Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Horror and an outsider like me

"We are the weirdos, mister." -- The Craft

Horror is a sanctuary for the outsider. It is a realm where the monster can be beautiful, and the pretty boy may turn out to be a sociopath. It a place where being a little off of the norm may give you insights that save your life. Within a horror movie the quiet girl tortured by the cruel popular girls might tear those popular girls apart.

Horror can provide an outlet to speak and deal with things that might not be so easily dealt with in a more "proper" genre -- things like death, sexuality, the supernatural, faith.

Given these qualities of horror, it's not surprising that an outsider like myself is in love with the genre. I have lived a large percentage of my life in the conservative, Republican, Christian/Mormon state of Idaho. I however am a liberal, Democrat, Wiccan, bisexual. So yeah, I can relate to the idea of having a side one has to hide, a power that others don't understand, a desire people don't understand. I hungered to see such visions on a screen and find stories that resonated with mine. It was horror that filled that void.

I can relate to the stories and characters in a horror film. I can't relate to the ultra polished perfect world of a romantic comedy. I have known fright. I have known cruelty. I have known magic. I have known death. I have fought to survive. I have lived in the world of horror. So far no Hugh Grant, or Hugh Jackman for that matter, has whisked me into a land of romantic comedy.

And where oh where is a gal like me going to look for role models? In horror I can find female characters like Clarice Starling in Silence of The Lambs that I would love to emulate. It's not like I'm the kind who could imitate the flaky females in Sex and City. I tend to believe the percentage of examples of female empowerment runs a bit higher in horror than in other genres.

Horror gave me a way of dealing with rejection and self-hatred. If you are thought of as a monster, hated and despised for your very nature, you can either die from that or be empowered by that. There were times growing up that I felt I could have been very happily at home among Clive Barker's Nightbreed. They were rejected by the majority, but they were beautiful, powerful, magical. I was grateful for such stories because I could find a sense of sanctuary in them.

Horror also provided a non-harmful means to vent anger and other negative emotions. Carrie could take out most of the senior class, I could rejoice in her vengeance and didn't have to go through such things myself.

So I am grateful that the writers, directors, actors, and artists who come together to create horror films have a love for the outsider and tell stories that others won't tell. I'm just one of the "weirdos" that will happily take their ride again and again. In return they are the friends that help get me through the night.


  1. This is very well written, and I thank you for writing it!

  2. Wow, I honestly never thought of that explanation for why I'm obsessed with horror!

  3. I truly wished you lived on the east coast near me!

    I can totally relate to this post. I always find myself cheering on the villian in horror movies. I put myself in their shoes and pretend I am "taking out" everyone in my life that has ridiculed me in one way or another.

    Great job!