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TERROR X HORROR: What's the difference?

Ariane Cabral de Melo | 05 January, 2022

horror x terror

Have you ever noticed when you go to buy a book, or download a movie, or watch a movie, that there is confusion between horror and horror? Did you know that there is a difference between them? And what are these differences, between horror and terror?


I'm going to use four movie trailers that you know of so you can discuss a little bit this distinction between horror and terror. The movies are The Blair Witch (1999 version), Chain of Evil, Summoning of Evil, and Anabelle. Well, to begin with, this confusion between horror and terror begins with the fact that often the boundaries between these two categories of the fantastic get mixed up. This confusion is not new today, in fact, back in the 19th century an English writer, one of the main writers of the Gothic, Ann Radcliffe, was already trying to distinguish between horror and terror. For example, she said that terror expands our soul, while horror contracts our soul, freezes our soul. That is, it's not a very clear definition, I even prefer a Stephen King version, of this distinction between the two - a great master of American horror - he said that "I will try to terrify the reader, but if I realize I won't succeed, I will try to horrify him, and then if I can't horrify him, I will appeal to explicit horror. So you see in King's definition, actually, it's not even a definition, but an attempt to show the importance of each category, you see that horror requires a little bit more play on the part of the writer or the filmmaker. Terror needs more elaboration to have an effect on the reader and the viewer, whereas horror is more basic, in the sense that it has a direct response in the physical person. We will talk a bit about this distinction in a moment.


Terror originates from the Latin word "terrere", which means to cause fear, and we can see this in both The Blair Witch and The Chain of Evil because they appeal to the psychological. This is the keyword to understand terror, terror is psychological. It works inside our mind, in our expectation that something is going to happen and we get that tension. So, it scares us, causes us fear, apprehension, that anxiety about what is going to happen. Horror, on the other hand, also has its origin in the Latin word "horrere", which means to make your hair stand on end, to shake, to shiver, as in "The Evil Summoning". And that's exactly it, because who sees a scene like that, those little clapping hands of the devil, and doesn't their hair stand on end? (Evil Summoning video). By the way, this is a very used resource nowadays, that is "based on true history", it makes you even more apprehensive.


You can see, for example, when I say that the boundaries between the two end up blurring sometimes, is that generally, in movies this is very common. As you can see there (in the video), the mother is apprehensive because she is hearing some sounds and she doesn't know exactly what they are and she comes across a door that leads to a dark place. And let's remember, the dark is the place where we put our fears, where we project our anguishes and anxieties. So, at that moment, what we are seeing is terror: "what is going on? And, as it happens in movies, terror ends up generating the beginning of horror, preparing for horror. And horror is precisely what you will see there, which is the appearance, the encounter with the creature. Horror is physical, the keyword to understand horror is this, so it makes our hair stand on end, makes us tremble, shake, causes an effect on our body. The encounter with the monster. This is very common in these exorcism movies, you have that encounter with the devil. You see scenes of repulsion, bodies gliding, and so on.


In this case, the last one we are seeing, Anabelle, which is a whole horror theme, is about possessed objects. Evil Summoning and Anabelle are horror films because they focus well on this presence of the monstrous. It generates an initial pressure, which appeals to the psychological part, but the real strength is to provoke the horror, this contact with the supernatural.
Another category of the fantastic is Thriller. Thriller operates on more or less the same basis as horror, but Thriller does not use supernatural elements. Suspense is terror without the supernatural, such as the shark.

Video link: TERROR X HORROR: What's the difference? - YouTube

Medieval Legends: LILITH - Adam's FIRST wife

Who is this Lilith, Adam's first wife, anyway? If when I learned this say that the first couple of humanity was Adam and Eve. What draws attention in the Lilith issue is her presence until today in pop culture, in the culture of the fantastic, be it in literature, movies, comics, even in video games. For example, we observe the presence of Lilith in the Supernatural series, she first appears as a child, but even the producers changed the character, to avoid children in scenes of violence, and Lilith started appearing in her adult form. She also appears in the True Blood series, where she already appears in the recurring figure of the vampire goddess, usually, Lilith appears in this form, as the queen of vampires. Another appearance of Lilith in the pop universe many people may remember from childhood is Lilithmon, in the Digimon series. And, who hasn't played with Lilith in a Capcom game?!

adam and eve in the garden eden with snake and aple

After all, why so much controversy surrounding this character? This polemic is rooted at the beginning of everything, in the book of Genesis, when we have chapter 2, verse 23:


