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Todd Robbins
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I'm working on a new project and one of the questions that came up is, "What is more terrifying? The living or the dead?" What I mean by this is wondering if something like the Texas Chain Saw Massacre is more or less terrifying than Paranormal Activity. And then there is the Shining which is a combination of both. And in this area of magic, I often find presentations that feature dark forces beyond ourselves, but rarely the darkness within ourselves. I will admit that this is a "Food for Thought" topic, but it specifically pertains to this forum.

Your thoughts?
Christopher Gould
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The living far outclass the dead n terms of horror, as they are sentient.
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I would concur. For myself, and many others I know, the 'supernatural' is a safe vehicle for playing with terror and fear. When we touch on the reality of horror, Hannah Arendt's banality of evil, it's no longer fun, but rather disturbing and unsettling. Mythological devils, cults, and hauntings will never, ever touch that dark terror elicited by the privations of war, genocide, sexual predators and corporate sociopathy. Sorry, a bit of a digression.
DrTodd
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Freddie Kruger is terrifying...if your dream it, it happens...kept me awake for days ....

I concur that living are more terrifying

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The villain in Silence of the Lambs...'it puts the lotion on its body...'
IAIN
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I think the dead are more terrifying for one reason, and one reason only...the implication of the dead/ghosts/spirits is MASSIVE!

it means there's a god of some kind, an endless spiritual summerland that has rules and regulations...
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Christopher Gould
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You have a point Iain, but I never heard of anyone getting dissolved in a bath of acid by a ghost....
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Dr Spektor
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Quote:
On 2012-11-25 10:59, DrTodd wrote:
Freddie Kruger is terrifying...if your dream it, it happens...kept me awake for days ....

I concur that living are more terrifying

Hannibal Lecter
The villain in Silence of the Lambs...'it puts the lotion on its body...'


That was Buffalo Bill Todd...tch tch

Hannibal was terryifing as were the nazis etc as what appears to be enlightened civilized people can demonstrate how quickly the beast is within us and in certain contexts all morals and ethics seem to dissolve into the banal murderous violence the human race has never escaped... we all still have the reptilian brain... and that is truly terrifying
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Harley Newman
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The living are scarier, and a real threat.

The dead are dead, an implied fear, a dream, safe by distance.

Mixed up, who cares which is which? I think a thing at the edge of perception, in an unsure environment, is much more effective.
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Dr Spektor
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I think when you tie a ghost/supernatural into the remnant of something horrific a living human did - you get the best of both horrors perhaps

BTW - in the original post - it wasn't just the dead in the original Paranormal - it ended up the living human that did the worst at the end (yes, could argue possession - but it still was done thru a living human - just like the Exorcist and other things... then you get to play also with the metaphors and symbols of a victim who is also a perp at the same time)
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Voodini
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I find the thought of spiritual evil, the returning dead, angry spirits, far more terrifying than bogeymen who are living (such as the bad guys in slasher movies). In films such As I Know What You Did..., etc. I always wonder why people run away. Why not stop, pick up a frying pan, and twat him around the head? Can't do that with the lady crawling down the stairs in the Grudge!
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George Ledo
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Looking at it strictly from a presentation standpoint in magical entertainment, I would think the dead can be more terrifying. Hollywood "real-life" horror, as in Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs, and so forth, is based on crimes and criminals who have gone over the top, and the stories are not so much about what the criminals (real flesh-and-blood people) do, but about a character who goes over the top to catch them. So the whole thing is mostly a contest between two characters, with a lot of blood and guts for what Hollywood calls "production value." In Greek theatre, this was known as the "man vs. man" dramatic conflict. But we can see this kind of stuff, in real life, in the papers just about every day, and our reaction is to want to catch the evil-doer and stop him.

The dead, on the other hand (the "man vs. nature" or "man vs. the gods" conflict, depending on which book you read), operate on a level which we have feared since the beginning of time. We don't understand this level, we can't control it, and we can't predict it; we're basically helpless. There are a lot of unknowns, and we can't prepare for an encounter. So the mind takes over and we can end up creeping ourselves out just thinking about it. But where I think the fun can come in (in entertainment) is that the dead don't necessarily have to be evil to be terrifying. The idea that something can affect us in some way, and we can't understand it or control it, or expect it, can be very terrifying precisely because there's absolutely nothing we can do about it.
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Todd Robbins
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Quote:
On 2012-11-25 11:39, Christopher Gould wrote:
You have a point Iain, but I never heard of anyone getting dissolved in a bath of acid by a ghost....


