Last year, as Halloween came and went, I mused on what I perceived as the relative watering down of Horror as a genre and what it could or should be. I won’t re-hash the whole post here but check out ‘Oh, The Horror!’
So this year, as the celebration of horror rolls around again and I’ve again turned my eye on horror and have had an investigate of the nastiness of the real.
Dracula, Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. These are all monsters that come and get us with their superpowers and the horror comes from the monsters themselves. It’s very easy to be dismissive of them as a reader as just being made up nonsense but all of these characters can be used to represent issues in the real world, manifestations of problems or issues we all face, and there in lies the importance.
Reality can be so much more horrifying than the fantastical monsters from the imagination of any writer.
Horror doesn’t have to remain in the realms of animated dead bodies or the spawn from Hell to be horrible. The human race is terrifyingly ready to visit almost unimaginable horror on itself. We’ve been happy to declare war on almost everyone else since the beginning of the human race and to do it in more and more imaginative ways. The weapons which have been created over the years have advanced in ferocity and yield, from stones being thrown, all the way up to the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of today.
But warfare isn’t the only horrible thing which happens.
The Saw series of films is a good example of the reality of horror, or at least the first film is. The bad guy is just a man. One who’s clearly crackers but real none the less. It’s a tale where we have to take a look at ourselves and think ‘What would I do?’ as all of the pain starts to unfold. Have we lived our lives in a way that could put us in harms way and what would we do if we woke up chained up in a dungeon?
Hannibal Lecter is a serial killer who is highly intelligent who is going to use that mighty intellect to kill and devour. He has no superpowers, possibly save that great mind of his, but he’s still a terrible threat, coming to end those people who’ve gone to him for help.
We look at stories of abductions (not by aliens), deviant and corrupting behaviour and all kinds of other ideas which show that we don’t have to only rely on the beasties or the supernatural to do the scaring. The real world has more than a small power to be awful for all of us to see. People are more than able to be evil without giving them magical powers to help them on their way.
As I’m now a proud uncle to little baby Lucy, it became clear that there are so many more terrors out there than just thinking about the monster under the bed.
Maybe we should all remember that when we read anything and be ready to help everyone we can from the horrors we all face.
Now, on another note. As Halloween is going to fall on a Saturday this year, I thought it would be a pleasant little idea to release another short story on here. So everyone, keep an eye out for the next view into my twisted little mind.