The purpose of the article is to determine the genre specifics of horror, one of the most popular and dynamically developing genres of mass literature. In contrast to the rather thoroughly considered cinematic genre of horror, horror in literature requires closer attention from researchers. The relevance of the study of mass literature in general and individual popular genres in particular is due to their specifics, namely the wide coverage of the readership, a significant impact on the mass consciousness, the ability to reflect and form cultural stereotypes. As a result of the analysis of trends in the modern literary process, conclusions were drawn about the reasons for the popularity of horror literature, its psychological and social functions were considered, the most important of which were recognized as sublimation and aestheticization of negative experiences. The genre-forming features of horror were identified, including suspense, naturalism, heightened attention to death, reflection of common phobias, appeal to mythological and folklore archetypes. It was noted that horror combines elements of different popular genres, such as thriller, detective story, mystical fantasy. It is concluded that secondary character as one of the features of mass literature and, in particular, the horror genre is manifested in the allusionness and intertextuality of the works of this genre. The novelty of the study lies in the clarification of the genre nature of horror, in the establishing of the reasons for the genre popularity. The obtained results can be used for further research of the horror genre. The prospects for the study are related to the possibility of concretizing and clarifying theoretical provisions in the course of a detailed analysis of Russian horror literature.
Horror, horror aesthetics, culture of fear, genre, mass literature, modern literary process.