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.
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.
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.
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?