Tuesday, April 9, 2013
H is for Horror
So what I'm going to talk about probably the hard-core fans would not qualify as true horror. I do like The Stand a lot, but my favorite King novel is The Green Mile. Probably not straight-up horror. My favorite "horror" movie is Signs, and I've definitely heard people question its status as true horror. But that's the kind of thing I'm talking about here.
So why am I talking about this today? There's always been a little bit of fascination there for me. At its most superficial I think it's just morbid curiosity, but where horror does well, and I think where its real value is, comes from a more philosophical level. I think I liked Signs and I think the reason Steven King has found wide-spread and even commercial success is because it adds that philosophical side.
Here's what I mean. Horror, at its best, at its most philosophical, strips everything down to its most carnal, and shows you the things that stay, that you can rely on, and have faith in, when everything else is gone. It forces you to confront your most basic faith and fundamental beliefs when the worst and most terrifying is staring you in the face.
I think the stakes are higher, the horror more horrific, when its more than life and death. When its life and soul. If that makes sense.
Signs does this directly. He confronts, out loud, the question of whether they are alone or not. And its effective because its not a simple black and white question for him, and we watch his beliefs and faith evolve as the story progresses. And that is a beautiful thing.
What do you think about the horror genre? What value do you think it has for us, and what are your favorite examples?