"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man."
That is the moment when Eve was created. But why did Adam say "bone of my bones"? Why, then, did he have an earlier one? Maybe the translation you have in your house could be like this: "This one is bone of my bones [...]". In any case, this passage of Eve's creation always gives an idea that there was something, there was someone before Eve. Another passage casts doubt on the presence of Lilith as Adam's first wife, in the book of Isaiah, chapter 34, verse 14:
"And the beasts of the wilderness shall meet with hyenas, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow, and Lilith shall rest there, and find a place of rest for himself."
Maybe in the translation, you have, instead of Lilith it might say "nocturnal animals" or "nocturnal animal", or even "owl" or "demon". This is because there has been a change, it also depends on translations and on the way the text is presented. Let's remember here that the Bible that we have today was instituted by the Medieval Catholic Church at the Council of Trent, in the 16th century. And then, when the so-called Vulgate Bible was released, it no longer had the name Lilith in the biblical text, it was already being translated as "owl", as "nocturnal animals", and so on. In other words, since the institution of the Bible, let's call it the "official Bible", at the Council of Trent, Lilith's name had already been omitted, but she was still part of Jewish folklore since the Middle Ages.


And what is the relationship of Jewish folklore with this character? This relationship begins back in antiquity, in the first civilizations of humanity, in Sumeria, also in Babylon. We have the presence of this goddess, because of her owl's feet there was this association with Lilith. Among these people Lilith is called "the nocturnal one", the nocturnal creature, a winged female demon. And this connection between this goddess, this supernatural creature from Sumeria and ancient Mesopotamia, was also connected to the Hebrew universe, in the 6th and 7th century B.C., when the Hebrews were exiled to Babylon and remained there as captives of this civilization. And it was there that this contact of the Hebrews with Lilith took place.


When it came to the Middle Ages, we had the presence of Lilith in the texts, mainly in the Ben-sirá Alphabet. This is where we have the basis of Lilith as Adam's first wife, which we know today, it is a text from the 9th and 10th centuries. And there we learn that the child prodigy Ben Sira - it is worth pointing out that this Alphabet of Ben Sira is a text of anonymous authorship and there is narrated the story of the child prodigy Ben Sira - who gives to the king of Babylon an amulet with the name of three angels, Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof. And this amulet had the power to protect the king's newborn son from Lilith, the night demon, Adam's first wife. And when asked about this story, Ben Sirá tells the story of how Adam was created from the primordial clay, as we know it, and Lilith was also created. That is, both Adam and Lilith were the first couple, created from the primordial clay, that is, equal positions. And by having equal positions Lilith did not accept to be submissive to Adam in the first sexual relationship. Adam wanted to be on top, Lilith also wanted to be on top, and the first r.d. in the history of mankind occurred. Lilith, seeing that Adam would not give in, would not accept her as his equal, uttered God's secret name and flew away and exiled herself to the Red Sea. Then Adam was left without a wife and went crying to God, and he sent the three angels (Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof) to try to convince Lilith to return to Adam. She did not accept, and the angels cursed her, saying that all her offspring would die, for every day, for all eternity. Lilith in turn took revenge and said that she would kill all of Adam's children, in this case, it is us. Remember that Lilith's anger increased, even more, when God created Eve. This time, in order not to have fatigue, Eve was already born in an inferior position to Adam, being born from his part, from his rib.


Still according to artists, over the centuries since then, Lilith has been there tormenting Adam and Eve. Sometimes she is even the serpent who gives Eve the apple, which led to the couple's fall. But this is already artistic freedom since there are mentions in the Bible that a demon was the serpent in Eden, who gave Eve the apple, that whole story that we know.


The fact is that since then Lilith has been associated as the one who attacks men. She attacks the sons of Adam, especially at night, the young men. In the Middle Ages, for example, it was very common for the nocturnal orgasms, called "night pollutions", that men had, to be associated with Lilith, that she went there and seduced him, in the form of the succubus (flying female demon).
The same amulet mentioned in Jewish folklore is also placed next to the children, the newborns so that they would not die at the hands of Lilith. This association, this strong sexual element of Lilith as the one who attacks men at night, also promoted this association with another creature from Greek mythology, Lamia. She also presents a seductive form, which ends up leading young men to death, tears the flesh from their bones, and monstrously reveals itself. Both Lilith and Lamia ended up creating this image of the first vampires, the first destroyers of the vital essence of humanity.


When the Hebrews were imprisoned in Babylon, they came into contact with Lilith. Why did Lilith disappear? Because the Hebrews would not let this moment, this whole period that they spent in Babylon, go unnoticed. For political motivation, according to scholars, they decided to remove Lilith from the original text of Genesis, which served both the Jewish Genesis and the Christian Genesis. That is, originally, according to the legend, Lilith would be in the original Genesis narrative, but as the Jews came in contact with her through their captors, they eliminated her from the original narrative and only left these brief "gaps", which even today end up fostering this legend of her as Adam's first wife.
It is a character that has fascinated artists throughout humanity, as shown in Richard Westall's painting Faust and Lilith, which actually references a scene from Goethe's Faust. Faust, after having made a diabolical pact, has the chance to dance with Lilith, who appears as a seductive witch. She also appears, as a witch, in Dante Gabriel Rossetti's work.