Monsters, Demons and Depression

My Horror Adventure and why I love to be scared.

Well, I DID have a plan this week. I swear I did, but that one will take research. Then I kind of got knocked on my ass yesterday, but I don’t want to keep going, “Hey guys, feeling like shit. Bye.”

So I’ll actually make a point this time.

I love Horror. I love horror movies and I love horror books, but I am still new to a lot of it. NO ONE in my family likes horror movies. We are not a horror movie watching family, like at all. I knew people who watched Alien and Predator for family movie night, and THAT felt edgy.

So how did I stumble into this mess? Before I got into horror, I thought the whole genre was just too intense for me. That’s for other people, not me. Even if a horror movie boasted an especially great monster or cast, I still avoided it.

It began on some cold night, probably Grade 11. I was with three other friends. After driving around and me being mad at them for wanting to egg a house and rope me into it, we went to one of their places. I was mad, and therefore quietly stewing in the corner.

They decide to turn on 2012’s The Woman in Black. I’m sitting there thinking, Oh god, I’m going to freak out. I was absolutely terrified.

And I kind of loved it.

Watching the corner of the screen for movement. Waiting in dread as things start to go wrong. Invested in Harry Potter uncovering what the ghosts want and how dangerous it all is. I was at the edge of my seat.

It’s a mid-to-low tier Gothic horror. I had a great time with it and remember it fondly. Ryan Hollinger, a film youtuber I watch, did a great analysis of it recently.

Next, the same group of bastards made me watch 2011’s Cabin in the Woods, and again, I absolutely loved it. We all know the teens go camping horror tropes. The joker, the jock, the nerd, the bad girl, the good girl etc… And not having actually been immersed in those tropes and being dropped into the definitive Horror-Deconstruction was mind blowing.

Cabin in the Woods has the single greatest third act of any genre movie. It threw everything horror was on screen and blew it up.

That’s probably when I realized how much I’d begun to like this scary stuff. I started watching some of the big stuff like Alien, The Thing and The Shining. This was also when I discovered my haunting fascination with H.P. Lovecraft. Books rarely horrify me, but his stories ALWAYS leave me unsettled.

I remember so vividly in my first or second year of University, there was a a book sale in Fletcher Argue right next to the Greenhouse Cafe.

I picked up a Stephen King Collection which included The Shining, Carrie, Salem’s Lot and Night Shift. I read The Shining that winter and was reading it while we were snowed in at the Cabin during Christmas. I’m still reading Night Shift as of right now.

I think after that is when I discovered the big one. The big daddy. The one that made me go, “Holy shit!” The one that made me realize how much I love this stuff.

2005’s The Descent directed by Neil Marshal.

The Descent, to me, is a masterpiece of monster horror. Six women go cave-diving and there is something in the caves. It ignores the traditional horror archtypes by making it about a group of women and adds enough layers to each of them.

Each slow reveal of what is in those caves is masterful. This is what I had been looking for. This was how monsters, psychological trauma and character all mesh together. The scares didn’t just show up when the creatures did, different kinds of horror can be used at once. It wasn’t just the monsters that scared you.

You can teach a class on this film. I adore it, even though I see the fucking creatures in every shadow. This was the one that made me go; “I love horror! I love monsters! Please scare me more!”

I think it’s healthy for any creator to be well-versed in horror, even when we’re scared and don’t necessarily like it. It teaches us tension, reveals, characters in awful scenarios and catharsis. I’m a big believer in audience manipulation and horror is the king of that.

Given my issues and the things I’m trying to overcome, maybe scaring the shit out of me isn’t the best idea? I think it’s the best thing I can do.

Why do I love to be scared? Because sometimes it’s a helluva lot better to be scared than sad. The tension, terror, disgust and eventual catharsis of good horror is a million times better than the numbness or pain of depression.

I’d rather be scared than sad.

I am still new to the genre and have plenty more to watch and read.

So to sum it up, once I finally clear my Netflix list of Hereditary, Don’t Breathe and It Comes at Night; I may go get a Shudder account. Anyone want to go halfsies?

Like and comment your thoughts,