Stephen King's Three Levels Of Horror
The prolific author's many film adaptations draw on a range of emotions.
So many of Stephen King’s novels and stories have been adapted into films and television series that at times it’s easier to keep track of what hasn’t yet made it into some other medium. And while there’s a fair amount of his work that doesn’t fall into horror—The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, to name a few—he’s most easily identified as one of the most prolific horror writers of his generation. He’s also a keen analyst of his own work and the genre he dabbles in most, breaking down the craft of writing and what emotions really stick with an audience when interacting with a story. This video essay breaks down King’s three levels of horror—emotional reactions of increasing severity that are paired with the type of scare on the page or on the screen. Do people cringe because something is gross, or because they can’t believe what they’re seeing? Or is the true scare in the anticipation and the unseen?