What better time to take a serious look at the meat, bone and blood of horror movies than at Halloween?
Freud was right. The human being has a dark side that can manifest in various ways,
One of the best-known big-screen villains coming from that dark side is Darth Vader.
And what about horror movies themselves? Are they far from our reality? Are they the pure fantasies of sick minds of writers gone completely crazy?
The horror genre is in fact much more “human” than we might like to imagine.
The Genre Seminar by Robert Mckee presents a real philosophical immersion in the horror genre. Before listening to McKee, I had a prejudice against watching villains like Freddy Krueger. But after hearing the analysis McKee makes of Freddy Krueger movies, I became interested!
There is no denying that everybody has little bit of sadist in his makeup. This sadism is manifested in many ways:
• Cutting off somebody in traffic for no good reason (and then in your rear-view you see the face of an old man just trying to survive a drive).
• Giving somebody the finger
• Laughing at the misfortunes of others
• Telling distasteful jokes about celebrities and their private lives
• Making fun of tragedies: disease, death, dying, loss
In fact, we all have some unconscious desire to hurt others, to make fun of others, or worse. The scary thing is that this dark side of us is often totally unconscious.
THE HORROR IN BUSINESS
Too many come to power by taking advantage of others. All too often, darkness becomes the established context, and then the horrible are everywhere:
• Speculators who destroy markets
• Competitors who are sadistic
• Competitors who are unfair
• Bosses who bully
• Leaders who fabricate
• Advertisers who make and break promises
Worse, it tends to be only in the extreme situation that we learn who someone really is at heart.
In these situations, if that someone is not nice, the horror emerges and it becomes clear who is a monster and who is the victim. Just like in the movies.
But movies can push us to give vent to our unconscious negative predispositions and so are a good catalyst for us to express our dark side. There are people who argue in traffic; there are people who tell sick jokes; and there are people who go to see a good horror movie. I prefer the last method of discharging what they call today a bad vibe.
The fact is, if we don’t let our fears out, if we don’t let them be expressed in a safe environment, we can end up with serious problems. Are you living with somebody who represses everything? This is trouble getting ready to happen!
A writer of horror film works hard to to force us to feel our fears. A horror movie is good if it makes us afraid. If it doesn’t do that, it isn’t good! It’s as simple as that.
THE HORROR IN PRESENTATIONS
Now, over the last eight years I have seen some presentations that are a real horror show!
The presenter thinks he or she is doing the job, but the audience is actually “terrified” of those bullets, texts and schizophrenic slides.
To create a good presentation, we need to understand and to recognize that our audience has many fears.
- Fear of competition
- Fear of being out of work
- Fear of having to spend more than is being earned
- Fear of losing what has been saved
- Fear of not being able to take care of our families
And it is all too human!
So for your presentation to be a “love story” and not a horror show that exploits your listeners, why not address their fears directly and then deliver solutions?
Steve Jobs did this very well. He confronted a problem, he explored the possible consequences of the problem, and he created a heroic solution in the form of a product.
Your own presentations can even start with a touch of suspense and terror, but at a certain point you must depart that path and lead your audience to a happy ending by addressing their fears.
In a horror movie, the hero, and the victims are just trying to survive. At a boring presentation, the same thing is happening; the listener is doing just that: trying to survive!
What can be worse than death?
Worse than death is a state in which life is so unbearable one begs to die. At this terrible point, death becomes a solution! Good horror films exploit this idea. The problem is that some presenters do the same thing! They make their audiences crave for an end to the pain, the end of the presentation. And so they manage to accomplish exactly the opposite of their intention and drive away the people they set out to attract.
So it’s simple. If you want your presentation to be a horror show, just follow the recipe employed by Mckee in Hollywood movies:
• Activate the imagination of the audience
• Mislead the audience
• Create emotional discomfort in the audience
• Stir up the unconscious of the audience
• Detonate the last defenses of the audience
• Put the horror in the brain of the poor audience.
If you do all this, you will have something impactful, maybe even exciting, but it won’t be good! Because business is not a movie.