What is horror?
Although there are many answers to this question, none of them are really right. What is scary to my kids may probably doesn’t phase me. What I’m terrified of may not even register an extra heartbeat to another. Horror is but a moment. It is a fading thought as you’re falling asleep. It’s that mysterious (unseen) noise. It is unknown.
I often ask various directors, writers, and actors what horror is in interviews. I want to know what scares the people that are trying to scare me. I finally got an answer that I absolutely love.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Marc Landau. Marc wrote the film Devoured, the psychological film that just came out this week (iTunes). In it, a single mom is terrorized by supernatural entities while working in a restaurant. The trailer is phenomenal, and be on the lookout for a full review here very shortly.
Marc…What is horror?
Horror is being alive.
You come out of the womb and scream and cry and everyone manhandles you. You can’t even walk. You must CRAWL. And your brain doesn’t function. What’s a word?
And these two hairy giants are always watching you 24/7. Smiling, whatever that is. Looks like they might eat you with those giant teeth. What are teeth? You only have gums.
They tell you what to do. All the time. When you can eat, sleep, play. They “train” you to crap over a giant abyss full of water. You could drown! You can’t swim! Thank god one of them at least has boobies.
Then you go to school and enter Dante’s social network circle of hell.
Then you grow up and have to pay bills or you’ll be homeless and begging for food.
Then, if you’re lucky, you fall in love and get married and have a family you have to take care of…or they’ll die. And you’re always terrified that something will hurt your child, who you would literally kill someone to protect, or die to keep safe. You try to push it to the back of your mind but it’s always there eating at you. Whispering….”Something’s going to hurt them.” You worry, and panic, and prepare for the zombie apocalypse.
Then you get old and it’s back to being a baby again. Except now no one thinks you’re cute. They avoid you because you remind them that they will also get old and die. So they warehouse you in a cement building like an asylum with “caretakers” who are paid minimum wage to change your diapers. Maybe your kids, (the ones you’d die for) visit you once a year just so they can convince themselves they care.
You can’t walk anymore, you have no teeth, and crap yourself again.
Then you die.
Being rich doesn’t even help. It’s much more comfortable, but you’re still dead at the end of it. Unless you freeze your head like Ted Williams and hope they figure out how to reattach it to a cyborg a thousand years from now when aliens have colonized the planet.
And that’s just “normal” life. Forget about all the people with real problems.
If you’re breathing you’ve felt horror at some point in your life. Films are a great way to interpret that into a creative fantasy.