Sunday, 2 April 2017

So, yeah, horror's not for everyone

I've probably said on my blog more than once that I think horror as a genre gets a hard time and is looked down on by a lot of people in the same way erotica is. Just as erotica is the same as hardcore porn to some people, all horror is the same - violent, gory for the sake of it, sadistic and without any redeeming features. This was illustrated strongly to me the other day when the trailer for the new version of Stephen King's IT was released. A clip was shared on Facebook splicing the trailer with scenes from the original TV version to suggest there was nothing new in the upcoming film (it's too early to say, of course, and it's worth pointing out most of the scenes from the first version were taken out of context to force the comparison) and I made the mistake of reading the comments.

One, with hundreds of Likes, complained about film-makers still coming up with horror films and how this was wrong because the world is already 'bad enough'. Presumably, the person who left the comment thinks that everything is shite enough without adding more pain and suffering to things. A fair point?


Putting aside the most glaringly obvious flaw in that logic (any imagined horror by a writer or a film-maker automatically loses most of its power when the reader or viewer remembers they're basically playing an adult game of Let's Pretend), the world is not made worse by fictional horrors. It's made worse by ignoring or refusing to stand up against real suffering and injustices. It's made worse by letting the bullies, of all sizes and influences of power, get away with their crap. It's made worse by the same issue in fiction as in reality that gives the bad guys their chance to win.

Not fighting back.

Take the characters in Dracula. They could let the Count get away with it because, let's face it, he's really fucking scary and we should leg it before he kills us or turns into one of the Undead. But no. Harker, Van Helsing, Holmwood, Quincey, Mina and the good doctor Seward take the war right to Drac's house; they wade through blood and they are hurt and they keep going to stop a horrendous evil. The kids in IT do the same because Pennywise fucked with the wrong little boy right at the start; the merry group of hobbits, men, dwarves and elves band together to blow the shit out of Mount Doom and destroy a nifty piece of jewellery because God knows how many lives will be stomped on if they don't.

Whatever the tale, the violence, the gore, the pain and suffering of any horror film or book is not the main issue. It's in the characters and their stories. But I guess some people just see the blood.

So, yeah, horror's not for everyone. 

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