Mystery (from English mystery for "secret", "riddle") is the original English name in German for a genre in entertainment literature that can best be understood as a mixture of horror and fantasy elements; References to science fiction are also less common (e.g. Dark City by Alex Proyas , 1998). The aspects of the supernatural, the mysterious and the inexplicable are characteristic of the mystery genre. The TV series The X-Files - The FBI's Weird Cases (1993-2002) and the film The Sixth Sense (1999) by M. Night Shyamalan are often cited as triggers for the wave of mysteries of the 1990s and 2000s .
While most cases of Mystery series, Mystery film and Mystery spoken literature, occurred occasionally encountered name in English as feminine , the strong mystery, probably as with the previous Fantasy based on both modern genres influencing traditional fantasy .
The term tends to be used differently in German than in English, since "mystery" primarily refers to crime literature. Supernatural happenings are only marginal there. Although the supernatural is often pursued and researched in the German mystery genre, there is rarely any overlap with the actual crime genre.
Historically, there was a brief appearance of the term mystery in US trivial literature in the 1930s and early 1940s in the context of the horror genre; These were regular series of dime novels and comics that had the title mystery in the magazine title (e.g. Thrilling Mysteries , Dime Mystery , Thrilling Mystery or Spicy Mystery ) and in which private detectives came across monsters. The then contemporary term for this short-lived genre was, however, weird menace ( German for "supernatural threat"), while the German term mystery as a genre name did not appear until the mid-1990s at the earliest.
The genres dark fantasy and supernatural drama come closest to the German genre term mystery ; At the same time, the German mystery stands for a particularly dark, mysterious style that works with vague hints of supernatural or occult fantasy and horror elements than for a specific genre term.
Differentiation from other genres
The best way to differentiate mystery from other genres is to look at the approach to supposed supernatural phenomena used there. A particular affinity of the mystery genre to ambivalence, ambivalence and opacity is noticeable, namely an ambivalence in terms of representation or perception, as well as an ambivalence in the motivations, intentions or triggers behind supernatural events.
In contrast to the horror film , the depiction of the uncanny is much more reserved, as there is usually no simple good / bad scheme. The main human characters and their emotions are more in the foreground; Instead of the indicated supernatural events, the subjective perception of horror feelings or impressions experienced by the characters is often made clearer based on the overall effect of images, sounds and music, which is why there is also a certain proximity to the psychological thriller . In horror films, everything that is supernatural is generally real, while in mystery films, which work with vague hints, there is seldom a separation between reality and imagination or illusion, or at least it is delayed much longer.
In general, it can be said that in addition to perception, the supernatural, supernatural and the hereafter are presented as much more ambivalent. While ghosts and the undead in horror films usually come across as the personification of evil, as evil per se, the plot of a mystery film usually works in such a way that the frightening messages from the afterlife and the appearance of the undead have a meaning that the protagonist is in As the film unfolds. Classically, z. B. draw the undead's attention to the injustice that has been done to him or even warn the protagonist of impending disaster.
In the field of television series , one describes series in the style of Twilight Zone (since 1959), Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017), The X Files (1993–2002), Outer Limits - The Unknown Dimension (1995–2002), X-Factor (1997–2002), Lost (2004–2010), Supernatural (since 2005), Fringe (2008–2013) or Haven (2010–2015) as a mystery series. Often, conspiracy theories are used, according to which government, state, authorities and / or other powerful organizations actively cover up the supernatural. A German variant of this TV genre was the series Operation Phoenix - Jäger Between the Worlds , which was produced and broadcast by RTL in 1997 , but only had one season.
In the field of films, too, one speaks of mystery: this includes, for example, Alejandro Amenábar's The Others (2001) and the films by US directors M. Night Shyamalan and David Lynch , but also film noir productions such as B. The Return of Whistler (1948).
In the field of literature, u. a. Christian Humberg's Gotham Noir from Rohde Verlag as a mystery series.
- Nina Waldkirch: The trend towards the mystery genre in new novels and film adaptations. Dan Brown , Arturo Pérez-Reverte and Wolfgang Hohlbein . Tectum Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8288-9365-8 ( literature and media , volume 1).
- Georg Seeßlen : From horror to mystery . Website Kinofenster.de , themed edition Mystical Horror , January 2001. Accessed on May 8, 2011.
- The mystery film and its enthusiasm . Website Kino-Movies.de . Retrieved May 8, 2011.