Writing

Where is your unbridled fear?

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?

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3 thoughts on “Where is your unbridled fear?

  1. I love horror, adore it, grew up reading everything I could and I get such a rush out of being scared. I’m planning on using a lot of my fears in upcoming stories and have tapped into them in the past. I have such fantastically developed paranoia and imagination that I can make anything scary to myself, so even for lame horror movies I’ll jump and no doubt squeal a couple times…

  2. I began enjoying horror movies when I was in elementary school. I have this couple of years older than I cousin who was super into monsters of every kind. He rigged-up a projector and we’d watch magnifications of all kinds of monsters out of monster magazines – his favorite. I honestly didn’t get scared until seeing a movie about werewolves that my mother didn’t know I went and saw. It was one of the originals I think, where this terrible criminal was in a jail cell and raped a young woman who gave birth to the werewolf. I think I was eleven when I saw it and it stayed with me all throughout the years. I then saw the first of The Howling movie series and got so nauseated during the transformation stage of the werewolf that I had to go home, lie on the couch and not move at all for about two hours to keep from barfing. That’s pretty much been the end of my werewolf saga. Decided to cash it in after that. Still do love all the old Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff movies though! (Especially Boris!)

  3. Funny you should mention werewolves! There was an old TV series called Werewolf that I used to watch as a kid. I just have this very very vivid memory of a dead mime from it, that and the main character and the big evil werewolf fighting in a burning house. Given it was an 80’s series, the transformation and makeup sequences were very good, despite the budget.

    Thanks for the comment! Good to see new blood 🙂

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