Over the last few months, I’ve watched a lot of television shows and movies, that albeit good and entertaining, I’ve noticed an unnerving possibility that these stories could be realities. Such in themselves transcend a typical horror genre of jump scares or traditional psychological fright, and seem like it’s becoming something of a new genre of horror, in the horror that such fucked up stories could be modern day reality, with just a few realistic tweaks to the world here and there.
Black Mirror and Get Out come to mind pretty quickly, but what really pushes the ball down the path is The Handmaid’s Tale, which the present story is disturbing and disheartening, but it’s really the series of flashbacks that really invoke horror, as modern American society crumbles and deteriorates into the dystopian, Christianity-driven world of Gilead.
That’s really the horror of the show; believable, relatable situations, that especially in today’s modern society, feel like things that could very easily happen with just a little bit of coercion in the wrong direction. Dystopian inequality? Just a few wrong bureaucrats voted in away. Legalized xenophobia? Same impetus. Fahrenheit 451 becoming a reality, technology evolving into wrong directions, people getting hanged in public, these are all things that feel like they could become common place with just a few wrong decisions from society here and there.
And I feel like storytelling of today is very much aware of this new genre of horror, and is capitalizing on it, leading to such frightening and captivating television and film. Much like trainwrecks, they’re hard to turn away from, but goddamn does it provoke thought and make you wonder just how close to chaos it feels like the “real” world is actually operating under, and if things will ever get better, or are all these nihilistic ideas a little too close to reality, and it’s not so much a matter of if, but when shit hits the fan and these stories become reality.