Sunday, September 20, 2015

Horror is the Exorcist

The other day I was doing some research for a client’s project when I came across this article at The article talks about a small Congolese film production group that made a zombie movie. According to the article, this short film was a way to confront the true horrors and trauma of the violence the group and much of society in the Congo face. When a bad experience strikes, it stays with you for a long time. Unfortunately for some, like many of the people in the Congo, it stays with them for life. That’s why the ghost, zombie and other archetypes of the undead are so popular in the horror genre because they embody our deepest fears, our worst experiences and the emotional wounds that result from them. The horror story exorcises our personal demons.

By the way, the movie, entitled The Mysterious Dream, isn’t a bad one. While it may not be anywhere near blockbuster status, it has some good cinematography and is reminiscent of the zombie films of the 1960s and earlier because it was shot on reel rather than so much on a digital camera. I strongly suggest you check it out.

Credit: Peace Forever Studios

The Demons In Our Lives

We all have personal demons of one sort or another. Life is chaotic. Seemingly, at least. All of us have been through some experience we never want to repeat again. Some of us have been victims of violent crime, domestic abuse or, which was my case, bullying. These experiences as well as others have left negative impacts on our lives. Some of us are emotionally scarred by these experiences more than most people. 

Because these experiences are so impacting, we see the world as chaotic and without retribution such as when a violent racist gets off free because of some legal loophole or even a corrupt act in the system. We tell ourselves, these things aren’t supposed to happen, especially to those of us who do good most of the time and have been brought up to respect the well-being of others. The chaos of the situation seems so bad to some of us we need to come to terms with it and put it in some sort of order and, therefore, give it some sort of meaning. Religion has done this throughout the ages, but religion doesn’t work for everybody. So those who can’t make sense of their past traumas turn to art.

Horror Channels the Demons

Horror is one of many genres in art that we artists and writers turn to to make sense of the chaos. Horror exorcises us of those demons called fear and trauma similar to the way the priest in the movie The Exorcist does with the possessed girl. Reading and writing horror is a way of channeling the otherwise pent up energy that comes from tension and anger caused by bad experiences like a medium channels evil spirits from a house. What we can’t do in real life to channel that bad energy such as carrying out violence and destruction to those who wronged us, we do through characters in fiction.

In other words, horror in storytelling is a form of therapy like all art. In fact, it may be the best therapy of all the genres because it deals with our innermost fears the most. It does this through the metaphor of the monster.

Preview of Coming Attractions

The Fool’s Illusion turns two years old this Tuesday 22 September! Look out for a special blog post to celebrate the occasion along with a special offer! If you’re concerned you’ll forget and miss that offer in your busy life, which all our lives are, then subscribe to this blog where indicated below in the right-hand sidebar.

Until next time . . . 

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