What is it about the horror genre that is so appealing? The answer varies from person to person, but I would assume that we all love the genre because it forces us to face something we fear. Whether we know this or not while we are watching, we are facing a fear that bonds us all together. 

This is probably why Guillermo del Toro and Mike Flanagan understand the genre so well. Both filmmakers love to explore the genre of horror from ghost stories, fairy tales, action movies, and monster films to tell their unique perspectives on facing the horrors of everyday life. 

With del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Flanagan’s The Midnight Club out on Netflix, the two horror legends sat down for Netflix’s Netflix & Chill conversation to discuss what they love about the genre. 

During the conversation, Flanagan revealed what it is about the genre that is encouraging as a viewer and as a filmmaker. 

“One of the things that I realized gradually, the more I expose myself to horror, to horror literature, and to the television and movies, was that in the time it took me to get through a scary page or a scary chapter or scary scene, I was getting a little braver in these small, controllable increments.”

His latest series, The Midnight Club, is an adaption of books that Flanagan read during his youth. Following the stories of eight terminally ill patients at the fictional Brightcliffe Home facility, the horror stories shared between the patients brought struck a familiar cord of anxiety and fear in the young filmmaker. But in that fear, Flanagan found a sense of courage that transitioned into his real life. 

“I started to think the reason I love horror is because as a kid who was scared, I learned how to be braver. I had these little bursts of exercise in courage, and it started to make me look at the world a little different. Because if I could carry myself through whatever courage I had to summon to make it to the end of it—if I could carry just a fraction of that out into my real life, then this genre has actually helped me grow,” Flanagan said

Midnight_club_0'The Midnight Club'Credit: Netflix

As the two delved further into their shared passion for horror, del Toro made a remarkable distinction between the genre’s aesthetics and mechanics that is sure the influence the way you watch horror and del Toro’s work from now on.

The discussion took a philosophical turn when del Toro and Flanagan discussed the appeal of horror and what it says about the nature of everyone. 

“Horror allows you to recognize you. This is you,” del Toro told Flanagan. “Horror is very healing and that it tells you there is a whole side they don’t tell you about and in life socially is not and is a sign that is real.” 

The horror genre explores many parts of the human experience through unique perspectives. Where del Toro looks at humanity through a mythical, almost storybook-like take on horror, Flanagan’s approach is grounded in naturalism and the grief of the human experience. 

Guillermo_del_toroGuillermo del Toro for 'Cabinet of Curiousities'Credit: Netflix

The two horror filmmakers have very different approaches to storytelling, yet they are both looking at the human condition through that unknown fear of what is lingering in the shadows. 

While some storytellers do not find anything fascinating about genre filmmaking, I believe horror provides young filmmakers with the opportunity to explore and experiment with filmmaking. It’s a genre that is forgiving as long as you try to say something meaningful with tense moments, horror cinematography, and well-developed characters. 

What do you find appealing about the horror genre? Let us know! 

Source: Still Watching Netflix