Is there any origin point for recent historical trends like "backrooms" or "liminal spaces" Is there anything from the 90's or before that predicted these sorts of later trends in the horror genre?
History of Horror
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"found footage" horror like Blair Witch Project is a direct predecessor to today's "analogue horror".
certain types of locations being seen as creepy has been around forever, although it didn't have a gay zoomer name like "liminal spaces".
I'm not particularly into the new stuff enough to know a lot about it but it seems to just be eerily or unnaturally empty spaces or something like that? I imagine it developed from urban exploring in general, which likely goes back for forever. If we're talking about media then maybe the 1970s Stalker movie and the book it's based on, Roadside Picnic, which involve the Zone, which is a mostly empty area after being evacuated (though there are natural "traps" that can be dangerous) due to a nuclear disaster (the movie likely is because of this) or aliens landing and fucking with physics. Not that I think those are the first, but they're early examples.
Not even joking I think it's just the fact that people under age 25 can't remember a time when they weren't bombarded with artificial noise and consoomerist media. So they think an empty room full of vintage furniture and ambient noise is some ethereal place even though that was just an unremarkable afternoon in my apartment in 2000.
The whole idea behind "liminal spaces" are that they are spaces which are transitory so they are supposed to be filled with noise. Like a playground with no kids, or a multiplayer map played singleplayer. People just overextend this concept to dumb shit that doesn't fit. Pic related is liminal, it should be a place where kids are playing around, but when it's empty and you're alone there it feels wrong because you're used to seeing people there as long as you actually go outside.
This is not a liminal space at all. Liminal spaces are not for "being". A highway is a luminal space. An empty space with a different purpose is not liminal.
well at certain times the liminality of certain places does wax
parks, golf courses, etc are actually good examples because they are visited or interacted with transiently
you're not supposed to stay there long
NGL, being from a low population area, I never found things like empty play grounds creepy. Of course the play ground would be empty when me or my family got there.
Nah I think liminal spaces is just zoomies getting fidgety over not being stimulated every second of their lives.
I like to stop at empty playgrounds during my walks, they're comforting. Walking through the now abandoned mall from my childhood is weird though. It was even a bit scary when I got trapped in an exit hallway (door in was one way and the exit door got jammed), since nobody could hear.
Death of God, Poe and Lovecraft when it comes to Backrooms. Backrooms got popular because they struck at the idea that the world might be fake and something terrifying that we cannot understand exist underneath it. The reason why this kind of horror got popular is that with the death of religion we are slowly having to deal with the existential horror of reality and so we create stories about it.
As for "liminal spaces" honestly they have kind of been memed into being scary, I find them often mostly comfy.
>Backrooms got popular because they struck at the idea that the world might be fake and something terrifying that we cannot understand exist underneath it.
the motif is prefigured broadly in folk lore more or less everywhere since forever, it's really just a post modern recontextualization
between the here and there, fey/otherworld, the road, threshold and window, surface of water, black dogs, chimeras, *labyrinth*, haunts, dawn and dusk, ec
This. Another example is the Dreamworld created by Lovecraft - not that the idea is entirely new.
On a different note: Horror came in a variety of different forms. One can argue that christian depictions of Hell and the Day of Judgment have aspects of horror in them - religious motifs go hand in hand with entertaining stories.
A nice example of this is the play Faust by Goethe. Here the eponymous Dr. Faust makes a pact with the devil to live a hedonistic life, which backfires on a grand scale. Through this pact he is able to circumvent the natural laws (and thus the law of God) to create hommunculi, magic potions and unnatural youth. In the end the story is of course a christian salvation story and the Good prevails in the end over the Devil.
The whole point of horror is to present us with thoughts that we might find uncomfortable, so it's bo wonder that religious dogma makes use of it even if it's ironically to demonize thoughts they don't like and try and control you.
maybe it's just the fear of loneliness and smartphone deprivation
No it's something else, I experience it before smartphones. I think people have experience it in modern era where large buildings are common, but they hadn't had a name for it until now.
I can tell you that I have experienced "liminal spaces" aesthetic multiple times in my life and I was very surprised to learn there was a name for it. Earliest I can remember is walking in an empty school when I was like 7 or so, I think I had stayed behind helping clean up and I walked to the front gate to my mom, passing the empty hallways and big empty yard it had. Growing up I had a much stranger experience again school, my high school was really big, lot of hallways and I often dated behind helping clean up for a club I was part of, when I left , it felt very weird to walk in long empty hallways, one after another. I can't explain it, it's scary but also feels "off" and peaceful. Others have been walking in a big empty store after closing when I worked retail, walking in a big empty huge building in a work I had downtown and I had a long day and left late.
It's the kind of feeling when a predator is nearby, and everything goes quiet. I experienced it hunting in the woods. At some point it gets dead silent and it's a very eerie feeling.
To me it wasn't like that, it was a combination of slight unnerving and also a weird feeling of something being off but at the same time a feeling of peacefulness. It was weird, I wouldn't call it just scary, its different. It also made me want to go home but not in a scary way, but like emotionally tired way, like I done a lot that day and wanted to fo home and just see my family. There is a hint of happiness to it because you are in this lonely place but soon you won't be, but you also get to enjoy the peacefulness of the moment
100% the feeling of being predated!
Can’t think of a better way to describe it
I was just about to make the exact same comment! As a kid, I’d take a shortcut home from my mate’s place by cutting through the grounds of my school. I used to fucking leg it every time coz it scared the piss out of me.
There was just something about the silence. Being all alone in a place that should be packed with people and noisy as fuck
That's why I don't think it's zoomer thing. I bet you there was some New York worker in the 50s, working in some building who experienced this. It's a modern experience because it's possible because of the structures we find ourselves in nowdays. Makes me think that the human experience can also be limited by your environment so in the future peoeple will be able to build new structures and experience new things. Imagine the first person who does a solo space flight in deep space with nothing around them.
I'd say that the liminal spaces trend is just a modern successor to the longstanding superstitions surrounding crossroads.
The basic concept of the Backrooms is just "wouldn't it be spooky if you could clip out of reality like in a 3d video game?".
Besides, Lovecraft (muh non-eucledian geometry), House of Leaves, and various sci-fi works where hyperspace is scary are obvious influences to the backroom.
About analouge horror in general, it's basically about turning nostalgia into horror. This is a sign of the times, since nostalgia is very central in our current culture (just think about how many top films are remakes). But in a way it's not really a new concept: putting horror in the past and memories has always been a staple of the genre forever. That's pretty much what the concept of ghosts is about.