Some genres of books I grow weary of, and move on. But, some books I keep everything in that genre and horror is one of them. No matter where I have been in my life, I have loved my horror!
What is it that satisfies us about horror unlike other genres?
Everyone has a different attraction to horror. For some, it's an adrenalin rush, a challenge to their bravery, the dark creepy mood, the unknown, and a love of being spooked. Mine began by growing up in a 250-year-old creepy house with flocked wallpaper and heavy velvet curtains, crystal chandeliers, fireplaces and creaking wooden floors, ghosts in the halls and shadows in the corners. I have always been comfortable with darkness, and curious by nature, I love the excitement of not knowing what is coming next.
And every good horror story has more to do with the psychology of the hero/heroine than the threat. It's how a person handles a bad situation that is either triumphant or a disaster.
Here's what I recall about my very first total and absolute absorption into horror. I was at home and about maybe 9 or 10. I sat in front of the spare black and white TV and flipped through the channels until I saw a big old spooky house like my own. I pulled my blanket around me. The fireplace was crackling, but there were no lights on.
I listened to the story unfold as they showed “The Haunting.” I studied the open space behind me in the room and the shadows dancing from the firelight onto the ceiling. I pulled the blanket up around my ears. I wanted to look away, but I could not. The tension was building, the unseen forces terrifying the characters. I looked at the walls around me and wondered if they could flex and bend like the ones in the movie that seemed to be breathing. Then, I began to wonder "can the ghosts see this movie and get ideas?"
Suddenly, the world I thought I knew, had a secret life, just like my house did. This concept intrigued me; that we think we know how the world works, but in horror, it is nothing like that. Horror survivors involve people with skills to think quick, be virtuous and look the greatest fear in the face and beat it. I like this much more than fairy tales where girls had to hope for fairy godmothers to make their dreams come true or SciFi where technology was the answer.
Horror means you face the abyss and, if you are strong in spite of your fears, you can survive. Basically, it's everyday life and our own greatest worries and anxieties, but playing it out in spite of that threat and to a greater degree.
As well, horror comes with teasing squeaky soundtracks, darkness, mystery, the unexpected, tension, and other elements that keep your mind working fast and trying to stay ahead of the newest confrontation. Horror is for romantics with its mood, atmosphere and locations, but also for the intelligent who don't want to be spoonfed their plots.
So, what is it you love about horror?