Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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The H Word

Nonfiction

The H Word: The H is for Harassment (a/k/a Horror’s Misogyny Problem)

It’s well known within the field that horror, in both movies and novels, has a long history of often (perhaps too often, some would argue) being misogynist, relying on extreme rape as a plot device. Although the victims sometimes seek revenge in a one-dimensional pursuit, more frequently it’s used to prove the masculinity of the male protagonist or to offer him a revenge motive. Other times it is simply used for shock value.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Horror and Halloween

Steve Schlozman, a psychiatry professor (known as “the zombie doc” for his ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES: SECRET NOTEBOOKS FROM THE APOCALYPSE), did an experiment to try to understand exactly why people enjoy horror, neurologically. He showed them a picture of a puppy. Then he showed them the image with cat’s eyes Photoshopped onto the puppy. t changed everything.

Nonfiction

The H Word: The Intersection of Science Fiction and Horror

Science fiction and horror share many of the same genre roots; science fictional motifs wind through horror like strands of DNA, and horror’s tentacles have slithered into many works that are otherwise squarely science fiction. If science fiction is the literature of ideas, and horror is the literature of fear, there’s plenty of room for the two to blend.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Misunderstood Monsters

Misunderstood monsters—mindless evil or innocent creatures thrust into circumstances beyond their control? If we look at monster history, there are many monsters who harm, damage, or kill because they blood-lust and enjoy it, and because it feeds a hunger that can only be satisfied by the evil they perpetrate on others. But what about those monsters who, in their search for something else—whether it is love, acceptance, or fulfillment—hurt others in the process?

Nonfiction

The H Word: Nightmares in the Big City

There is safety in numbers, goes the popular adage. While that may be true when considering the likelihood of a car plowing into a group of cyclists, when it comes to life in the big city, living among the masses isn’t going to save you from the Bogeyman. In fact, the masses might have you running for your life.

Nonfiction

The H Word: That Oldest Fear

We’re faced with an eternal conflict. We don’t want to die, but deep down we know it’s inevitable. We also know our loved ones will die, but we don’t want them to come back after they do. Horror helps us come to terms with that, to finally accept it. Through horror we see that, as Lugosi told us in DRACULA, “There are far worse things awaiting man than death.”

Nonfiction

The H Word: Hardboiled Horror

It’s likely you already know the scenarios by heart. Anyone who’s even remotely familiar with James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, or Raymond Chandler would. A cynical, world-weary private eye is visited by a mysterious client (female, more often than not) and winds up taking a case that finally shakes up his life enough to make him feel something—only to inevitably remind him why he always felt safer not feeling anything at all.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Being in the Presence of the Dead

When it comes to people, most of us know the dead only as waxy, foreign looking shells on display in coffins at the occasional funeral. Our world today has largely divorced us from experiencing the many strange and conflicting feelings that come with being in the presence of the dead. We don’t know that horror as much anymore, no matter how many times we see it on TV, and so I wanted to talk about that today.

Nonfiction

The H Word: H for Honesty

Whenever anyone who creates horror fiction says they don’t, it simply confirms me in my commitment to the field. No doubt they have their reasons, but I have mine, which is to support the kind of fiction I’ve loved pretty well ever since I can remember.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Horror Needs New Monsters

For generations, the monsters populating horror fiction have, with very few exceptions, belonged to the scary trinity: vampires, werewolves, and zombies. For every aswang, a dozen Draculaesque vampires sip bodily fluids. For every huli jing, a score of humans transform into their wolfish selves under a full moon. For every draugr, a horde of reanimated corpses out of central casting shambles by looking for brains.