scary is an enduring interest of mine, and consequentially I've been thinking a lot about what hasn't scared me about a lot of recent Horror films.
Characters don't necessarily have to be hideously ugly for it to work though, It's more that in reality people are neither super models nor deformed freaks, normal people have attractive and unattractive physical and psychological characteristics and horror works best when it has that realistic edge. If anything what we need more of is imperfections, either slight or hardly obvious – one eye a fraction lower than the other, a touch of acme, a scar here or there, just enough for characters to seem normal but not enough to put us off them.
At the moment though it seems like developers are too obsessed with giving us the perfect but just like with good character creation in general, it's not just the good that matters but also the bad.
LOOK WHO CAME: