With just a couple days left until Halloween, one has to wonder: Am I Horror Fan?
Most people, probably the sane ones, will think no, they are not horror fans. Now, I don’t want to insult all the insane people out there with that statement. There are a few reasons for that, with the first one being they’re insane. I’ve watched Fatal Attraction (1987) and the last thing I want is to come home and find my household pet boiling on the stove.
The second reason is that I am one of you crazy people. I absolutely love the horror genre in every medium. Books, novels, fiction, movies, films… all of it. I know some of that list is redundant, but that’s because I’m insane. I mean, I have to be because I like consuming the stuff of nightmares.
I can’t be the only one that likes horror. So, I thought I’d come up with a nifty little crossover.
You Might be a Horror Fan if…
… you like monster movies. Vampires, werewolves, wendigos, mummies, zombies, James Patterson…etc. Monsters often are depicted as dangerous and aggressive with a strange and/or grotesque appearance that causes terror and fear. At the very least, monsters in fiction test the strengths of the people they terrorize. If humans overcome the monsters, they grow stronger, like when you’re forging swords. When you make a blade, you temper the steel by pounding it with a hammer. If the steel is strong enough, it’ll turn into a weapon. If the humans don’t triumph over the monster… they die. Monsters also are used in fiction as metaphors for various subjects. I wrote a paper in college about Dracula being used as a means to talk about disease and scientists figuring out methods to overcome it. That’s what happens in the book by Bram Stoker. A supernatural vampire invades England, and a group of people use science to thwart it. In “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, a scientist tries to create life and thwart death and in doing so, becomes the monster.
…you like seeing the bad guys get their just desserts. Normally in horror stories, the main character isn’t such a good guy. Before writing this rant, I watched the first episode in Guillermo del Toro’s new Netflix series Cabinet of Curiosities. The main character of that first episode was a veteran that buys storage rentals at auctions and scavenges the riches inside. From the very beginning, you’re not meant to like the guy. He’s not exactly racist, but then again, he’s not, not exactly racist… if that makes sense. Like I said earlier, I’m crazy. He does something at the start of the story that decent people would’ve done and because of that inaction he gets his just desserts. The Saw franchise is an excellent example. Jigsaw kidnaps people he thinks needs a lesson in how to be a member of society. You first feel sympathy for these victims because they’ve got an intricate murder trap on their person. Then you get the explanation of why they’re there and now you don’t feel so bad for them. These types of stories are meant to serve as cautionary tales. The audience is being told “don’t do bad things or else bad things will be done to you.” Kind of remind you of something?
…you think happy endings aren’t real. In a horror story, happy endings are fantasies. Even if the good guy wins, they’re often left with the consequences of their actions. In the Halloween franchise, Laurie Strode manages to survive Michael Myers in the first film but suffers PTSD in the sequels (depending on which sequels you consider canon). Most horror stories follow the rule that good is good and bad is bad. Have you ever heard of the “Final Girl” concept? A “Final Girl” is the surviving girl in a horror story. Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978), Sidney Prescott in Scream (1996), and Ellen Ripley in Alien (1979) are just a few examples. You might argue that Laurie was saved by Loomis at the end of Halloween and thereby doesn’t count as a “final girl” and that’s a valid argument. However, this is my rant. Go get your own if you disagree with me. Final Girls share a set of qualities. One being that they are morally superior to the people that die. Take Scream for instance. That film is great because it calls out all of the tropes in a horror film, but the characters fail to learn from them. The people that die all commit some crime or sin that warrants their death. Not Sidney though. Getting back to the happy endings aren’t real though (sorry about that tangent). Look at Cabin in the Woods (2011). The final girl in that film is Dana (played by Kristen Connolly) and she’s the picture of morality… which is why she’s able to survive till the end of the film. Now, she’s also the one that pretty much ends the world, but that’s just proof that happy endings in horror stories are fictional.
…you want to be scared. This is probably most of us. That’s the reason why we go to haunted houses. That’s the reason why we play with Ouija boards (please don’t actually do that). That’s the reason why we go on roller coasters. We want to be scared. We want to feel something again. Having watched 28 horror movies (as of the printing of this rant) so far in October, I can thoroughly say that I haven’t been scared once by them. I went to the Niles Scream Park and didn’t jump once. I’ve become desensitized by all the fake blood, gore, and violence I’ve consumed. Sometimes, I wish I could be scared. Of course, then I think about opening a James Patterson book and I’m yelling in terror. Problem solved.
…you want to know how it’ll end. There’s a reason why demonic possession films are so popular. There’s a plethora of them released every stinking year. And I believe the reason they are so popular is that those films prove that there is a heaven and hell. If there’s a devil, then there’s a God. Have you ever noticed that just about everyone that gets possessed in those films aren’t believers in God? In The Exorcist (1973), Chris admits that she and her daughter aren’t believers in Christ. In The Conjuring 2 (2016), a family in North London are being terrorized by a house plagued by evil spirits. Ed and Lorraine Warren are able to banish the spirits because they were devout Catholics. Nothing about that is coincidental. The films are meant to portray the theme that believing in God grants you protection from being possessed. And that makes sense because if you truly accept Christ into your life, how can a demon take possession of it? I think that we all want to know what happens when we die. Filmmakers use the demonic possession films as a vehicle to get their view across. I think it’s a brilliantly sneaky way to spread the word of God to those that might not want to hear it. As long as good triumphs over evil, that is.
Anyway, if you are one of the above, then… you might be a horror fan!
Have a safe and Happy Halloween. I’ll be back next week to share with you the good news of NaNoWriMo. Until then, keep calm and write on!
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