The genre of horror has always attracted me because of its delightful
contradictions. It dares to go where we think we don’t want to. It tests the boundaries we put in place to see just how far is too far and forces us to face our deepest and most profound fears equally beside the ones that we are ashamed to admit. The lure for readers of horror is that the horror genre is actually disturbingly therapeutic. When reading, we trespass into tragedies and terrors and somehow make it through; we push on, keep on going, reading on and on into that shocking abyss where some part of us wants nothing more but to look away and stop reading--to escape. As readers, we become enslaved to the story, to the reactions of our bodies, to the terrible need to find out what happens next. And in the end, the most relieving thing of all is to set down that book and be infinitely grateful for the mundane. Suddenly our lives, which had seemed unexciting and monotonous before, are wonderful. Horror frees us from the mundane and then gives the mundane back to us so that we accept it with open arms.
Horror is like a drug. The body feels horror intensely. When we read
thrillers, we react physically as if the events are happening to us—heart
rate increases, pupils dilate, digestion slows, there is trembling, vessel constriction; a whole flood of neurobiological events occur inside the body. And yet we are in no real danger (hopefully). Therefore, horror
gives us a safe conduit in which we can experience the rush of fear and a full range of uncommon emotions over and over again without consequence.
We can consider what actions we ourselves might take in similar situations perhaps in contrast to the characters. I like to compare horror to an amusement park ride. And who doesn't want to fool our bodies into reacting as if we are really in some danger of falling to our deaths?
Now here is my confession: I actually am not fond of thrill rides, and I'm certainly not an adrenalin junky. Likewise, I am very picky about my horror. I don’t like anything I can’t escape from, so there better be some
pretty powerful reason for me to stay. I have to be able to be caught up in the story, for it to be deeply psychological, to make me think while I’m shaking in my boots. Trust me, I need the therapy. Writing horror is my addiction, my safe outlet to explore all the possibilities, all the craziness, and every fear that lurks in my demented brain.
What could be better than to share them with readers so that we can conquer them together?
Try Jessica Housand-Weaver's horror story, THE SCREAM OF THE SIREN, today to see for yourself.