Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Writing Erotic HORROR

 
Writing Erotic Horror

What is Erotic Horror?

According to Wikipedia:
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Erotic horror, alternately noted as Dark Erotica, is a term applied to works of horror fiction in which sensual or sexual imagery (or descriptions of the physical act of sexual intercourse) are blended with horrific overtones or horror story elements.

In other words:
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If Erotica is: They have sex and something happens.
Then Erotic Horror is: They know exactly what will happen if they have sex, and do it anyway.

Believe it or not, the basic principal is actually a left-over from the antique Victorian view of "If you have Sex, something bad will happen to you." Something still promoted in today's horror flicks, especially those featuring teens.

Erotic Horror takes it one step further with: Sex = Death, and occasionally Death = Sex.

Most Common Plotlines:

The new girlfriend is a real monster.
-- Commonly foreshadowed by the fact that none of his family or friends likes her. The male protagonist then ignores all warnings to meet her in some deserted and blatantly creepy spot. They have sex and her true monstrosity is finally revealed.

This ends in one of two ways:
- He dies in her embrace.
- He kills her in self defense, and regrets it

Far less often do you see the opposite:

The new boyfriend is a real monster.
-- In this style of story, the family usually approves as do her friends, while the heroine is the one with all the doubts. Eventually she gives in to family and peer pressure and goes on a date with this guy. By the end of the date, she decides he's not so bad after all. He then takes her to some deserted and blatantly creepy spot. They have sex and his true monstrosity is finally revealed.

This ends in one of two ways:
- She dies in his embrace.
- She kills him in self defense, and resents* it.

In an M/M story...
 The new friend is a real monster.
 -- None of his friends or family knows about the guy the protagonist is seeing because the protagonist is actively hiding or in denial about his attraction to this guy. The male protagonist then agrees to meet the guy in some deserted and blatantly creepy spot. The protagonist is seduced into sex and the other guy's true monstrosity is finally revealed.
This ends in one of two ways:
 - He dies in his lover's embrace.
 - He kills his lover in self defense, and actively tries to *forget it ever happened.

The new lover is a real monster to everyone except their lover.
-- In this style of story, the protagonist shacks up or marries their new love and realizes that their love is hiding some kind of secret. Meanwhile, the people around them are disappearing or dying. Completely ignoring the fact that people are dropping like flies round their love, the protagonist begins to suspect that their beloved is cheating on them. The protagonist follows their beloved and witnesses their lover seducing someone and then killing them in a particularly nasty way. Discovered, the beloved confesses their monstrosity and immediately goes all out to seduce their beloved.

This ends in one of three ways:
- The protagonist willingly dies in their beloved's embrace.
- The male protagonist kills their beloved in self defense, and regrets it.
- The female protagonist kills their beloved in self defense, and resents* it.
- The protagonist kills their beloved to save them, and then commits suicide to join them.

The new lover convinces their beloved to become a real monster.
-- In this style of story, the protagonist shacks up or marries their new love who then refuses to have sex with the protagonist until they prove their love by killing someone and bringing back a trophy. Sometimes it's an object, but usually it's a body part. Eventually, the protagonist realizes that they have become a mass-murderer, regrets what they've become and finally begins to question their lover's sanity.

This ends in one of two ways:
- The protagonist snaps and kills their beloved in a mad sexual frenzy, then commits suicide.
- The protagonist kills their beloved lovingly and then commits suicide.

In short,
Erotic Horror is when two lovers have Sex and Death is either the result or the cause.

Occasionally you'll see a story where two lovers have sex and then a monster comes out of nowhere and kills one or both of them. This kind of story is not Erotic Horror – it's ordinary Horror.

What's the difference?

In any Erotic story, the Erotic MUST turn the plot. In other words, Sex must make the story happen. If something else makes the story happen; such as the sudden appearance of a monster, then it's not an Erotic story. It's just a Monster story -- a Horror story.

In order to be a true Erotic Horror, both the Sex AND Death must turn the plot.

However, a simple 'raped to death' story isn't Erotic Horror either. That's just a Snuff tale. To be an Erotic Horror, the protagonist needs to be willing, eager, and enjoying the sex in order to be Erotic with Death as the result or the cause of the Sex.

In other words, no matter how many sex scenes you toss into a Horror story, if the sex is not directly related to the horror as the cause or result, then what you have is a plain ordinary horror story with a few extra scenes.
How can you tell if you've written an Erotic Horror? 
 If you can cut out the Erotic scenes without hurting the main Horror plotline – you did it WRONG.
  If you can cut out the Horror scenes without hurting the main Erotica plotline – you did it WRONG.
If cutting out the Horror scenes or the Erotic scenes ruins the story – you did it RIGHT.

In Conclusion...
Tossing a random sex scene into a Horror story will not give you an Erotic Horror story. All that does is make a Horror story with erotic bits. To write a true Erotic Horror, both Death and Sex must carry equal weight in the plot line. Death and Sex must both make the story happen, preferably with one the result of the other: Sex = Death or Death = Sex.

*Note: Why does the female protagonist Resent losing their lover while the male protagonist Regrets losing their lover?

Basic psychology. Males have a tendency to regret losing anything they found pleasurable, where females tend to resent having made a bad choice (in lovers). In the case of two male lovers, Denial is the normal route; "That never happened," because most men hate to admit they made a mistake. However, as the author, you are entitled to write your character's feelings any way you like. Those were merely what I found in the Erotic Horror stories I read.

Enjoy!
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Morgan Hawke
www.DarkErotica.Net

3 comments:

  1. makes sense now why lori perkins called the story I subbed to her erotic horror.

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  2. Sounds like Ms. Perkins knows her genres very well indeed.

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  3. Thank you so much for this. *That certain day* is upon us and some violent, gory erotic horror is in order... *evil grin*

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