I’m a child of Generation X, also known as the Devil Child Generation (so says my friend who is far too well read on these generation things), which means that I was in my youth as the world was being pummeled by horror films and demon childs like Damian. Ah yes, a time when we didn’t have to go for realistically gory to get a scare. But then, it was also a time which ended up for the staple spoofs of the girl wandering off into the dark to meet her well deserved demise.
If you don’t think this age of fear was all that good, see the original Hills Have Eyes.
The short of it is that I grew up in a popular age of horror, and was never really all that phased by it. But I hear that as you grow older, and realize all those things like family and such, horror films take on a little more of an edge. Maybe we’ve seen a little of what the true horror of the world is like.
There are two things that have always got me in a bad way. Aliens. Zombies.
Aliens, probably because I grew up on an isolated farm when I was small. Lots of dark, rolling hills, and the strobing light of a distant lighthouse. It was a wild and dark place. And I read about aliens at a young age. The 1950’s sort. Men in Black. Roswell. I saw a wealth of strange, grainy UFO photos. With the huge expanse of sky above me at night, there was always something just slightly possible about UFOs.
The other, and this one is entirely an urban fear, is zombies. I’m not sure when this fear first set in. I remember watching the original Night of the Living Dead and thinking how incredibly bleak and nasty a film it was for the 1960s. It must have scared the living shit out of the audiences. Back then, zombies overwhelmed with sheer numbers.
Come the remake of Dawn of the Dead came something different. The reinvention of the genre with 28 Days Later gave us the same, running, sprinting, crazy zombies. This just made it harder to escape. I remember the opening sequence of Dawn of the Dead being just as bleak as the original Night, although following an in your face rather than implied and hidden approach. As Johnny Cash strummed away, the world goes to total hell and chaos. Yuck.
Just like with the little greys in my youth, there is that feeling that it’s just even remotely possible that the whole world could turn into zombies. How impossible is that especially with our current pandemic of influenza? For me, I think it’s the unbridled chaos of a zombie situation that scares me. Total lawlessness and death.
This is a great place to write from, if you can integrate it. A Glimpse of Heaven and Hell is the only time I’ve written about zombies and integrated a little of that fear. But what unbridled fears do you have? Do you use those dark and horrible places inside your mind? Everyone has that personal Silent Hill, but how does it affect your writing?