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Dark Fantasy vs. Horror

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#1 A Fatalist Dawn

A Fatalist Dawn

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 05:50 PM

Where would you place the line between dark fantasy and "true" horror? I think it is important to draw a distinction, as dark fantasy and horror are fairly distinct. I often hear that people who read dark fantasy don't like horror and vice versa.


What's interesting is that "dark" is such a nebulous term in fiction. It could mean anything from dystopian or amoral to horror-inspired.


Here is my understanding of it:



- Aims to unnerve, frighten, disturb, disgust.

- Intrusion of horrific element in otherwise normal setting.

- Focuses on the experiences of survivors.

- More explicit than dark fantasy.


Dark Fantasy

- Aims to tell a "darker," grittier fantasy story.

- Can sometimes offer a more sympathetic view of the monsters.

- Focuses on the experiences of heroes fighting monsters.

- More atmospheric than horror.

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