Mystery Material – Horror Films

Here at discourse in magic we compare magic to film regularly because there are a number of parallels which can be made between the two art forms. For example both film and magic try and invoke an emotional response from the audience by showing them something outside of reality.

The art of magic is the art of deception and fiction and sometimes it isn’t a very emotional experience.  Even when a film is completely a work of fiction it can have a last emotional effect on its audience.

There are many different kinds of films that will all have a different effect on their audience and they same can be said for magic. For example if done well, a comedy film will invoke a strong physical reaction through laughter. Though the effects of a comedy film are immediately noticeable both visually and audibly they are nowhere near as powerful as the subtle emotional and psychological effects of let’s say a drama.

A drama on the other hand focuses on placing meaning and importance on the tension experienced by fictional characters in the story. The way these fictional characters become important to the audience is through empathy. When an audience is effected by a drama it is because they are relating experiences emotional journeys of fictional character to their own lives. You cry during a heart breaking moment in a movie because you know what it’s like to have your heart broken.

One of my favorite genres of film is horror. When I was younger I hated horror films and i’m sure a lot of you can guess why….. THEY WERE TOO SCARY.

But let’s think about that for second. I was an intelligent young human who was fully aware that monsters aren’t real and that no one is out to get me. However, for literal years after watching Stepgen Kings IT I couldn’t sleep on my own, I had to be walked from the living room to the bathroom and I was afraid of clowns. Even horror movies which lack substance can have longer lasting effects on people than dramas with substantial plot points. I believe this is because the idea of our personal well-being being in such unreal danger is so jarring that the “what if” question takes hold. What if that’s not just a shadow? What if it wasn’t just a dream? What if I did actually just hear a noise.
Now I don’t want to scare my audience with magic but if I can invoke the same feeling of “what if” then I feel I like i’d be doing a whole lot better.  To know that you didn’t see real magic just like you didn’t see a real monster but have an almost uneasy feeling of “what if” it was, is pretty magical to me.

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