I have a strange relationship with horror. I made my mother sick in the womb while she was reading Salem’s Lot (I read it as an adult and was significantly less afraid). As a kid, I thought the movie, the Mask was terrifying, not funny. (Seriously, the idea of a mask taking over my body and personality still scares me to this day. And don’t even get me started on clowns.) Needless to say, I’ve never been into a great lover of the horror movies that come along with October and Halloween.
Nowadays, I tend to poke fun at most horror movies/shows that my friends bug me into watching. If people had common sense, they’d realize they are in a horror movie and do something different, act smart instead of like idiots. Plus, the gore is boring and pointless. I want a twisty plot that makes me think, basically, a good story. There are, naturally, exceptions to the rule. The first that comes to mind is Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, which I refused to watch until my friends explained it wasn’t really a “horror” movie. I was not disappointed. I’ve gotten addicted to American Horror Story as well, but otherwise, I tend to avoid it if a movie or show claims to be “horror.”
Oddly, I do actually adore horror elements. The idea of taking something everyday and harmless and turning it into something terrifying is amazing. It’s an element of not knowing what is going on, of being in the dark about something and waiting for the next thing to happen with a sense of dread. I think a lot of books and movies utilize horror, and suspense at that, even if they’re not found in the “horror” genre, or we forget they are, in fact, horror.
If we take a stroll down the memory lane of books rather than films, Gothic novels had a profound impact on modern horror. Gothic novels led to gothic horrors, like Frankenstein and the Picture of Dorian Grey. These same “horror” novels also were the forerunners to a lot of sci-fi and urban fantasy. Not to mention, they generally pushed boundaries on what people dared to write about in fiction at that time. But I digress.
I think there’s a terrific amount that can be done in horror that isn’t. I think it has untapped potential and could become a pet genre of mine. Thus far, however, I remained underwhelmed in general by horror movies and fiction. But, hey, October isn’t over yet, so there’s still hope for this year.