The full range of horror

So, I really wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to grow up to be Elvira. Horror hosts and anthology shows are things that have always intrigued me. Shows like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Dark Side, Tales from the Crypt, and on and on…they’re fabulous. Where else can you get such a range of stories, from those that are more pulp-oriented to those that are downright literary? And with the horror hosts, where else can you find good, old-fashioned cheesy schlock and appreciate it for what it is? I’m a lover of all of that stuff, especially when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I love that there are book variations of the theme, too. From anthologies that show us the best selections of genre fiction like The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, to comic titles like EC and Creepy and Tales from the Crypt  (yes, it’s a comic, too) that help us appreciate quickie genre stories that are over-the-top and there for genre’s sake, well…I’m glad they all exist. They all play to different moods people have and different sides of the same coin.

There is definitely a part of the horror genre that aims to make us think. It can use metaphor as commentary and scare us because it really makes us dig down and wonder about ourselves.

There is also that part of horror that is gratuitous, implausible, and so borderline ridiculous that it sometimes drifts into comedic territory. I totally love that, too. I’ve said it before but laughter and tears are two sides of the same coin. Horror and comedy go hand in hand…they’re twins of a sort. Isn’t that what Halloween is about, after all? You recognize your mortality, you fear what’s out there, but you’re also so glad you’re alive, it makes you laugh in relief.

So why not appreciate the full scope of horror – from the terrifying to the terribly hilarious?

And now I want to hear from you…what are your favorite horror types? Do you like things gory? Do you like subtle and spooky? More fantasy oriented? Sexy? True to life? Supernatural? Gothic? Historical? Silly?

What about horror hosts? Are you an Elvira fan? Svenghouli? The Cool Ghoul? Who do you remember fondly? What shows, B Movies or anthology shows/books do you favor?


2 thoughts on “The full range of horror

  1. I like a lot of that stuff too, Selah. Creepiness speaks to a primitive part of our beings and provokes strong emotions. I love feeling shivery and spooked out! My *Favorite* creepy movie is Dracula with Bela Lugosi. For me, that one captures the essence of horror and suspense. The silent parts are all the more creepy because there’s no music to distract me from how scary it is!

    I love a good horror-tinged movie any time of year. Not the recent blood-n-gore stuff, that’s not scary because for me it’s not suspenseful. They’re too predictable. For me suspense in movies was done much better in the 50s and earlier. Yeah there was some cheese then–and some of those are, as you say, great for what they are–but the dramatic ones were better back then.

    And I have to add that I love “Plan 9 From Outer Space” precisely because you can’t take movie seriously. I laugh through the whole thing and have a great time with it.

    Books are harder. I don’t care for a lot of the “horror” genre because of the gore factor. Suspense and subtle fear are more effective for me. I enjoyed “The Green Mile” because it wasn’t hit-me-on-the-head-with-scary sort of stuff.

    Enjoyed the post 🙂 I like carrying a bit of Halloween around with me all the time. Complacency is over-rated!

    1. I love it! And totally agree – there is something to be said for the earlier dramatic horror. Even the classic monster movies seemed to have more metaphor back then (like the scene in Frankenstein where he’s playing with the little girl). LOVE Bela Lugosi…even when he plays Dracula in the Abbot and Costello movie, he’s so mesmerizing. I love Vincent Price, too…the original House of Wax still intrigues me. Nosferatu is another one that I remember really being impacted by the first time I saw it.

      And admittedly I love a lot of schlocky creature movies just because they’re so ridiculous! I love your comment about complacency being over-rated. Definitely true with the horror genre! And yes – carry Halloween in your heart all year!

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