Why I love all the horrible things

I look forward to October every year, not just because of pumpkin bread and candy sales and NaNo prep, although those things are of course important. There will be horror movies on TV all the time between now and Halloween, and new ones released in the theater. American Horror Story starts next week. This year I’ve also got a new horror novel to read. It’s just a great month for horrible things.

As my website attests, I can be as kitschy about horror as anyone. I love ravens and haunted mansions and dark and stormy nights. My Jack Skellington bobblehead shares space on my desk with my Poe action figure and my Funko POP White Walker. There are those who find all this weird. They can’t understand how I find fun in all this darkness and death.

But I think characterizing horror as being about darkness and death is missing the point. When I watch or read or write about a monster, it’s not because I love the monster. It’s because I want to slay it. Especially when it comes to writing, horror allows me to face those monsters and win, over and over again, through my characters. And they are always braver than I am. (Or at least, the characters who don’t die screaming while being dismembered. But you know, everyone can’t win. That’s why they call it horror.)

Horror is a lot like a nightlight: it’s there so people can look directly at their fears and walk around them, rather than fumble along in the dark hoping not to trip over them. And also sometimes to help them pee.

6 words on the street

  1. This too is my favorite time of the year, but I’ve never really thought about my love for horror movies and being scared as wanting to conquer fears. I’ll have to think about that. I’ve always just been drawn to the scary things maybe because of fear of the unknown – I always wanted to find the answers behind everything. Part of that is I guess that if I can understand it, I don’t have to be afraid (maybe why I studied forensic psych?).

    When I was ten I wanted to discover Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster and as I got older I was fascinated with the supernatural. I always wanted to read more about it, and learn more about it and find out how legends began. And I also adore this time of year because for one month out of the year, everyone else doesn’t look at me like I’m crazy.

    That being said, the first episode of American Horror Story scared the crap out of me and I haven’t gotten the guts to watch it since.

    • The first season of AHS was scary as hell. The second one not so much (but it kind of doesn’t matter because Jessica Lange is just always awesome). I have high hopes for this year.

      People still look at me like I’m crazy even in October. :)

  2. I looked up AHS: It’s on FX which I guess means I can’t watch it. All I’ve got is Netflix. On which I saw Solomon Kane recently, the closest to “horror” I’ve seen in a long time, but really just an over-the-top Peter Jackson-esque derivation of a character invented by a contemporary of Lovecraft (to sort of close the circle). I’ve an odd if weak impulse to write about that …

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