I have often said that I dislike horror -- horror fiction, horror films, horror soups (tripe and onions), in fact anything that has anything to do with horror. But I've never really explained why this should be so. It's time I provided such an explanation. Here it is!
I dislike the "horror" genre because when it comes to any particular horror product, it either (a) works, or (b) doesn't work.
If (a) is true then the result is that it scares me. I am frightened! I don't like being frightened, thanks! Last night I was sitting on a sofa with my best friend and a piece of fluff fell down on us. I'm not sure exactly what it was or where it came from. It might have been part of a ceiling cobweb. For an instant I didn't know what it was and I was alarmed! I made an alarmed expression with my face. My friend noticed my expression and it caused her to panic. She jumped up, cried out in fear and flailed at me with her arms while shouting, "What is it? What is it? What is IT?"
I didn't enjoy that experience. I don't believe that feelings of terror are useful to me. This holds true whatever the context. I don't like it when I cross the road and almost get hit by a speeding car. I don't like being menaced by savage dogs, bison or vultures. I just don't like being scared. In fact I regard it as an attack! If something frightens me, then it has opened hostilities on me. That's the way I see it. And I will defend myself. If I can't defend myself because I lack time or opportunity, I will
plan revenge against the thing that has scared me! If a spider runs out at me from under the bed, I will
dress as a giant bird and wait for it the next time with massively gaping cardboard beak. If a real werewolf lunges at me out of the night, I will
dig a pit trap lined with silver spikes before the next full moon. And if I read a horror novel that frightens me, I will
plan equally lethal retaliation against the author.
On the other hand, or talon, if (b) is the case, then the product has failed to do what it promised and I will want my money back. I will demand other forms of penance and reparations too... So horror can't win. That's why I dislike it. And possibly why it dislikes me.