A Perspective On Horror

Horror is good because it lets you metabolize the feelings you were already feeling anyway. It lets you run towards the thing you were afraid of, a thing that is often imaginary and thus which is hard to run towards in the normal world. Horror is in the business of egregores: it puts faces and names and materialistic situations to the unnameable thing which haunts us. It collects the thousand papercuts of our life into just one looming blade, which we can then see clearly.

Horror is often validating. The world tells you explicitly that you are in control. It tells you that you are safe. But often you don’t feel in control. And often you feel in danger. Horror tells you that you were right. For every part of your body that is scared to hear this, another part is relieved.

Horror is often a koan. It self-contradicts, and then points to the contradiction, smiling. And then afterwards, it points to your fears from your own life, which also often self-contradict. And it smiles then too.

Good horror satisfies my broken beliefs about the shape of the world. You don’t help conspiracy theorists by yelling at them and denying them. you meet them where they’re at, and slowly walk them over to the light. Horror meets the parts of me which have been denied where they’re at.

My favorite horror media:

  1. The Magnus Archives (podcast)
  2. August Heat, by WF Harvey (short story)
  3. The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
  4. The Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James
  5. Uzumaki, by Junji Ito
  6. House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski
  7. Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer
  8. The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
  9. A Night in the Lonesome October, by Roger Zelazny
  10. Anatomy, by Kitty Horrorshow (game)
  11. Haunted Cities v4, by Kitty Horrorshow (game)
  12. Signalis, by rose-engine (game)
  13. Amnesia: The Dark Descent, by Frictional Games (game)