To many people, the horror genre… Ever notice putting the word “genre” next to something instantly gives it sense of legitimacy? Pardon my digression and obvious attempt at stalling to give myself time to come up with an answer to that question – “Why horror?” As I was saying, many people see the horror genre as a category of works focusing on the basest of emotions and appealing only to the lowest level of society. Maybe that’s overstating it a bit. But then again, it sure seems that in the universal ranking of genres, horror is often placed only slightly above pornography. Okay, before you get the idea that I am in any manner seeking to attack pornography, that is not the case. As long as everyone involved in producing the material is of legal age and doing it freely, how can it be wrong? Okay, I am not here to defend pornography either. Another digression and another apology. The only reason I mentioned pornography is in comparison to the horror genre. I wonder why you never hear anyone say “the pornography genre”. I think it may be worth looking into. Anyway, pornography and horror do have certain things in common beyond the low esteem in which they are held by many. Both types of entertainment appeal to basic human elements. The first is of course the sexual drive which is the focus of pornography. Obviously, I am no psychologist, but fortunately one doesn’t need formal training to form a theory. Therefore, I am happy to announce that I have a theory. It is that we as humans are predisposed to being afraid. We have legitimate fears about the world around us. We are afraid of getting sick, afraid of being alone, afraid of never being alone, afraid of not being able to pay the mortgage, afraid of what others think of us, afraid of change, afraid of so many, many things that I’m afraid there is not room to list them all. Into this long list of legitimate fears comes the horror genre. These are works of manufactured fear. A few zombies trying to eat your brains or a ghost appearing from behind the closet door can do wonders for relieving our need to be scared and put the trials of everyday life in perspective. Suddenly the world becomes a much simpler place. The thinking becomes, “I may not be able to make the rent payment this month and will probably get evicted, but at least I don’t have zombies trying to eat my brains!”
So the short answer to that question – “Why horror?” I write horror novels, because I read Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot when I was in junior high and have wanted to write horror novels ever since.