By: Grace Hamilton
Vampires are terrifying. So are werewolves and witches come Halloween. Ghosts and ghouls creep into bedrooms and make shapes in the dark. Blockbuster hits give us headless zombies and videogames fill homes with unstoppable gunmen.
The texts in this course have shown us similar kinds of horror. These examples demonstrate a realm of fright belonging to an alternative universe. I don’t remember the last time I accidentally went on a date with a vampire or stumbled upon the devil, do you?
This raises the question: what does horror look like in this universe? In the human world you are living in this very moment. It’s there, I promise…
We are all familiar with the feeling of fear. Fear is the feeling produced in us when we are unsure where the murderer lurks in the house on the screen before us. It is the feeling we feel when we think we hear footsteps in our quiet homes. When we think we are being followed, or when we are young and we think that a monster is beneath our bed. We may tense up a bit, breathing increases, the room feels hotter, and your stomach tightens. Books, films, and oral stories alike have the power to make us sweat.
But what about the fear we experience when we watch horror on the news? Terror overseas that fills people’s homes and sleep. This is the kind of horror that makes entire countries tremble with fear and close their blinds.
There is also horror in the mundane that many of us experience glimpses or inklings of every day. Fear and horror usually take a very different shape in our everyday lives then they do on print, in picture, or on screen. In those instances, the horror is defined by who is telling the story and how it is being told. It is quite another thing when we are living the story itself.
This feeling, fear, is the same one that we get when we see a voicemail from mom after we know we have made a mistake, or “your exam scores have been posted.” Or when you know your heart is about to be broken.
I fear intensely the passage of time. I find its speed horrifying. I think expectations can be terrorizing, hopes can be dangerous, regret makes my blood run cold, and memories are often spooky. The prospect of rejection makes my hairs stand on end and the future is the ultimate creator of panic. These are my monsters, and far more frightening then any myth or movie.
So think about it: What is it that really keeps you up at night?