Hacking Horror

Hacking Horror: I want to tear apart the horror genre and dig into what makes us do more than cringe. I want to know what makes us weep, and what we do about it.

horrorI am not interested in: 

  • gore for its own sake – gore porn
  • titillation with ritual or apocalypses or the demonic, which depends on a particular religious bias
  • suburban fears about life being disrupted by scary lawn care workers, which depends on a certain classism
  • inexplicable horror that makes villains flat and causeless, treating madness or evil as an explanation in itself, which depends on a certain shallowness of social perception

I am interested in: 

  • violence – its roots in the soul – and responses that are deeper than simply getting a bigger gun than the other guy
  • the horror of exploitation by institutions (religion can offer one example) and of meaninglessness – the loss of transcendent meaning that institutions try to replace
  • the truly horrible – grief, sadness and breaking – the horrible things we don’t need stories to experience, but which stories can help us understand and know that someone else understands
  • monsters, the real kind, or the kind that tell us something real – they don’t just kill us for no reason – all real monsters have reasons, because they’re us – even non-human monsters are icons of ourselves
  • Genre Hacking – which might even be looked upon as genre improvement, if one is successful enough

Sadness = Horror: “One might wonder if sadness is the secret impulsion that fuels good narrative conflict. Nothing is more powerful to us than grief and loss — we then look to the storyteller to answer a fundamental question of, can we overcome it, or will it overcome us?” – Chuck Wendig

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