Portal:Speculative fiction/Horror

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Horror fiction is a genre of fiction in any medium intended to scare, unsettle and horrify the audience. Historically, the cause of the "horror" experience has often been the intrusion of a disturbing supernatural element into everyday human experience. Since the 1960s, any work of fiction with a morbid, gruesome, surreal, or exceptionally suspenseful or frightening theme has come to be called "horror". Horror fiction often overlaps science fiction or fantasy, all three categories of which are sometimes placed under the umbrella classification speculative fiction.

Haunting is sometimes used as a plot device in horror fiction and paranormal-based fiction. Legends about haunted houses have long appeared in literature. For example, the Arabian Nights tale of "Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad" revolves around a house haunted by djinns. The influence of the Arabian Nights on modern horror fiction is certainly discernible in some of the work of H. P. Lovecraft.

Achievements in horror fiction are recognized by numerous awards. The Horror Writer's Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror novel Dracula. The Australian Horror Writers Association presents annual Australian Shadows Awards. The International Horror Guild Award was presented annually to works of horror and dark fantasy from 1995 to 2008. Other important awards for horror literature are as subcategories included within general awards for fantasy and science fiction in such awards as the Aurealis Award.

Zombies are a popular feature in many horror works.

Selected horror profile

Lugosi in the 1940 film The Devil Bat
Béla Lugosi (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956) was a Hungarian actor of stage and screen, well known for playing Count Dracula in the Broadway play and subsequent film version. In the last years of his career he featured in several of Ed Wood's low budget films.

Through his association with Dracula (in which he appeared with minimal makeup, using his natural, heavily accented voice), Lugosi found himself typecast as a horror villain in such movies as Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, and Son of Frankenstein for Universal, and the independent White Zombie. His accent, while a part of his image, limited the roles he could play.

Lugosi did attempt to break type by auditioning for other roles. He lost out to Lionel Barrymore for the role of Rasputin in Rasputin and the Empress; C. Henry Gordon for the role of Surat Khan in Charge of the Light Brigade; Basil Rathbone for the role of Commissar Dimitri Gorotchenko in Tovarich (a role Lugosi had played on stage).

It is an erroneous popular belief that Lugosi declined the offer to appear in Frankenstein. Lugosi may not have been happy with the onerous makeup job and lack of dialogue, but was still willing to play the part. Nonetheless, James Whale, the film's director, replaced Lugosi and would do this again in Bride of Frankenstein (Lugosi was supposed to play the role of Dr. Pretorius).

Selected horror work

Silent Hill 4: The Room is the fourth installment in the Konami Silent Hill survival horror series. The game was released in Japan in June 2004 and in North America and Europe in September of that same year. Silent Hill 4 was released for the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox consoles as well as the PC. A soundtrack release was also made at the same time.

Unlike the previous installments, which were set primarily in the disturbed town of Silent Hill, this game is set in the fictional town of South Ashfield, and is focused on the character of Henry Townshend attempting to escape from his locked-down apartment. He explores a series of supernatural worlds and finds himself in conflict with an undead serial killer.

Silent Hill 4 features an altered gameplay style with third-person navigation and plot elements taken from previous installments. Upon its release the game received a mixed critical reaction due to deviations from the original Silent Hill style.