Darker Beauties

6 Oct

While I do not care to conform to societal standards, I want to reread some of my favorite tales of the macabre, especially Dracula, Frankenstein, and a couple of Stephen King novels: ‘Salem’s Lot and Pet Sematary. Additionally, I need to finally get around to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Shining, and the works of H.P. Lovecraft. (Actually, I’ve read a couple of Lovecraft’s early tales, but that’s it.) Am I suddenly in a horror mood due to the approaching holiday of Halloween? Probably, but not because of any strictly conventional norm. I simply love horror, and the impending thirty-first day simply reminds me of what was already prevalent.

OK, so my favorite genre overall is actually fantasy, but I also love its neighbors of horror and science fiction. In fact, my all-time favorite novel – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – could be viewed as all of the three, though it is mainly considered horror. Right now I have a copy and will try to reread it and Dracula soon, provided I can slog past all this schoolwork first. Another great resource for horror fans is the Podcast known as Pseudopod, which consists of audio narrations of horror short stories. The main host, Alasdair Stuart, is awesome. Recently I’ve listened to “The Crawlspace” by Russell Bradbury-Carlin, “That Ol’ Dagon Dark” by Robert MacAnthony, and “The Strange Machinery of Desire” by Justin A. Williams – all great, especially “That Ol’ Dagon Dark”. And I believe Dagon is something related to Lovecraft, though I wouldn’t know firsthand just yet.

Why do some people hate horror? Perhaps they dislike being frightened, which is understandable. I do not spook easily, but even if I did, I would appreciate horrific fiction as an art form. Scaring is more than bloody and startling images; when done well, it needs neither. True fear stems from the mind, and from candor regarding human nature. Stephen King is great at it. And that is why I love this genre, whether or not I am joined by the masses.

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