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Go on, scare me

Send tendrils of terror down my spine, make me shiver in anticipation. Make me fear the shadows and swear I saw creatures darting at the corner of my vision.

Better yet, make me look at the ones I love and wonder if maybe, just maybe, they are harbouring some deep secret, some sick fetish, some twisted desire.

I started reading horror pretty young, and I devoured everything I could get my hands on. My mother has always said that she has no idea why I enjoy it so much, so I guess that’s something I didn’t get from her. My body might be sitting in the summer sun by the pool, but my mind would be deep within the woods, following the trail of hooves back to a cabin only to discover that the black horse who had been slaughtering people was my betrothed (I think I was about 13, and I still remember that story).

I guess it’s just the way I’m wired. I’m that girl who jumps at everything in the movies, the one who shrieks a little from fright even when its just a fake (the door swings back but theres actually no-one behind it, kind of thing). There is nothing like fear to make you feel alive, at least that’s my belief.

When it comes to writing, I don’t shy away from horror, though I wouldn’t say it’s my area of expertise. I prefer the stuff which makes you think, leaves you feeling disturbed rather than straight out blood and gore. That doesn’t scare me so much.

Vampires, werewolves and all that jazz? Are they really horrific? Some would say that it’s not their fault, it’s just their nature. They’re predators and so I can’t really hold the killing thing against them. Men though? That’s where the real scary lies for me. Sometimes the things you need to be worried about most are the ones that look just like you or I.

I’d have to say that the character that scared me the most in any movie so far has been Captain Vidal from Pan’s Labyrinth, that man is one freaky mo-fo (okay, I just came back after some time away and saw I wrote ‘mo-fo’…. that doesn’t often happen. I blame sleep deprivation). It’s a beautifully made movie, you should definitely watch it if you like beautiful freaky stuff.

I’m sure I had something deep and profound to say, but it’s been lost amid growth spurts and under the weather children.

I think horror is a little bit the odd child out in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror threesome. It attracts a certain crowd, and is certainly looked down upon by some, and others avoid looking in its direction at all. But fear is one of the most powerful emotional responses, one our system has built into it – perhaps that is why such a big portion of people do stay away – and for this reason I think it’s something that should be considered in every piece of writing, no matter the genre. Perhaps this is why I love horror so much – it’s when people are scared out of their wits and put in horrifying situations that their true nature can really shine.

Anyways, I’ll leave it at that. I can’t think of anything really intelligent to say right now anyways 🙂

This is my 6th and final post for New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week. It’s been a blast.

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8 thoughts on “Go on, scare me”

  1. I avoid horror whenever possible! I scare very easily, and often manage to convince myself of stupid things (eg, someone has broken into my house, someone is hiding under my bed, etc). Given how hyperactive my imagination is, watching/reading any kind of horror just makes things worse.

    Not to mention I end up dreaming I am the protagonist for days on end, recurring dreams where whatever scary thing happened to them is happening to me. Yuck!

    So it’s been very interesting writing my online serial DarkSight. But I’ve found writing horror is very different from reading it: since I am in control of the scene, it’s far less scary. And it gives me an enjoyable thrill. 🙂

    1. That’s really interesting! I wonder if that would be the same for other people too. I scare easily as well, and love it 🙂 love the adrenaline kick fear gives me! lol I was convinced for months that there was someone hiding under my car waiting to kill me – you can imagine how interesting life was, specially any time I had to go out at night. The lightbulb in the garage would often flick on and off at will as well, or not work at all! Ahh fun times….

  2. There are more types of horror than the big 4, but they are used so often that it seems they have the most to offer people. The ‘gore overload’ (exactly what it says) is the one used in gorno, but it turns very quickly to narm if overused. It breaks a couple of biological rules, and none of the events lingers – do you really believe someone could bleed that much and not go into shock? In prose fiction this is rarely used for a reason…

    The “Boo. Ha! I got you.” is one step down, but (again) this doesn’t stay in the minds of the audience. It’s also a cheap thrill for the audience, and has more in common with the carnival ride type of scare than it does true horror. True horror (the stuff that has you checking the windows twice before you turn in for the night) needs to penetrate a little deeper into the subconscious to be effective.

    The films, novels, and computer games which people remember years later work on the principal that the thought of something happening is worse than seeing it. It’s oblique and uncomfortable, with images that are off, but not so off that the cause of the unease is immediately noticeable. The very best (the ones which get referenced, revered, and reused) are the small detail-oriented scares which don’t lead to the “Boo!” moment. The build-ups which drift off and leave the sense of unease hanging are this type of horror.

    There’s one more kind. It’s only there for those of use who replay events, working out the sequence of events and trying to work out everything not explicitly stated, but it’s one which will bug people for years. It’s the kind of moment which will only hit after the fact, and thereafter will linger in the back of your mind. The last two types of horror are, for me, the ones which deserve better recognition. They are harder to do than the easy blood-spurting room, or jump-out-a-closet moments.

    Yes. I do love my horror…

    1. Horror is fab! I hadn’t seen it broken down the way you have here before now, so it was interesting reading. I like the adrenalin kick of the ‘Boo!’ type, but really love the last two the most. That’s the kind of thing I like to put in my own stories when I can. Unease is a wonderful thing.

  3. ah huh,i didnt really see you as someone who would enjoy straight out horror. we learn something new each day.I loved todays blog . I remember sitting reading many a horror secretly at the library as a child.my mother wouldnt have let me read them at home. I still remember some… 🙂

    1. haha, horror is great 🙂 Unfortunately there are way too many gore flicks and not enough really good horrors around. That said, gotta enjoy a good B grade horror movie too 🙂

  4. I loathe horror flicks. I jump, I screech, I yell, I devoutly avoid any and all dark alleyways, corners, secluded areas. My imagination works overtime, making everything too real.

    I used to love them, but the older I grow, the more I avoid them. I’d rather not dwell on the dark and evil. Gives me the heebie jeebies.

    1. I tend to go off horror a lot when I’m pregnant – as if I don’t want to put any negativity into the baby or something – and my tastes in horror have certainly changed as I’ve gotten older too.

      That said, I love my over active imagination and the things it can do to scare me 🙂

      Lucky we are all different right? Makes the world an interesting place!

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