Chills and Maybe Even Hope
Once, a very long time ago when I was a child, I came home and found my father watching a horror movie.
I couldn’t watch, being too young, and remember being resentful about it so I asked “why do you watch those?” His answer was “it’s exciting and I get to still alive at the end”.
It took me years to parse out what that meant. I’ve been thinking of it a lot, particularly with the release of my second novel, “Pack” which is about werewolves. Either in very direct or very polite, indirect ways I get asked the question a lot, “why do you write about this stuff?” I just got asked that question in a recent interview the other day.
I could write a LOT of words in answer to that question but I recently came across a gentleman who did it very well for me. His name is Rev. Peter Laws and he’s a pastor and life long horror fan and has written a book I very much recommend called “The Frightners” which, coincidentally, I may have blurbed and is coming out September 4th via my publisher, Skyhorse.
In the final pages of the book, Laws (who’s YouTube channel is a lot of fun if you’re a horror fan), Laws lays it on front street. In the book, he’s taken a tour of the Capuchin Crypt in Rome and has just encountered a piece of art made of bone dubbed “Sister Death” which Laws uses as a stand in for our own mortality. From the book:
“We could ignore her. That’s an option many people take. But we’re not the type to turn away. Instead, we’ve come up with a genius plan. We’ve invented ways to play with her. We take a deep breath and we dive right in. We turn down the lights and tell tales of monsters, ghouls, death and gore. It helps us organise our fears, our hopes, or curiosities, and what we’re left with is fun and adventure. And sometimes Sister Death even drops strange little hints. That maybe hers won’t be the last face we’ll see after all. Which gives us chills…but maybe even hope.
I love that.
For me, that’s largely the answer as well though I’d throw in a little bit of “genre fiction often has really interesting ideas that go unrecognized” or “people under extreme pressure act in extreme ways” but you get the idea.
In other words, horror and thriller stories are exciting and at the end you still get to be alive. Who wouldn’t want that?