My love for the horror genre started when I was very young, probably too young to be watching scary movies in the first place. They scared the crap outta me. But did being scared for months on end stop me from watching them over and over again?
Along with my younger brother, every summer, we’d beg our gramma to let us watch them before bed, despite it always ending in us following her around the apartment all night afterwards. My memories are filled with scenes from Carrie, It, Idle Hands, Nightmare on Elm Street, Candyman, Lake Placid, and so on. I loved reading Goosebumps, and craved the scariest stories I could get my hands on.
I believe my love for the horror genre stemmed from the empathy I felt toward the so-called “monsters” of the story. Candyman was the first villain I recall, that I sided with in his story. I fell in love with the notion that the antagonist could be given depth just like the heroes. The stories become more intriguing when you find yourself empathizing with the “bad guy” on any level.
The best horror, to me, are the ones that are the most plausible. They have details that connect your subconscious to “this is reality” and then add in the scary bits. I suppose this really only works well for people with overactive imaginations. It also depends on what sort of things you believe are plausible.
You see, I believe in the possibility of monsters. I believe ghosts, demons, and magic are real. I believe it’s possible for zombies to exist. I’m open to the idea that the supernatural might be out there, and to be honest, I’d be pretty disappointed to be given hard proof that it isn’t.
The notion of “what if?” is exciting, even if it’s “what if werewolves are real.”
My world being opened to the idea of “what if?” was probably propelled by the desire to escape the life I was forced to grow up in.
Between the neglect and the delusional drug addled helicopter parenting (and yet still managing to be absentee parents), I dived head first into escapism through storytelling. I’ve always been drawn to the morbid and have had preoccupation with death for as long as I can remember. So naturally, I’m drawn to darker stories, with characters that are riddled with flaws. Because that is real, based on my personal experience with life.
But on the other side of the coin, scary stories help me feel okay. It’s the thought of, well hey, things aren’t THAT bad. At least I’m not being chased through the streets by a shapeshifting creature that won’t die.
But then we go back to the escapism of leaving the world as we know it. A part of me glorifies the idea of society one day collapsing, for whatever reason, and it is now time to shirk our typical day to day expectations of capitalism to live a new life with a different kind of expectation.
I know I’ve talked mostly about film, but that’s because my focus is with visual storytelling more so than it is with books.
But even film starts out on paper.
Screenwriting is a big part of making TV and film, and you can’t really make something good without doing a bit of writing first.
This little segway brings me to the last reason I’ll be touching on, for why I love the horror genre. I can’t quite speak for books or the like, but with movies and television, the horror genre is a tool used to call into question everything as we know it.
It wasn’t always like this.
It used to be used to push certain agendas.
Like the notion of the Final Girl being a virgin and all her friends getting murdered because they had sex or did drugs or were gay or black. And now, those cliche horror tropes are used to point out the ridiculousness in the expectations of society. The different subgenres of horror are there to be analyzed a million ways to not only find what the writer or director was trying to say, but what is actually being said through the interpretation of its audience. The latter being considered more important overall to society.
I could probably ramble about this for all of eternity, but who has time for that? Not me, and definitely not in this economy! Ha.
So let’s recap: I’ve loved horror since I was a small child, and even though I was terrified, i didnt let it keep me from watching and reading it as much as possible. I’m excited for the future of the genre, and how it will be used to challenge people’s views and understanding of societal expectations and judgements. And to wrap up, here is a list of a couple of my favorite horror movies:
- It (original & remake)
- A Tale of Two Sisters
- Ginger Snaps
- The Lost Boys
- Stand by Me
- Train to Busan