I am all about the horror shows that exist right now. Shows like American Horror Story and The Walking Dead have made it so a horror fan like me can get a weekly fix of some scares and gore, and it is the best thing that could have happened to horror fans. But, just like with horror movies, horror TV needs to be careful that it doesn’t start falling prey to the same cliche’s that have been a thorn in the side of the horror movie genre. Here are five things horror TV needs to start doing to keep itself fresh.
Don’t Introduce Side Characters Just To Kill Them Off
Listen, we can tell when someone is a “red shirt”. Someone they hired for one or two episodes just to kill off to sate the audiences blood lust without having to kill a major player. I say be more like Game of Thrones. Kill anyone. No one should be safe. Even a show like Walking Dead that DOES kill of major stars still chooses to throw red shirts at us left and right. Stop that. Give us characters who are meaningful, and make it so we NEVER feel like they are safe.
Not Everything Has To Be A Mystery
It is cool when shows like Walking Dead and American Horror story have little side stories in them that broaden the story. The problem is, most of them rely around mysteries. Who is killing people within the prison. Who will be the new Supreme? As much as these are fun to theorize about, it is a fine line being a horror show and being a mystery show. Also, if those mysteries don’t play out in a way fans find exciting, it is all for naught. Last thing we want is another Lost. A show that has more questions than answers.
Switch It Up
Just when Walking Dead started getting slow, they brought in the Governor, and it switched up the whole vibe when the show needed it. That is a perfect example. If your show goes on one theme too long, and will all start feeling the same. Switch it up, toss in a curve ball now and then so we know, this world really IS dangerous, and in ways we don’t even know yet.
I know, twists and turns can be annoying and bog down a story, but it also keeps people on their feet. Again, the key to good horror is to make sure people don’t know where the next threat is coming from. Keep in mind, you do TOO MANY twists and turns and you end up like American Horror’s second season, which, let’s be honest, was a train wrekc. Find a nice balance, and just when you think your audience is relaxed, pull the rug out from under them.
Tell A Story No One Has Told
As much as I like all the above mentioned shows, I have heard similar stories to all of them. Zombies, ghosts, killers, and so on. Why not tap into some aspect of horror no one ever has. Give us a horror show we have never seen and would never thought of. A zombie show from the perspective of the slowly changing zombie? Give us a show where a cop is chasing a killer, and after three seasons, we find out he has been chasing himself the whole time. Okay, those examples might be lame, but you get my drift.
Follow those simple rules, and never feed them after midnight, and you’ll be just fine.
[Photo via Michele K. Short/FX]