I have always been a fan of the thriller/horror genre, whether it’s movies or books. Admittedly over the last few years I have found that I have gravitated more towards the book side of things than movies, because there haven’t been a lot of movies lately that have scared or startled me much. A lot of it has to do with the fact that apparently most characters in horror movies like to lock themselves in rooms or closets when they could be fleeing outside the house or, I don’t know, using their car to get away from the bad guy(s). And don’t even get me started on the amount of clumsy people there always seems to be. Let’s just say logic has not been a strong suit of many horror scripts.
A cursory glance of the genre would suggest that it’s mainly horrible people killing or murdering people. Or zombies chasing people. Or people murdering and killing zombies. Or vice versa. Anyway, it’s usually considered violent and many people find it abhorrent. And there are some things out there that I would agree are just basically excuses to watch torture and just wrong in a lot of ways.
However, the kind of horror that I like to watch, and the stuff that I really think is the best kind , is psychological. For instance, last year, there was a movie that is considered a horror movie, but it is perhaps the best representation of the power and the hold that grief, or the denial of, can have on a person. It should be considered required viewing for those who have lost someone they love. However, because of its genre, I’m sure there would be many that would simply marginalize it as just another stupid horror movie and not give it a second thought.
Horror though, at its core, is the fear of the unknown. It resonates with all of us because there is always something about what we don’t know or can’t see that scares all of us. The boogeyman could very well be around the next corner we take, or the spectre of a lost soul may confront us deep in the middle of the night while everything else is shrouded in silence. But that does not mean we simply bow down and submit to the fear by crowding ourselves into tight quarters and cutting ourselves off from everyone else. If we know not what something is, let’s learn it. If it’s unknowable, then we admit as such and continue onward to think about the things we may yet be able to know. It’s not easy. I mean, I have yet to understand the appeal of Justin Bieber, and will continue to fear that he might very well be the coming of the apocalypse itself. But the best kind of horror challenges our preconceived notions and forces us to reexamine what we think we know. It confronts us with having to readjust our expectations and work towards new outcomes. Our survival is dependent on the actions we take and the more information we have and the more we learn the better we can be prepared for what is to come. We will never be 100 percent ready for what all may be in store, but perhaps the ability to know we might not know allows us the openness to adapt to a changing environment. So we ignore and avoid really understanding horror perhaps at our own peril. It is possible that the fog of darkness holds not the promise of simply violence wretched upon us, but the opportunity to behold a new way of understanding how and why we fear what goes bump in the night.