What is the Point to Horror? Paranormal? Fantasy?

When people hear me say that I both enjoy and write paranormal, fantasy and horror, they normally ask me variations of one question (with a really funny look on their face).

“Why?” “What?!” “Why on earth!”

Well, let me spell it out for you.

I’m weird.

Okay, so other than that, there are two main reasons (and they have nothing to do with cleavage or gore). 😉

 

ONE, I love it. I grew up with it. My author bio kind of gives that away (that’s over there on the right sidebar).

I remember curling up in the big, cushiony armchair and watching old monster movies. I remember reading books and hearing myths and scary stories of the unexplained and unusual.

I remember the thrill, the fear I felt for the characters, sucked into the story and nervous for them. Not surprisingly, I liked the monsters right off the bat. I loved the creatures in the darkness, the oddities and strange beings that didn’t act or react like humans. Sometimes I wanted them to win, sometimes I didn’t. It depended on the circumstances.

I’ve always had a vibrant imagination. Movies, books, and art that centered around paranormal or horrific creatures always captivated my mind. And I instantly went somewhere else, escaping the mundane and living within places and stories fantastical and dark.

I got wrapped up in a world so different from my own filled with shadows and secrets. Only, when I finished that book or movie, read another, finished it, I started to realize that the two worlds weren’t so different after all. Which brings me to reason number two.

 

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TWO, I love the truth of it. I don’t mean the gore or the monsters. I mean the messiness. The human nature, the real monsters glaring up at us from beneath the masks of fangs and talons. Horror and fantasy allow us to learn about ourselves, about society and our deep seeded beliefs, identities and secrets. It just goes about it via a roundabout way. And it uses a lot of fake blood.

It’s easy to see the monsters when they’re literally monsters. Vampires, werewolves, bogeymen, fey creatures, ogres, etc. They aren’t us, so it’s okay for us to loathe them for the evils they represent. It’s okay to fear them, to be disgusted with them. And to show them no empathy or compassion. Because they’re pure evil, not something we understand or care to try and understand.

We don’t like looking the truth head on a lot of the time. Fictional monsters let us learn things about ourselves and the world we inhabit without realizing. Not until we’re done anyway.

 

I like a total of two cartoons. One of them is Scooby-Doo. The original cartoons, I mean. Not the newer ones with stereotypical characters and teen drama. Yeah, I’ll watch it. But I don’t like it like I do the original cartoons. Fred isn’t a dunce and Daphne (NOT who I was named after) isn’t a damsel into distress. Klutzy and danger prone, but not helpless and ditsy. Just saying. Cuz that obviously isn’t a sore spot with me. 😉

 

(He’s guarding my flashdrive.) What on earth do I have Scooby-Doo involved in the “horror/paranormal/fantasy” post for? A little odd, right?

Not really. Scooby-Doo symbolizes the same thing good horror, good myths and lore symbolize.

The real monsters are the humans (kicking a dead horse, right?).

And that is exactly what horror movies, books, and lore tell us. the good ones anyway. It’s showing us humanity in all its pitfalls and lowest points.

But (and this is a really important ‘but’) it also shows us the rise up and beat down of the monster inside – only in the movies it’s the physical monster outside of us that symbolizes this. Fear gives us the chance to show love. Horror gives us the ability to become what we always had the potential to be. Whether that be good or bad is up to us.

 

What is scariest of all? The unknown.

The unknown brings us terror and imaginative ideas of what could be behind that curtain. Good fantasy illuminates some piece of this, gives us something we’d never dare asking for.

Fantasy shows you the worst possible thing that could happen, brings you face to face with your worst fears and steps back. Challenges, adversity, suffering – they give you a run for your money, show you a little bit about yourself as you go.

Now add a creature created from the depths of all your base fears, something that makes your skin crawl, your brain try to shut down or reason it away. And that will really tell you something.

 

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THE VALUE

I grew up loving the monsters, the creatures. The fear. Getting all creeped out, reading in the dark, the only person still awake. And yes, horror, fantasy, and paranormal are three different genres or way of explaining movies or books, but I find them intertwined all the time. Figured I’d add them all.

I like it.  You’ve got it, really. But why bother? Horror, fantasy, paranormal. It all holds a mirror up to us. The humans. Human nature. Human beliefs and desires. Our truest self resides in the recesses of our darkness, a place not many of us go often. When something gets under our skin, we learn something about ourselves. You can’t illuminate darkness until you’ve seen it.

