Movie News when it Breaks, Reviews Near the Release Date, Features every Sunday

16 Sep 2010

Author Feature: A Discussion on Tension, Horror and Death

Hey all, sorry for the late postings :(
Below is an extract from a conversation me and a friend had.
Who do you think is correct?

Friend:   Its far worse than most of the movies you watch, that actually has NO tension or foreshadowing, you just wait to see everyone die
Me:   it has tension lol [NB Talking about the upcoming movie F]
Me:   you should watch it and find out ;)
Friend:   Not as much
Me:   it does though
Friend:   No character development= No genuine fear for the character= little to no tension
Me:   dude you liked Clash of the Titans, thus that notion is false
Me:   and no development =/= no tension
Friend:     I found it entertaining because of its impressive big budget visuals
Me:   thus you know nothing about movies
Friend:     entertaining =/= quality of script
Me:   tension is made up most of cinematography and the soundtrack
Friend:     Paranormal activity didn’t need a soundtrack
Friend:     thus your statement isn’t true, is it
Me:   watch Cherry Tree Lane, there is one scene in there that proves my theory
Friend:     You can’t prove your theory
Me:   yeah, but PA relied so heavily on its cinematography
Me:   one scene
Friend:     all it takes is one film with no soundtrack to be tense and your theory is invalid
Friend:     ..paranormal activity
Friend:    Paranormal activity had no unique cinematography, it had been done before
Friend:    But the character development triumphed
Me:   dude that had so many holes in it
Me:   the cinematography doesn’t have to be original, just impacting
Friend:    go on
Me:   as the camera was taken from the cast themselves, you feel like you are with them. However, you end up feeling like one of them, rather than sympathising with them
Friend:    That’s more or less what i said
Friend:    Not necessarily
Me:   that’s what creates the tension, not the character development (if anything, you feel slightly detached), but rather the cinematography making you feel like one of them
Me:   you could have had 2 versions of the most boring people in existence as the cast, as long as the shakey-cam was used, the tension would be there
Me:   Final destination is a prime example of this
Friend:    You could see from a mile off that the girl was becoming possessed and you were urging micah not to stay by her
Friend:    Final destination was an absolutely abysmal set of films, just above saw but still at the bottom
Me:   and that’s a perfect example of the holes: the development was bland and boring, giving off obvious signs rather than making a sudden change into possession that Katy was not expecting, and neither were you
Me:   Yes, FD is shit, but it does have tension, undoubtedly
Friend:    I watched some of them, and there’s NO tension, you know the characters will die, you just wait for it, and it is obvious in each scene whether there will be a death or not
Me:   dude, have you seen them? the tension is there as the characters never die how you initially suspect they will
Me:   that’s part of the beauty of the writing (the only thing FD has going for it)
Friend:    No… no you’re so wrong
Friend:    If you know there WILL be a death, there is no tension
Me:   wrong
Friend:    The audience don’t sit there thinking "How will that electric razor kill him? Oh i can’t wait to find out"
Me:   in all horror films, death is inevitable, it’s part of the genre. However, it’s the method of the death, the timing, and the add-ons (eg music and cinematography ) that give the tension.
Friend:   Youre not always supposed to know right away if people will die and who dies though, the premise of FD was shit because it basically said "Everyone here is dead. Lets watch them all die one by one"

So, what do you think creates tension?


  1. I'm going to go with your friend. Except sometimes I get scared during movies even though the characters are assholes (Paranormal Activity, for example).

  2. October 27th marked the one year anniversary of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Club. Our gracious host and originator of this club, TheAnswerMVP2001, has put the club on Hiatus since July. Today, four months later, I am messaging you, as one of the original members of the club, to see if you are still interested in continuing the tradition of the 1001 Film club. Lets pick up where we left off, selecting films from the extensive 1001 Movies list for the club members to review, and also occasionally review the films that other members have selected.

    Long ago, I decided to make 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die the main focus of my website, and this club was a great way of reading what others had to say on the subject, and I miss it. I would be honoured if you would agree to continue our year-old tradition in the same fashion as TheAnswerMVP2001 ran it. I would be happy to host our discussions on my site at

    Please let me know if this is something you'd like to continue. If we get enough people on board, I shall pick up the torch and keep it running.

    Please feel free to contact me through the contact form at

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

  3. Hey,

    The response back from Club members has been amazing!

    On the week of November 29th to December 5th, 2010, I will be hosting an good old fashioned Blog-A-Thon to re-inaugurate the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club.

    After months of waiting for it to start again, I decided to just host the Club myself, and I'd love to have you as a member once again. I am writing you today to invite you to contribute a post (or posters!), on the first film on the epic 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die List, George Méliès' "A Trip To The Moon" (1902) aka "Le voyage dans la lune." Since you're an old club member, it would be great to see your contribution!

    One of the many great things about "A Trip To The Moon" is that this short film is available everywhere for viewing. I've put a couple links for you of the complete film at the bottom of the page.

    If you're interested, drop me a link or a line through my site (, and feel free to spread the word!

    Un voyage dans la lune:
    Alternate link:

  4. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.