Portal:Horror fiction

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The Horror fiction Portal

Introduction

An Illustration of Poe's "The Raven" by Gustav Dore
An Illustration of Poe's "The Raven" by Gustave Doré

Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural, though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

Selected Article

The Vampire, by Philip Burne-Jones, 1897
Vampires are mythological or folkloric revenants who subsist by feeding on the blood of the living. In folkloric tales, the undead vampires often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today's gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early Nineteenth Century. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in most cultures, the term vampire was not popularised until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania. This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to what can only be called mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.

In modern times, however, the vampire is generally held to be a fictitious entity, although belief in similar vampiric creatures such as the chupacabra still persists in some cultures. Early folkloric belief in vampires has been ascribed to the ignorance of the body's process of decomposition after death and how people in pre-industrial societies tried to rationalise this, creating the figure of the vampire to explain the mysteries of death. Porphyria was also linked with legends of vampirism in 1985 and received much media exposure, but has since been largely discredited.

The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori; the story was highly successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula which is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of the modern vampire legend. The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, and television shows. The vampire has since become a dominant figure in the horror genre.

Selected Picture

Nosferatu
Credit: Screenshot from public domain film, Nosferatu (1922)

The shadow of the vampire climbing stairs in a famous scene from the 1922 film Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau. The movie is an example of German Expressionism. Its original German title is Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens ("Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror"). The film, shot in 1921 and released in 1922, was in essence an unauthorised adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.

Horror-related WikiProjects

Little-vampire.svg You are invited to participate in WikiProject Horror, a WikiProject dedicated to developing and improving articles about horror fiction and films.
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Selected Biography

Kane Hodder, one of Jason's portrayors.
Jason Voorhees is a fictional character from the Friday the 13th series of slasher films. He first appeared in Friday the 13th (1980) as Mrs. Voorhees' son, portrayed by Ari Lehman. Created in combination by Victor Miller, Ron Kurz, Sean S. Cunningham and Tom Savini, he was not originally intended to carry the series as the main villain. Jason Voorhees has also been represented in numerous novels, comic books, and a cross-over film with another horror legend, Freddy Krueger.

The character has primarily been an antagonist in the films, whether by stalking and killing the characters, or acting as a psychological threat to the lead character, as is the case in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Since Lehman's portrayal, the character has been represented by numerous actors and stuntmen, sometimes by more than one at a time; this has caused some controversy as to who should receive credit for the portrayal. Kane Hodder is the most well known of the stuntmen to portray Jason Voorhees, having played the character in four consecutive films.

The character's physical appearance has gone through many transformations, with various special makeup effects artists making their mark on the character's design, including makeup artist Stan Winston. Tom Savini's initial design has been the basis for many of the later incarnations. The trademark hockey mask did not appear until Friday the 13th Part 3. Since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, filmmakers have given Jason superhuman strength, and near invulnerability. He has been seen as a sympathetic character, albeit one whose motivation for killing has been cited as driven by the immoral actions of his victims.

Jason Voorhees has been featured in many humor magazines, referenced in feature films, parodied in television shows, and been the inspiration for a horror punk band. Several toy lines have been released based on various versions of the character from the Friday the 13th films. Jason Voorhees's hockey mask is one of the most recognizable images in popular culture.

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