And what about the gore? Well, life isn’t pretty. It’s messy. So I guess that covers that. (But I don’t like the cheesy movies with buckets of gore done for shock value and ratings, just so you know).

😉

 

Do you like reading/watching horror, fantasy, or anything paranormal? Writers – Do people look at you strange when you tell them you write it?

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6 Comments

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

6 responses to “What is the Point to Horror? Paranormal? Fantasy?

  1. Always love seeing other people’s thoughts on horror. I point out to my nieces all the time that most of the stuff they like has monsters in it. Things like Monster High, Pokémon, and Scooby Doo. Some of their favorite books are the Poison Apple series, Zombie Chasers, and Goosebumps. They try and tell me they don’t like horror. I just remind them that it’s in their blood and there’s no escaping it. Their reaction is priceless. Deep down they know they love it, they just want to disagree with me.

    Horror is all around us, both real and imagined. All we need do is look.

  2. jehjeh007

    Yet another great blog Daphne. To me Scooby Doo is the tenacious yet drive of common people(s) overcoming the sinister doings of either the rich, the greedy or the ignorant while stumbling sometimes to the edge of oblivion to find the truth (yep, as a kid I took it that serious). Think about it. Sometimes the team was hired, but other times they saw something mysterious happening and they examined the situation without pay. That spirit of the common folks still exist among the young.

    It is (what I hope) will keep them “un-bought” and honest to the higher meanings of life, which is not self, but for all.

    Finally, I think somewhere deep in our minds we know just because something is not “proven” true, doesn’t mean it is not true, i.e. we keep checking our blindside.

    In my case while working as a night guard, back in the 80’s I saw the ghost of a young 16 year old hooker that was murdered at a then empty hotel back in the 1960s. She didn’t look “ghostly”. She was there, she asked if we had seen her brother coming from a street, then she wasn’t there as soon as I turn around to point at the street she asked about. And yes before she showed up, there was the chill in the air in middle of July! I was not the only one that saw her and talked to her. In fact, the other guard saw her disappear in thin air (my head was turned). He said she briefly turned into a “demon of rioting flesh” then faded into the air. He immediately abandoned the post (yes, he was running, stop laughing Daphne = 😉 ). I was the only one that kept my job afterwards and continue to patrol the hotel. I never had another partner willing to work that location. Just me. I was not scared but felt like I had been punched in the stomach, but like you I wanted to see her again, ask questions, etc. She never reappeared to me, but I continued to “feel” her presence at the empty hotel, especially in the garage area. Angel? No, but she was very pretty. She was to me a lost soul or a hard-headed one. I don’t know.

    Continue to question, continue to fight the good fight for the common cause of all people and most of all continue to know that you are right. Seek the counsel of others (the wise ones), but know the decision is always you responsibility to act on for the benefit of all, not just the few. Yes, Daphne it is all true. Just remain kind.

  3. I could have written this post, just not nearly as well. It’s so me. I also love reading/watching creepy things that make me want to hide under the covers, and have for as far back as I can remember. Most probably because my first books were my much older brothers’ collections of sci-fi & horror paperbacks. When written well, horror/sci-fi/urban fantasy/Goth, etc. can be unique, profound, exotic, shocking, terrifying, and inspiring. Sometimes, all on the same page. I’m not a deep thinker, probably, so mainly I’ve always just enjoyed the darkness of it, the coolness (a warrior woman and her pet dragon, a city-sized mothership, a gargoyle perched on a skyscraper — what could be cooler?); hell, the fun.

    Oh, and of course Scooby Doo belongs in this post. So many episodes had monsters and ghosts and other things that go bump in the night. Sure, it generally turned out to be Uncle What’s-his-name in a mask, but what a blast we all had (and still have), watching. 😀

    As for the original point of your awesome post, Daphne, I suspect that someone who asks why you write (or read, or just flat-out love) horror/paranormal/etc., is someone who will probably never really “get” it, no matter what answer you give.

    Although maybe “I’m weird” might do it. LOL (And yes, I’m weird, too.)

    • Aw, thanks. I think your personality would create a freaking awesome horror post. ;D

      My first books were Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, and Stephen King. I still LOVE Dean Koontz, not big on the other two anymore though.

      Yes, sometimes I just want to enjoy the darker side of things, the hauntingly beautiful creatures and worlds. 😉 It’s one of my favorite parts. It’s what first drew me in.
      I can’t believe I found someone else that likes Scooby-Doo! *awesome* lol
      =D
      (I would really like to be a warrior woman with a pet dragon!!!!!!!!!)

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