Saturday, 29 June 2013

For the Love of Horror!

It used to be frowned upon to admit that one liked watching horror films - it was usually accompanied by a snort of derision and a roll of the eyes, especially by serious film critics. And while there are plenty of awful, just awful, entries in the canon, there are also films that lock you into a metaphorical roller-coaster car and take you for a thrilling - and yes, horrifying, ride.

Any writer (or reader for that matter) of horror, thriller, action, science fiction and the like are either fans of scary movies or have at the very least plundered the storytelling archetypes inherent in the genre. When uber-successful directors such as JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon openly admit to having gorged on a diet of horror and sci-fi in their formative years, the genre suddenly achieves a modicum of gravitas.

When one thinks of a storyteller, one conjures the image of a campfire surrounded with eager listeners who are enraptured by the narrator's ability to lure, enthrall, surprise, frighten and ultimately delight them with a yarn. As a writer or filmmaker accomplishing the above emotions is most definitely a goal, if not 'the' goal of entertainment. (There's even a theory that being scared in a safe environment actually helps people deal with the real evils of the world).

I too find that studying (and unabashedly enjoying) the horror genre has definitely helped hone my idiosyncratic set of storytelling skills. I may not be a horror writer per se, but any narrator who wishes to take his or her readers on a Joseph Campbell (arche)type journey can surely learn a thing or two from those who have successfully scared the pants off the public! As a writer of fast-paced and Dickensian YA, it has assisted me in crafting an appropriately shadowy atmosphere.

So, count me in as another creative who both enjoys and has been influenced by all-things-scary.


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