Sunday, September 28, 2008

Amazing Thing!

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Did you grow up on the Choose Your Own Adventure books? I did, and now someone made a zombie movie CYOA: The Outbreak. Give it a shot. I made it through two choices, then I died.

"So, Why Are You Into This Stuff?"

Try telling someone you're seriously into horror. Nine times out of ten, they look at you like you just confessed to drowning kittens for laughs.

I was a kid with an intensely overactive imagination. Most of the time it was a blessing. I had the space and the solitude necessary to create whole worlds and I had a lot of fun living in them. The down side, unfortunately, is that it never takes too much to scare the living shit out of me. If a friend told me that they were hanging up plastic skeletons in the house for Halloween I'd conjure up ghoulish images of bloody cadavers, their empty eye sockets beckoning to me. If I read a particularly effective ghost story I'd stay up half the night, covers pulled over my head, needing to pee but not daring to leave my bed because I knew the dead girl was standing in the corner in her bloody dress, staring at me, waiting.

So, why keep coming back to stuff that damages me? The best answer that I can give is that because I'm easily affected by horror it carries a strong attraction/repulsion for me. The stuff gets me like nothing else does and that's fascinating. I will be there on a horror movie's opening night and I will watch parts of it between interlaced fingers and I will keep looking over my shoulder on the way to my car.

Years of submersion in the horror genre have toughened my skin. Most of the stuff out there is created by fellow enthusiasts and admiration breeds repetition, so there isn't much I haven't seen already. But I am still imaginative, still easily affected by something cleverly designed to get under my skin and root around in me.

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If you'll allow me to all Subtext 101 on you here, part of the appeal of horror for me is that, more than any other form of art or entertainment, it taps most directly into the existentialist dread of existence. I got most strongly into the horror genre during the most unstable time of my upbringing and the one thing that every horror movie, every horror novel, every scary artwork I ever ingested all secretly said the same thing: it's not going to be okay.

You do not have power. You do not have control. We are at the whim of a world that not only doesn't care about us, but is also actively seeking our destruction. Even if you make it through, even if you can eke out some small niche for yourself, the only thing waiting for you at the end of the game is death and darkness and nonexistence. For an awkward and frequently unhappy kid, horror fiction was the only thing that spoke to me in ways I could relate to.

I wanted to BE the monsters. Monsters had continuity. Monsters lived on in story after story. Monsters were the tormentors and the nightmares and the things to be feared. There is a lot of power in monster imagery, and that's what I wanted to draw strength from.

I went through my stereotypical scary-adolescent phase, doing my level best to freak people out so I could dictate the terms of my social interactions and not have them dictated for me. The wise weirdos among us grow out of that phase eventually, cut our hair, ditch the trench coats, and learn not to mumble when we talk, but I can't say that surly teenager isn't completely exorcised from me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh, snap. An introduction, yo.

Another Horror Blog! What Can It Mean?

Welcome one and all to the first horror themed blog/podcast out of San Francisco, CA (that I'm aware of.)

"Creature" will be my stage name. As for my credentials and qualifications, I am a lifetime enthusiast of the horror genre. Books, movies, comics, RPGs, video games, I devoured them all. I'd like to be able to trace this interest to some specific root in my past, some left turn I made during my development when a synapse got crossed and my sense of pleasure got tangled into my enjoyment of fear, but this kind of thing probably shouldn't be scrutinized too closely. Suffice to say, I dig this stuff in a bad way.

I like to think I have a strong enough level of investment in the genre to speak with some degree of authority. Ten years ago (sweet zombie Jesus, where does the times go?) I started my high school's first and only trenchcoat-and-zit-faced-scowl horror club, I hosted weekly monster movie double features at my home to the chagrin of my parents, I managed to get my virgin friend laid during a trip to the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, Kane Hodder scared the wee out of me when I was eleven, I spent a gazillion dollars to travel to Transylvania and visit the ruins of Dracula's castle, I accidentally mangled a lovely autograph Clive Barker gave me, and I've got a statue of Cthulhu sitting on my desk right now.

The trenchcoated members of my horror clubs. The chicks dug us.

The creation of this blog is heavily influenced by other bloggers and podcasters I follow regularly, in particular Final Girl, Bloody Good Horror, and Horror Etc. My day jobs tend to involve a lot of solitude and manual labor, and I got really into listening to podcasts while I worked. I had cast about desperately for awhile, trying to find a forum for intelligent horror discussion. Unfortunately, I found that many forums and websites and podcasts are a bit too misogynistic or homophobic or just plain juvenile for my taste. Eventually I found stuff suited for my taste, created by people who are both enthusiastic and intelligent, and I wanted to contribute something to the discussion.

Make no mistake: I'm here for the fame. And the glory. And the vast, uncountable riches that come from being a blogger. I'm also eager to meet and exchange ideas and opinions with other horror geeks.

In this blog and on the subsequent podcasts, I am going to cover both the genre and the thematic stuff behind the genre (or at least as much as my feeble little mind can cover.) I always like hearing in-depth discussions of movies and I've got my own insights and questions to ask as well.

I like to think of this as an ongoing discussion. If you wanna throw anything at me, the e-mail is I am not a naturally combative person, so civility will be met with civility and rudeness will be met with my trashcan.

ia ia cthulhu fhtagn