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We all know by now that the extra anticipated show The Strain by the hands of Guillermo del Toro, the director and writer who gave us the magnificent Pan's Labyrinth, will be a deep journey of sci-fi horror and possibly the first serious attempt of the TV show industry into blending the two genres that gave us classic masterpieces like Alien.

However, looking at sci-fi horrors of the 21st century like the movie Prometheus and the unique (that's exactly the word) SyFy show Helix, we should have a look at the things The Strain mustn't do in order to become a breathtaking experience.

1. We need scientists, not "scientists"

One of the main reasons the above sci-fi horrors, Prometheus and Helix, did wrong was the believability of their scientists. Laughable dialogue, decisions that scream unprofessionalism, moronic ideas and fatal logical mistakes not even a 12-year-old kid wouldn't do should steer clear from The Strain or at least from The Strain scientists. After all, we already saw in the trailer a random dude approaching what seemed to be a resting Grim Reaper, who is, as the readers of the book say, one of the Originals and by far the most dangerous of them (I guess - you know, since he is growling and stick that terrifying tongue on you).


2. Create an atmospheric environment by any means necessary

The main concept of any successful horror story is to have a slow start where everything will seem normal, or what casual audience would call "boring" (aka safe). While the "boring" is unraveling, the show, by any means necessary (cinematography, music scores, acting, etc), must gradually build, stone by stone, an enthralling and atmospheric environment without the audience actually realizing it. When the last stone is placed and the character along with the audience are trapped (in this case, the epidemic restricts the actions and space of the characters), lights "go out" and the beast shall enter the atmospheric arena. It is wise not to show us their appearance from the beginning but gradually reveal more and more until the full monstrosity is in front of us.


3. Give us a satisfactory sci-fi explanation of the vampirism


While I haven't read the books, those who actually sucked them (with their eyes, not the tongue/gastroscopic tube) say that the first book goes into great detail about the functionality of the vampires, how their organs work, how the virus is mutating the host, why and how they digest blood, all coming from the capable CDC team that investigates the outbreak. Sci-fi adaptations for the vampires are very rare and I can only recall the Underworld franchise and the Daybreakers with an adaptation like that. Despite The Strain has a hardcore supernatural adaptation for the origins of the vampires, a well-thought sci-fi explanation for their general functions would be a great addition to the sci-fi genre and the vampire fan community.


4. Give to the vampires realistic personalities and motives

One common mistake with the vampire drama shows like The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and True Blood are the unrealistic personalities of the vampires. Without any doubt, creatures that lived for centuries in the dark, practically cut-off from humanity, killing every night to feed (at least The Strain vampires don't seem to have any choice even if they don't want to), watching humanity change without any real change won't really be interested in romance and drama. The chances are, the elder the vampire, the more he will despise humanity. However, to that equation we should add maturity, self-control and a strategic, out-of-the-box, big-picture way of thinking and realizing the environment. The vampires who meet the "Grim-Reaper"-one-of-the-originals vampire in the trailer seem to be some kind of Elders and they are in a good path of persuading us that they do act, feel and think like centuries-old creatures.


5. Be more frightening than jump-scary and gross

Jump-scares and extensive "gross factor" are identification cards of "cheap" horror. The Strain, if it means to be quality, needs to base its terror on the atmospheric environment and the necessary plot twists. The plot twists complete the horror puzzle after the audience has watched "boring" sequences that distract them from the atmospheric environment which is being established around them, the characters are trapped in that environment (and the audience is imprisoned) and the monster is walking in the hallways. Plot twists are breaking any assumptions and logical rules the audience has made and completely disorient, resulting in a truly horrifying experience where everything can change/happen. The most successful horror movies, Psycho and Alien has used exactly the above recipe and I expect from The Strain to do the same.


Do you agree with my points? Have anything to add? I'm hearing your thoughts as I craft a mental sledgehammer to escape the mental horror prison del Toro may prepare as we speak...
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