The Art of Terror
Emotions are one of the major dictators of our existence (along with rational thought, divinity, sensation, memory, etc.). However, there is one emotion that stands out on top, next to love, and that is fear. Love, and everything associated with it, brings a warm and comforting feeling to an individual, whereas fear is the negation of said feelings; it is the opposite end of the magnet. It is fear that governs half of our actions, but also the inaction as well. It is debilitating, an emotion capable of bringing the most stalwart of individuals to their knees and can end dynasties within a day. It exists within everything and it is subjective to an individual’s personal reality (ex. some are afraid of spiders while others have no problem letting a tarantula crawl down their arm but are frightened by a thunderstorm). Fear is unique to an individual and, at the same time, a shared experience by the masses. Certain external (and internal) stimuli can initiate the creation of fear and in turn, create an experience for the being that forces them to do one thing: to feel fear.
The first scary movie I consciously remember watching was Scream (Dir. Wes Craven). That image of Ghostface chasing a young Drew Barrymore through the dark corridors of that home was defining for me. Of course I wasn’t supposed to be watching it (I was peeking around the corner), but then the fated murder happened and something changed inside me. I felt fear. From this point on Twilight Zone and Syfy Saturday marathons with tales of genetically-engineered monsters and abandoned civilizations populated by shambling corpses were watched, countless books read (notables include Loch, Goosebumps, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which gave me horrid nightmares), and even a few video games contained grisly images (Scream TV from Gex ring any deathbells?). And all of them had one thing in common: they made me feel fear. It wasn’t until I aged that fears started to stem from the inside rather than out, bringing a whole new dimension of terror to the fray. I share all of this in hopes that you understand the power of the fear emotion and what it’s capable of doing, which is helping to create a persona.
These fears experienced both firsthand and fictional had a profound effect on my growth and development as not only an artist and writer, but as a human being as well. Now, I’m tackling the next lesson, which is learning to love fear. With that, I bring you Terror Tuesday. For the month of May I will be releasing horror works on my writing page, The Nuclear Cottage and each Tuesday will bring an original source of fear that germinated from within my mind. Stories will tackle topics such as small town murders, strange encounters in the wood, failure, undead hotlines, identity loss, cannibalistic first dates, and black-eyed beings from beyond the realm of man. The first tale, Encounter, has already been uploaded (as part of the Deathly Double Feature) and you can read the full story by clicking the link.
An excerpt from the short story “Encounter”
“How many hours I spent in this desolate expanse of land, I may never truly know; although I remember watching the sun disappear behind the decaying leaves. Now, there are two types of forests: the normal variety with woods and insects, and then there is the forest after dark, which is more acquainted with alien planets and Grecian labyrinths. Night drew closer, yet the silhouette of my home was lost beyond the mass of evergreen. The chirping of crickets became the screeching of buried sirens, vines that once hugged the bark now hung like nooses that begged for my pulsing neck, and it was as if the darkness itself were made physical. I dare say that if I were to have extended my hand, I would have made contact with something, a shadow, or phantom perhaps. However, my hands were occupied with tightly gripping the flickering yellow flashlight. Realizing that I’d failed to replace the batteries after the most recent summer storm, I was left with no choice but to make a mad dash in whatever direction seemed the easiest to traverse. My feet carried my body through the shadows, my arms constantly being scraped by clawing branches while fallen trees tried to halt my progress; until a decaying root caught the bulk of my boot and sent my frame crashing into a bed of thorns. Indeed, the suddenness of the accident had shocked me, but even as my eyes welled my heart had yet to fully taste the nectar of the macabre…”
Currently, there are no official black “Masters of Horror”, and it is my goal (out of many) to become one as I mature and develop my various crafts. So if you like having a chill creep through your bones then check in each Tuesday for this month to experience these tales of terror by yours truly.