As a genre, horror is escapism, but is it all the time?
For fans of the genre, we can’t help but often wonder about the supernatural goings-on in most tales. After all, how many horror geeks would love to be a vampire? I sure would. Not to feed on the poor or innocent, but to chow down on the creeps and criminals – murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and politicians. They’d all be on my menu. But the personal, more selfish element is to be immortal. To never die, and to relish in the history of the world as it continually unfolds – for all time.
But we will die. All of us. At one point, we will shed our mortal coil, and… Well, we have no clue what happens next. Religions the world over have survived on that fear, and many sell the notion of another Universe beyond the physical one in which we currently reside. The idea that there may be nothing upon death freaks us out, and we may avoid such a topic altogether to distance ourselves from any sort of panic. Others believe in resurrection, whether to come back as an insect, animal, another human, alien, or maybe even a star. But to come back, to live again, brings relief.
Many who don’t indulge in horror may think fans are a bit crazed. I mean, why the hell do we want to revel in a zombie apocalypse, or to see crazed monsters tear up the countryside? Maybe that’s because in horror the story’s heroes have a chance to fight back, to take a stand, to thwart that eternal goodnight. And even if said hero fails to win against the monster, against possession, against a wily demon, at least he or she had the chance to stand tall and fight the good fight. Most of us will simply perish from natural causes or an accident, and won’t have the ability to go down swinging.
Currently, my mother is dying from the nightmare of Parkinson’s disease – something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. She’s lived a good life, after a very hard and abusive childhood. She raised my siblings and I as best she could, and allowed us all to pursue our goals and dreams with a tremendous cheer, even when she didn’t grasp why on Earth my brother wanted to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, why my sister would take a chance on being a fine artist, and why I’d risk financial success by becoming a writer instead of sticking with marketing.
My mother’s mantra, “Take each day as it comes”, is winding down for her. She wants to die, to be with my wonderful and inspiring father in the netherworld, but right now, she’s afraid to let go. My mom, the matriarch for her entire family, clings to life though she can’t walk or sit up, though she can’t engage in conversation or even feed herself. Yes, it’s hard to see a once strong woman appear so weak and tired and helpless.
Rest assured, when Netflix sends along the next horror, I’ll root for that hero to stand tall, and get their best shots in against an insurmountable foe from another planet, another realm, or even from the new small town they moved into.
As horror fans, we question what comes next after life, and we sometimes find solace in those movies, mostly ghost stories, that are based on true events, such as THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT (2009) or AUDREY ROSE (1977), or what have you. When horror shines its black light on the spiritual, we know there’s something beyond the physical. Or at least we hope so.
When my Mom finally passes on, I hope she’s reunited with my father, her knight in shining armor. Their love was so strong, and they were so committed to each other, that if there isn’t a heaven, or “another place” to flourish, I certainly hope their passion will create one for all of us.