When you hear the word ‘horror’ many things will come to mind, but a true horror is easy to spot, as it should contain the classic elements, which create the right atmosphere and mood for a horror story. Included in these elements is the classic horror atmosphere. This can be created in many different ways such as weather, noises and the scene. ‘A dark night with a full moon and silence with a few creaking noises in the background set in a graveyard’ this is a perfect horror setting that is used in many of the horror stories that have been written.
In my opinion the purpose of a ‘horror story’ is to scare, different writers use different techniques in order to do this but the ‘true horror’ will always contain the original, classic elements. ‘The Exorcist’ is a horror film that although dated still has the power to scare. ‘The Exorcist’ at the time that it was released was completely original, a straightforward storyline about a young girl who has been possessed. ‘The Exorcist’ uses the element of Satan and the underworld and changes the innocent girl into a grim, gory, gruesome figure.
Another horror film that uses effective elements is ‘Scream’. A virgin teenage victim, with a killer that creates a mass murder within an American High School. These types of films are not hard to come across, and they all use the same twisted killer routine. As did those films set out to scare so did Mary Shelley, the creator of the story ‘Frankenstein’. ‘Frankenstein’ is not just a ‘horror’ story, it is a story about life and about abandonment, ‘Frankenstein’ is a story that was written with thought, there is a moral to the story and a lesson to be learnt by everyone.
‘Frankenstein’ is a story about a scientist ‘Victor Frankenstein’ who sets out with good intentions after the loss of his mother to try and bring the dead alive! Victor Frankenstein believed he had created an ugly, hideous monster and therefore rejected what was his creation. Through rejection and abandonment the creation turned cold and only sought revenge for his stereotypical parent. ‘Frankenstein’ was written in 1816 by Mary Shelley whilst staying on the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, apparently in attempt to terrify her housemates.
Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley’s husband was a man fascinated by science, Mary Shelley used to eavesdrop on Percy Shelley’s conversations about science with Lord Byron. These conversations gave Mary Shelley nightmares. Included in these nightmares were thoughts about birthing. These nightmares were what gave Mary Shelley her ideas for ‘Frankenstein’. The events that take place in ‘Frankenstein’ reflect on Mary Shelley’s own life experiences. Mary Shelley lost her mother at a young age and also lost a baby through premature birth.
You can see this theme of loss of parent and creations throughout ‘Frankenstein’. Perhaps the best chapter in ‘Frankenstein’ to describe the term ‘horror’ is the chapter that Mary Shelley wrote first, chapter five. Chapter five contains all the right, important elements to give the name ‘horror’. This is because it uses the weather, identity and descriptions to create the ‘horror’ atmosphere. The biggest element that created the ‘horror’ atmosphere in chapter five, I found was the descriptions of Victor Frankenstein’s creation.
Mary Shelley very effectively replaced words like mouth with ‘jaws’ to describe the creation. This gives the effect of making the creation sound vile and viscous. In ‘Frankenstein’ Victor Frankenstein judges his creation purely on appearances and doesn’t give him a chance. ‘One hand stretched out to detain me’ from this you can understand that Victor Frankenstein sees his creation as a monster and not for what it really is, a new born creature curious to its new surroundings! Victor Frankenstein’s words create a sense of danger and create bad images for the reader.
Mary Shelley wanted to make the reader use their imagination and she wanted to crate bad, evil, gory images for them. Also chapter five includes a nightmare, nightmares are associated with horror. Within the nightmare Mary Shelley focuses on ‘death’ and ‘corpses’, all words that tie in with the theme of ‘horror’ creating a sense of a dark, eerie, cold atmosphere. Mary Shelley uses varied syntax, which becomes very effective as the speed of the chapter is very important and helps create the right pace for ‘horror’.
When describing the creation Mary Shelley uses long syntax full of description to make the creation sound hideous. When the creation is bought to life Mary Shelley uses short syntax, which speeds up the pace of the chapter, creating excitement and lack of resistance for the reader, as they are frightened waiting for something to happen. Although ‘Frankenstein’ shows a great use of all the horror elements, if you look deep enough you come to understand that it is more than just a horror.
It is a lesson to be learned. In my personal opinion I think that Mary Shelley wasn’t aiming this at a few people, but at everyone, there is not one person who can say that they’ve never judged someone on appearances. What do appearances matter any way? The creation want given a chance to prove himself. In ‘Frankenstein’ the creation set out for revenge after being rejected and abandoned, Victor Frankenstein got everything he deserved.
He was trying to play God, which no one should ever do as it could lead to danger and more than you set out for as Victor Frankenstein found out. Victor Frankenstein is a great example of irony, he is a man who loses everything, his sanity, health, dreams, parents, wife, best friend, child/creation and in the end his whole life. Victor Frankenstein’s mistakes and vengeance should prove something and I think that Mary Shelley was trying to make a statement. Learn from Victor Frankenstein’s mistakes.