Horror is often disregarded by people. It is avoided and left untouched by many. They only think of the genre as gross gory garbage with no meaning. Some believe their only purpose is the gross people out and make them jolt with cheap tricks. Although there are instances of this within the Horror category, I want to share my thoughts on why people should embrace and explore the Horror genre.
There are many different ways we find horror. Movies is one of those ways. However, that is not what I will be focusing on. I will talk about Horror movies, but also on the other mediums; Video Games, Comics and Books.
Horror movies have been around for a very long time, since the silent movie Era. There are the various types of horror movies to explore and indulge in. So there will be something for every horror movie goer. Now, what makes them important? Why would people want to go see something that would scare them? Is it for the “Thrill”? Partly yes. For some of us, we find them exciting and fun to watch. Sure, parts are gross, but that is part of the fun of Horror. Sometimes it's about finding your limit. Trying not to be duped by an obvious jump scare, but also, finding your gross out factor. What can you and can you not handle? It's fun to see and find your own limits.
Another reason why I like Horror cinema is for the story. There are some movies that have a great story that interests me. My favorite example is that of a movie I reviewed; Kwaidan. It is an old Japanese movie that falls in with the Horror category. The movie is not scary in the least (personally), but it is based off of old scary folktales. Stories told for many many years. It is such a beautiful movie to watch and I find it very very pleasing. Also, shout out to Stranger Things for being the best horror TV series, and just so I can say I touched on Horror TV shows.
Horror Video games are a fun topic. It is not only cinematic, but you get to control how the story goes… with some of them. There are the ones that have linear plots. I enjoy both types. As the years have progressed, so has the visual quality of the games. Some stories still miss the mark. My two favorite pieces of Horror games are Until Dawn and my all time favorite, Dead Space. Until Dawn is one of the funnest in terms of the outcome. You can either have everyone live all the way down to no one surviving. Also, it is like unto a Horror B-Movie, because it was written by people who make those. Dead Space on the other hand has a very straight forward plot and outcome. The thing that made me love that though, was the story and how fresh it was. Want to heal, switch weapons, see what you have in your inventory, or use the shops in game? Better make sure you killed everything in the vicinity, because the necromorphs will not wait for you. It is fun and challenging, but my favorite part, is when you are walking through the corridors and can hear someone singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. It makes for a very fun atmospheric game.
Horror comics have their own special place in my heart. Not very popular as most people enjoy flipping through Heroes adventures of fighting Villains. I enjoy those also BUT, those are clearly not what I am going to talk about. Horror comics are the midway point between movies and books. They have the visual representation along with the reading part. It is so much fun to read them and also to be amazed that a human drew these images. Sure you can find some good comics to read but I want to talk about a specific Author.
Junji Ito, if you can't guess by the name, is a Japanese horror writer. He does horror Manga; which is Japanese Comics. For years, he has been writing and drawing different horror stories. Not all of them make a concise and long-term series. In fact, most are just one offs. His longest story so far is Tomie: a girl who never stays dead. Now, the thing about his work that makes it so special, is the way he tactfully spaces out his visual scares. You know something will be coming soon, and when you turn the page, BAM! There it is when you flip the page.
Aside from his beautiful skill at that, he explores a wide range of fears and grotesques. In an English translation of a collection of short stories titled “Fragments of Horror” there is one that stands out to me. “The Crimson Sweater” is a story about a boy who gets seduced by a unique woman. She is essentially a witch and is after one thing, his head. She cuts his neck clean through, which in turn causes him to have to hold it his head atop his neck, or die. I really enjoyed this book because it goes over interesting plots throughout the different stories. With “The Crimson Sweater”, it left an impression on me. It was on my mind for a full day. Thinking about how much that would suck and how I would react. It was a very effective story for conveying horror. I recommend his work to anyone reading this.
Lastly, my favorite way of conveying horror stories: Books. Nothing beats, in my opinion, horror novels. Why? For the very reason that it is all purely in your head. Books make you visualize everything in your mind's eye and encompasses your whole being. When you sit down and let yourself be swept away in a book, it's a whole other experience. Sometimes it helps add to the experience by putting on a good soundtrack. Sometimes, I have to have music in order to keep my mind from going off other places than the book. Now, let's focus on one of the forefathers, and one of the best authors of Horror writing: H.P. Lovecraft.
Howard was a genius. Quite possibly he was actually insane but his writing helped him vent out his insanity. His writing really encompassed when they were being written. The words used are astounding in their context and sometimes very pleasing to read in succession. Now there is one story I would like to focus on; “Under the Pyramids”. This is the story of someone who goes exploring, where else, than under Pyramids. Who would have guessed. Now, the thing that makes this stand out to me, is the way he makes you claustrophobic. He describes the experience of crawling through tight spaces so well, you feel it around you. I personally do not have that fear, but trying to imagine someone who does, reading that story, would be very uncomfortable. That is what sets reading horror apart from the other ways we envelope horror.
If you have read this far, I will now get to my point. My personal reason for loving and saying why Horror is important. I believe it is important to understand and know yourself. With Horror, you can explore your own fears and start understanding why that would make you afraid. Putting yourself in these situations forces you to see just how much you could handle. You become more aware of just who you are and can love yourself more. So please go explore the huge array of horror and treat yourself to finding yourself.
Now just to end thing on a personal level, my biggest fear is never being able to accomplish my goals. If you think, “So you are afraid of failure.” No. I love failing. It means I still have much more to learn. I'm afraid that everything I am trying and wanting to do, I will never be able to achieve. That's my biggest fear.
Thank you sincerely for reading this.
Much beard and scariness: Dirge Durell