One of the things that always fascinates me every now and then is how certain genres (even in totally different mediums) just seem to go well together. Well, today, I thought that I’d offer a brief partial explanation for why this happens.
A while before I wrote this article, I was watching random music videos on Youtube when I happened to stumble across this dramatic horror movie-style heavy metal music video [WARNING: Contains stylised scenes of violence and torture], after seeing a video of the band’s lead singer performing an absolutely amazing vocal cover of “The Clairvoyant” by Iron Maiden.
The interesting thing is that, if it had been any other musical genre, I’d have probably found the horror movie-style music video to be significantly more disturbing. But, since it’s a music video for a very intense metal song (it’s kind of a bit like shouty ’00s-style metal though), my reaction was just “yeah, this song would probably have a horror-themed video. Meh.”
And yet, in theory, the horror genre and the heavy metal genre shouldn’t have anything in common. One is a type of music and the other is a genre of fiction, and yet they go together surprisingly well.
Of course, the reason why the heavy metal genre and the horror genre go so well together is all to do with the emotional tone of each genre. Both genres try to evoke intense feelings in their audience, both genres have a certain visceral energy to them, both genres are sometimes about shock value and both genres are often about emotional catharsis.
Even though they’re totally different things, they have a lot of emotions and themes in common with each other and – as such – they go together really well.
The same can be seen in lots of other interesting genre blends – for example, why does the cyberpunk genre often feature gothic fashions?
Both genres are kind of about free-thinking people (whether they’re ordinary real people or whether they’re fictional computer hackers) trying to find their individuality in a bland, nihilistic, corporate-controlled culture. Both genres also focus on the power of the intellect (whether it’s gothic introspection or a cyberpunk hacker’s computer skills etc…).
Both gothic fashion and cyberpunk cinema/comics/fiction have at least a slight emotional and thematic overlap with each other – as such, they go well together.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule – for example, the horror and comedy genre can go well together – but, in general, you’ll find that two genres (even if they’re in totally different mediums) often go together really well if they both have emotional and/or thematic similarities with each other.
Sorry for the ludicrously short (and badly-written) article, but I hope it was interesting 🙂