How did we come to this? What was the journey taken to bring us here? Why do we look upon an open grave as an opportunity? Why do rotting corpses, animated and not, draw from us a smile? Why do shadowy wisps of ectoplasm bring us joy and hope?
I am fascinated by shadows and I know you are too.
Horror is not for everyone; not even in passing. Horror is not a hobby; it is a passion, a lifestyle and a direction of mind.
For example, the most delicious aspect to the Food Channel involves cutlery; true or false? Be honest. Be deeply true and honest with yourself. Doesn’t that clever inspire you?
When I was a child of five my first finger painting assignment was finished quickly. While my classmates took due care in scrawling the likenesses of their families and pets; their homes and yard; their leafy trees, gardens and the golden sun, mine stood apart.
I am no artist. I can only draw stick figures --- badly and even obscenely. What set my painting aside was something else; a surprise to my friends and family no doubt, but something I automatically knew and was drawn to do.
My painting was black. It was all black. It was nothing but black end to end and side to side. Every space on the yellow construction paper including the corners and edges were covered. So were my fingers and palms as I smeared the black paint obsessively and thickly to be make sure nothing of light shown.
Then each of my classmates, alphabetically of course, shared their bucolic lives; their happiness and story book perfection. When my teacher reached the “P’s” the mood of the day changed significantly.
Teacher: “Okay Joseph what exactly did you draw?”
I was eager to share. I was proud to be asked. This was to be a watershed moment in my little life. The words spilled from my tongue with glee.
Me: “Death. This is death.”
My feet never touched the ground as my teacher tightly grasped my right wrist as she ran to the principal’s officewith me in tow. With the painting in my left hand I could have been mistaken for a kite.
In succession, the principal, then my parents and soon the Board of Education’s psychologist saw and studied my masterpiece and heard my oration. And what was the result of this incident?
No institutionalization; no drugs; just a suspension from ‘Chiller Theater’ and the ‘The Twilight Zone’.
No matter I still had my dreams…
How did we come to this? What was the journey taken to bring us here?
Nature; it is our nature deeply imprinted on our DNA, residing deep within our guts, flowing through every artery and blood vessel. It is nature.
Our nature; horror is what we breathe; what we taste; what we see and hear. Horror is us and our thoughts and imaginations.
Horror is our wonder and humor. It is our comfort in the night. It demonstrates our ability to expand our minds over the drone of saccharine.
Horror allows us to transport ourselves from the day to day to explore the depths of humanity and existence, the mystery that is man in a more meaningful way than any ‘Hallmark’ movie.
Why horror? Because my friends we are fortunate and blessed.
Article by: Joseph J. Patchen
I am the resident literary critic for www.lurid-lit.com and have published short stories, poems and articles in a variety of venues.
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