A week or so ago I posted an article by Sylvia Soska about why she loves horror. Now, we have another entry into this theme, but this one is Estevan Vega’s take on why we as humans love horror! So, sit back, kick up your feet, and take a peak at why we as humans are enthralled with having our pants scared off.
Vega is the author of Arson, Ashes, Winter Sparrow, and The Forsaken. He has also released several short stories (Vanilla Red, Baby Blue, and The Man in the Colored Room). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Vega, and he is an awesome person on top of being an amazing author. I definitely recommend anything he writes and you all should keep your eyes out for great things from him in the future. And now, from Mr. Estevan Vega:
I think humans like being terrified. We flock to amusement parks in search of the biggest, baddest roller coasters. Haunted houses enchant us, despite the fact that we know the wandering path is gonna freak the living daylights out of us and more than likely force us to change our shorts. We even get married. Oh, wait, that last one’s not supposed to terrify us, is it? But it does. I wonder if there is this chunk of the mind that begs for an adrenaline rush, because the human creature has this need to be freaked out and put on edge. It might be because we’re secretly hoping that some brave soul will rescue us before the monster devours all our juicy parts.
Thoughts like these come to me, especially in the dark. There’s this light at my house that never seems to be on whenever I’m ready to make the brave trek from my car to inside. And every time I get to the back door, fumbling for the right key, gloved by the night, I can’t help thinking this situation belongs in a horror flick. Sometimes there’s a pause, when I get frustrated that I can’t find the right one, and I stare back at this decrepit-looking bush, wondering when the otherworldly entity plans to leap out. The dude from Jeepers Creepers often tends to infect my subconscious. But then I make it inside, safe and sound, with only the lingering thoughts to taunt me, usually followed by severe internal scorn.
The way I see it, such creepy ideas present an opportunity for creators to show the world in a very real context, using necessary evil as a method of portrayal: showing that there is still some light in the world, even though a vast number of horror stories often end rather bleakly. There is a sense of urgency embedded in the text and scripts. Self-sacrifice, for example. Or intrepid action in the face of fear. Monsters remind us that when the time comes, there are and can be protectors, heroes. (Then, of course, there will always be writers like me, who’d rather script the creepy episodes rather than being dropped in mid-scene, which would only end in copious amounts of girly screams.)
Now, I’m all for the “cheaper” horror flicks, the run-of-the-mill kind where the hot chick sprints through the rain-soaked forest with no shot at surviving because she’s the school’s biggest flirt, but the horror that transcends both genre and negative criticism is the kind which exposes a deeper truth about the human condition, about relationships or society. Think of Frankenstein or any of The Brothers Grimm stories, concepts that Hollywood has since watered down. At the core, they were morality tales and social commentaries about love and loss and playing God and giving into desires. Through the horror, these writers set up a glass where they showed us the innermost part of ourselves, suggesting something ruined and in need of rebirth. Similarly, Edgar Allen Poe’s stuff also delved into the terrible human psyche, attempting to explain how seemingly ordinary men succumb to madness.
Good literature, good filmmaking, good storytelling begins with a question: What will this story say about us? In short, it’s a dialogue, a very real, sometimes creepy psych session; at times we play the doctor, and at times we’re the patient in Vanilla Red, a twisted memory in a straitjacket. I love horror because it makes me itch. Dark stories are often the most truthful, and yes, there are times when even I must look away. Many of us can’t handle it. Some are perhaps too desensitized for anything at all to rub their spirits the wrong way. But if we are in tune with our humanity, the glass can reflect a truer picture than we ever might have guessed possible. I love horror because it makes me think. I love horror because it challenges the social norm, thus challenging me. I love horror because it terrifies me. And shouldn’t something you love terrify you just a little?
Here’s to the monsters in your life,
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