Talking about horror/dark fiction is akin to watching paint drying…you either love the genre or you want nothing to do with it. I can hear the old lines now…I’m not into slasher blood, I want there to be a story with real characters, not just random killing.
Horror or dark fiction is all about story and characters. These are the backbones of the thrill; the scare; the very reason we don’t want to look over our shoulders or turn off the lights. I’ll go further out on the limb and say these are genres that require even more dedication to story and character than any other genre.
Granted, some horror/dark fiction appears lax…on the surface…regarding these two vital story telling elements. However, when you dig deeper you will find the complexity of a finely tuned tale. Yes, even the movies “Halloween” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” no matter which version.
And what would you say if I stated “Dracula” was a romance. A personal drama of one man turning away from his God only to spend eternity searching for redemption through a forgiving love.
In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” who is the monster?
Lately, we have a whole new set of dark fiction/horror dreamboats…yes, The Twilight series. While not my cup of tea, this series has many debating: vampire or werewolf.
Where else but in dark fiction/horror do vampires and werewolves belong? They are creatures of the night. Elements of nightmares. Shadows moving in the dark recesses of our world glimpsed only from the corners of our eyes.
Dark fiction and horror create the same heart pounding, page turning, and edge of the seat anxiousness as every other genre does and should do. We happen to look under the bed, behind the door, in the closet, and down the cellar stairs knowing full well the bump you heard was someone…something.
We peel the layers of humanity…figuratively and literally…to delve deeper in the human mind…again, figuratively and literally. We want to know what makes a psycho’s brain tick…again, figu—you get the picture. There’s always something more, something around the corner waiting and we, dark fiction/horror readers and writers, need to know.
We don’t want to play it safe and comfortable. Our genre should never make you feel safe and comfortable, at least not until the end and even then we love leaving a creak, a door, a smile unanswered.
Dark fiction and horror allows us to escape the true horror and fears of everyday life; of reality. It is pure escapism. And in the end, at some point, the perfect horror story will have you laughing. Laughing because the cat pushed the door open, made the cellar step creak, and your loved one’s smile knew all this while you freaked out.
I want dark fiction. I want horror because reality is scary enough.
Chris (Steeves) Speakman
MuseItUp Publishing Editor/Author
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