Hey, that was Teller's idea, not mine.
Todd Robbins
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One of the difficulties in presenting bizarre magic is that it is often about "the other." Someone or something removed from the here and now. It requires the creation of the right mood and environment in order to create the illusion that the participants are in the presence of "the other." Whereas a card trick can be performed on a sunlit street and me effective, bizarre magic requires much more around it to truly make an impact.

The concept of living evil is much more portable and resilient. Giving someone the heebie jeebies by making them feel they are looking malevolence in the eye is still a challenge, but it can be done under a greater variety of places and conditions than most bizarre magic. It is in someways more difficult to pull off, and perhaps that why you see more people working with an RC prop than with something that points to the darkness within the performer (or harder still to pull off, the darkness within the participant.) And perhaps most bizarrists are uncomfortable with the idea of dipping into their own darker instincts to make this effective?

I don't know. It's just that we see far fewer routines based upon this than something that goes bump in the night.
Todd Robbins
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Quote:
On 2012-11-25 13:06, Voodini wrote:
I find the thought of spiritual evil, the returning dead, angry spirits, far more terrifying than bogeymen who are living (such as the bad guys in slasher movies). In films such As I Know What You Did..., etc. I always wonder why people run away. Why not stop, pick up a frying pan, and twat him around the head? Can't do that with the lady crawling down the stairs in the Grudge!


Yes, all terrifying. And yet it could be argued that all of these things have been created out of the darkness within the imagination of the living.
Michael_MacDonald
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Actually if you use the CU$$ cards are you not playing with the living evil caused by you or the sitter placing a curse?
IAIN
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One of my things about the bizarre side, is the over-reliance on the old and the eldritch...

wouldn't it be good to be there to witness the 'birth' of a ghost? or to contribute towards a thought that may not be found until sometime in the future (like a time capsule you might do at school)...docc's band of the hand, with the prediction of a death, that's why I've always felt it is almost too strong...but at least its something interesting/futuristic in a sense..."the man who can fortell your doom!"

or maybe investigating the chances of someone being a psychopath without knowing it...
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Todd Robbins
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Quote:
On 2012-11-25 14:54, IAIN wrote:
One of my things about the bizarre side, is the over-reliance on the old and the eldritch...

wouldn't it be good to be there to witness the 'birth' of a ghost? or to contribute towards a thought that may not be found until sometime in the future (like a time capsule you might do at school)...docc's band of the hand, with the prediction of a death, that's why I've always felt it is almost too strong...but at least its something interesting/futuristic in a sense..."the man who can fortell your doom!"

or maybe investigating the chances of someone being a psychopath without knowing it...


That's an interesting concept, and it would be a challenge to get those ideas across to an audience. I'd like to see someone give this a try. It could be great.
Todd Robbins
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My friend artist Joe Coleman has an interesting theory that serial killers are like modern shaman in that they remind us that there is darkness in the souls of all of us. Seeing someone else tap into that and do heinous acts help to keep it in check for the rest of us.
mstgracy
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My great grandmother was a Cherokee who claimed she could channel spirits. I never questioned it but she would always say, "Its not the dead you need to be worried about, its the living" I feel spirits are mysterious but I feel like there is less potential for physical harm. So it can't be an easy answer from me. I feel spirits can be frightning in a way the living cannot and people can be terrifying because we share a species with monsters that we might be capable of horror that hides beneath the surface. If you can manifest an exploration of that theme and have patrons question themselfs I think that is truly scary.
IAIN
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Quote:
On 2012-11-25 15:31, Todd Robbins wrote:
That's an interesting concept, and it would be a challenge to get those ideas across to an audience. I'd like to see someone give this a try. It could be great.


I'm wondering if combining a reading in with a future prediction as wide as "...and a sign shall be revealed to you, noticed only by you in three day's time..". that way you are setting their brain in motion to interpret something in the way you've just clearly defined...yet the sign can be very weak in a way...its just that they would build it up into something much, much bigger...

you could also present three character analysis and ask someone to chose one they've identified with the most...you give them an object belonging to that person, and slowly unravel their psyche to reveal how they then became a serial killer...they can keep the object if they want...handing it back might suggest a rejection of the part of them that they do not want to recognise...
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