Covid-19 and “Quar-horror”
If you’re the type of person who loves a good scary movie, most would say the current global Covid-19 pandemic is like a horror movie that we have all been living in since about March. There have been over one million worldwide deaths, business shutdowns, riots and all other kinds of disorder. Now because of this pandemic we have all grown accustomed to staying indoors more and not being able to go out as much.
Staying inside more can lead to depression, boredom, and unproductivity, which can be really bad for some people’s health, and they need different ways to cope with the stress of the situation. According to Vivian Manning-Schaffel, COVID has inspired a new subgenre of horror films called, “quar-horror” because filmmakers have started using the pandemic as a way to create new films that can reflect the emotions people are feeling. The study also showed that horror films are proven to release that built up tension we have which is why this new “quar-horror” genre seems to be so popular at the moment.
Manning-Schaffel goes on to say, “the key to understanding anxiety and fear is uncertainty,” which means that our brains have evolved so that we worry during times of uncertainty, and people who worry more are more likely to survive than those who don’t. So when watching a horror film, that feeling of uncertainty or uneasiness releases a kind of “safe excitement” in us, which is kind of what’s happening to us with the pandemic. We are trying to be safe and practice social distancing but are still uncertain about what’s actually going on and wondering if it will ever end. Another reason why this new genre is so popular now is because it creates that sense of bonding that everyone is lacking during this time. You could be watching a movie with your family or close friends, or even feel that connection virtually with a character in the movie. Manning-Schaffel also stated that the pandemic is allowing us to be more physically safe and that these horror films are showing us a much more realistic view, meaning that before the pandemic and all of the chaos, it would be typical to say those famous words when watching a scary movie “what if that actually happened” but now we are asking whether we will get through this global pandemic and whether life will ever go back to normal.
The best way to find some of these quar-horror movies would be through YouTube. There are plenty of homemade horror flicks. According to Neda Ulaby, one of these films called Host was filmed entirely over Zoom over the course of 12 weeks during quarantine and debuted on the horror channel Shudder. Every director Ulaby interviewed said they filmed their movies at home and even used their family and kids as part of the cast and crew. Overall, the directors and Neda wanted to make sure people understand that they are not trying to make fun or disrespect the pandemic at all, just want to help people through everything and horror movies can be a great way to process our fears, and of course, pass the time.