When the story is designed as a stereotypical ‘horror’ genre plot: characters are shown having some everyday concerns, but there is failure,or punishment for immorality ( ie, Jason movies) or some flaw, that generally precedes the death scene. Even the ‘goody two shoes’ is punished, and presented as a fantasy of revenge of the average person; some vicarious retribution for the disgruntled viewer who is frustrated with a co-worker who does everything better, or the high school jock, or cheerleader, or rich kids, whatever. The target audience, is, in this case, people who will see the ‘horror’ scenes as part of a series of shock, and disturbing gruesome images, a series of loss, and fright. Perhaps a mystery, anticipating who, if any will survive; and try to find meaning in it. And relief, when the imaginary menace is over. Or Catharsis – like the tragedies of old, invoked.
A more recent presentation is the horror comedy. Where light-hearted, silly, or satirical drama, played as farce, with a sitcom type plot, has moments of ‘horror’ and/or explicit gore. In this case, the pre-code horror scenes, seem like hyperbole.
What I had envisioned, was the adventure /soap opera, that refers to pre-code horror scenes in the narrative, and also shows them. For example, if the cast is in the jungle, and comes across a village, and the surviving members describe soldiers on horseback, setting fire to the town, and thousands of villagers are killed. In the earlier mentioned ( first ) presentation, the verbal description is given. And, the response from the cast is seemingly minimal, and the event seems almost insignificant to the way the associated antagonist is viewed.