Horror / Sci-Fi…

Contrary to popular opinion, there is a difference… After the break…

Horror / Sci-Fi…

I have griped about a lot of topics over the years. A lot of topics. I might have even griped and groused about this particular topic previously. However, if it is the case that I have mentioned this topic previously than I feel compelled to mention this topic AGAIN.

Dear Everyone Who Makes The Decision About How A Movie Is Categorized,

I understand that you (collectively) are hopelessly busy. You are probably underpaid and under-appreciated. As a famous politician once said, “I feel your pain.”

However…

The terms “horror” and “sci-fi” are not interchangeable. Let us remind ourselves of what terms that are interchangeable:

  • “Happy” and “Joyful” are pretty much interchangeable.
  • “Angry” and “Upset” seem fairly interchangeable.
  • “Fast” and “Quick” look as though they are interchangeable.

Why are the terms “horror” and “sci-fi” not interchangeable? Well, as we can see from the examples above, terms that are interchangeable are very similar to one another. There might not be 100% overlap with one another but if I substituted “fast” for “quick,” it wouldn’t make that much of a difference. Let’s try an example:

  • The fast butler served the drinks with flair.
  • The quick butler served the drinks with flair.

See? You can hardly tell the difference between the two. They both, sort of, mean the same thing.

Now let’s try an example using “horror” and “sci-fi”:

  • The movie “Psycho” is a classic horror movie.
  • The movie “Psycho” is a classic sci-fi movie.

Now, technically, both of those sentences are grammatically correct. However, those two sentences have completely different meanings. One of the sentences is valid and the other would be uttered by a complete fool who has never seen the movie “Psycho” before.

So, my question to Everyone Who Makes The Decision About How A Movie Is Categorized is this:

WHY THE FCUK ARE YOU PUTTING THE TWO TERMS TOGETHER ALL OF THE TIME?!!!

Science fiction is a setting. “Western” is a setting. Generically, anything that describes the time period that a movie is set in is a setting. “Historical” is a setting.

What happens in the movie is called a mood or theme. For instance, if a lot of funny things happens in a movie, it tends to be a “comedy.” If a lot of serious and depressing events happen in a movie, it tends to be a “drama” or maybe even a “tragedy.” If there is a lot of physical violence in a movie, it might be considered an “action” movie. If there are a lot of traveling and non-violent conflict in a movie, it could be considered an “adventure.”

Let’s try some examples:

  • The movie “Blade Runner” is a classic science fiction movie.
  • The movie “Alien” is a classic science fiction movie.
  • The movieStar Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” is a classic science fiction movie.

Those above sentences are valid. Yet only one of those movies has a horror theme (can you guess which one?). Here’s a hint: It’s the film “Alien.” “Alien” can legitimately be called a Sci-Fi/Horror movie. “Blade Runner” would be “Sci-Fi/Drama” as even though it has a few action sequences, it concentrates more on concept and verbal interaction than on pure action. “Star Wars” would be “Sci-Fi/Action-Adventure” as there is quite a bit of physical violence but there is also a lot of traveling and non-violent conflict.

See? That’s not so hard, now is it?! Let’s run through a few more examples to see if we’ve got this down:

  • The movie “Rocky” is a classic contemporary drama film.
  • The movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is a classic World War II action-adventure film.
  • The movie “The Little Mermaid” is a classic fantasy musical film (realistically, it would be considered an animated fantasy musical).

So, there you go – First you use the setting and then you describe the theme. “Horror” is not a setting; It is a theme. Science Fiction is not a theme; It is a setting. Not every science fiction movie has a horror theme and not every horror movie has a science fiction setting. The two are not interchangeable.

So stop using the two terms as though they were. They are not. There are movies that have a horror theme and there are movies that have a science fiction setting. They are not interchangeable. They are different. Please learn that concept. You know who you are.

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