Most people, including yours truly, enjoy horror movies or books. Even though, like comedy, horror is a hard genre to work with and has the highest possibility of finding absolutely no takers in the audience. Then again, there are some formulae that work time and time again, if you get my meaning vampirely.
I am not sure if horror works for the same reasons as a romance or historical drama for most people, but those reasons are the ones it works with me. I am nothing if not prepared for facing some monstrosity, especially part human, and looking it face up (or down, there is no reason that they will be BIG in dimensions) with courage, while having a stroke internally. Romance or some brave man’s story inspire people to be romantic or have aspirations to live that life or feel that carrying tide of emotional current as it leads to the beautiful sunrise in the horizon. Those are things that happen to other people and I am not at all interested in seeing what happens after, because it must be dull. After so much emotional turmoil, everything else can only feel less. Not so with horror. If you have lived through it, I don’t personally know anyone, but in case you have. Every aspect of life is full of unseen possibilities and lurking surprises. Even if you rarely come face to face with the hidden world. Is what I think.. So, no romantic mumbo jumbo for me, I would like to fight a demon and should I come out alive, I would have seen the world in a way that would change it for me forever.
Horror makes people other than I, feel safer as they, apparently, are not living the nightmare in Elm or Neibolt street ( IT, SKing). They imagine that while such things are not possible, even if they were, they are at least not happening to them. Human kind has always liked a spectacle, no matter how guilty they feel about it, where some one else is being stoned, or burnt at stake, or eaten alive by lions, or even just plain humiliated. If there is such a thing as guilty pleasure, then watching terrible, offensive things happen to others, who are after all only actors, being paid for this and none of this can be real anyway, this is it. I, on the hand, mentally prepare for battle every time I watch something remotely plausible in this best of all possible worlds.
After a horror movie, and okay there are maybe less than 10 in the history of mankind that are any good after Hitchcock kicked the bucket, I usually think what I would do in the position of the condemned. I am sure a lot of other people do the same. This genre also includes horror thrillers like ‘Funny games’, where I would have burned the house down, someone somewhere would have seen the smoke. I would think.
That was a scary movie though..
As far as horror books, as I believe I have mentioned previously, I only read Stephen King, and I am reading IT right now. A whole town accepting evil as a part of life and turning a blind eye to it, doesn’t seem that unlikely to me. Especially in this time of media coverage, which one would think makes it less likely to cover up such things, where everyone has ADHD and an attention span of 5 sec. So can we miss evil? Its more like there is so much of it all around that we just ignore it and like in a horror movie, are grateful that we are the audience.
Even as a kid I never completely believed in non human monsters.. Though, most kids apparently do. I do think what people are afraid of is a lot more culturally oriented these days, that it would have been earlier when we didn’t know jack shit about the world we inhabit and lived at the mercy of nature. Being afraid of the unknown is natural. Being afraid of the KNOWN predator more acquired that innate. Such fear is lost within a generation or so, because it is acquired. Like in the absence of predators there is no need to be super alert. Even deer know and show this, when the Yellow Stone National Park lost its last wolf back in the late sixties early seventies, within a generation deer were no longer afraid or careful.
Now there is a reason there is PG for movies, isn’t there? I never watched a single horror movie as a kid, they weren’t that easily accessible in India, and I knew for a fact that the Gods killed monsters, and it is thieves we should in general be worried about. Maybe some ghosts here and there, but ghosts were never that scary to me.
It has changed since I started reading King though, I am scared of more super natural things now, again, not ghosts in particular. Because if there are evil spirits, it is only fair that there would be good spirits and I should have a few taking care of me. Like my grandmother. I am more scared of the lucre of power that any evil force can attract the weak willed with. A weak willed, previously GOD fearing of course ( because he/ she was too weak and scared to strongly have a stand on anything), accepting something that gives it power, even if it is only political power.. Now, that is scary.