We need to talk for a moment about “horror.” It’s not a genre.
“What?” you say. “Not a genre? Well, how does that explain the HORROR section at the movie shop, and the HORROR section at my local bookstore? Why is there a HORROR category when I shop online for my media?”
Valid points. The truth is, horror, along with just about every genre of media, is being used in ways which works against the stories they’re being packaged as. That’s why I’ll invite you to look at “genres” for what they really are: elements of a story.
Have you ever sat down with a friend or family member, and had the discussion of “is it horror?” Have you ever found yourself debating the genre of a given book, film, or piece of music? Have you ever felt a lack of satisfaction in the conclusions of these conversations? It’s because of one detail that’s often overlooked; you can’t define a story by one genre or label, and while I find all labels suffer this problem, I’m mostly going to use horror for this example.