Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Possessions, Ghosts, and Everything Horror. Why do we like them so much?

With October fast approaching, horror fans all over the world are salivating over the many movies we'll enjoy in theaters everywhere. Already The Possession has earned a total of 33 million dollars and opened as the number one movie during its debut weekend, and it's only september! With movies like V/H/S and Paranormal Activity 4 which claim to be the scariest movie ever and the scariest franchise ever, respectively, it seems there are no limits to what a good trailer can sell, no matter how disappointing the actual films turn out to be. Truth is, as the last film gets ripped apart by devotees and critics, there will always be those who still enjoy the ride, and no sooner the big screen fades into blackness, the new 'scarier/gorier/most realistic film ever' is released.

But if you still doubt about the genre popularity, don't look further than your own TV. Celebrity Ghost Stories, Ghostly Encounters, My Ghost Story, and Haunted Collector are but a fraction of the dozens of shows that have sprout in recent years. The fact is that the Horror Genre is not only alive, but has gone mainstream in a big way and our hunger for 'True Stories' is more avid than ever.

Hauntings, exorcisms, demons, and ghosts are no longer a once-in-a-year fest, but a year-round-spook-galore. Suddenly vampires (hello Damon!) are more popular than doctors (Dr. McWho?) and being a Ghost Hunter can allow you to quit your day job as a plumber. But, why on earth is it that we are so interested in the paranormal? This, my friends, is the million dollar question and if you're able to answer it, you might be able to ride the paranormal wave all the way to the bank.

In my case, I've always been interested in the paranormal. It is a mysterious field where no answer is definitive and no one can be certain of the truth. I have learned not to believe everything that I hear, and I know most of those shows 'based on real stories' use the term 'based' very loosely. Still, there's a part of me that finds an inordinate amount of pleasure in the rumor that the lyrics of Hotel California really told the story of Anton Lavey's satanic congregation. Why? Because there's a special beauty in folklore, because some mysteries are better left unveiled, because if we believe that there's dark behind the curtain, then it means there is light as well.

So, tell me, are you a fan?


Rebecca Alexander said...

Every time I start out writing a 'grown up' story, the paranormal creeps in. The one where full on sorcery broke in got me an agent... because the readers love a good magical story as much as we writers do. Great stuff.

Michael Pierce said...

I love PA 1 and enjoyed PA 3, so I'm interested in the fourth installment. V/H/S looks interesting, I just hope it doesn't jump around too much and make me sick. Haha. I'm really looking forward to American Horror Story returning!

Chris Fries said...

As little kids, we're both afraid of the dark and enchanted by make-believe, just as a normal part of being children. It's a by-product of the way our brains naturally develop.

I think horror and paranormal entertainment is a way to hold onto that as adults -- it's a blend of the "what-if?" make-believe and the "what's there?!" fear of the dark.

It's entertaining and escapist, frightening without being real, an adrenalin rush with a safe outcome, and an entirely normal part of being human.

It's in our religions and it's in our legends, and it goes all the way back to cave drawings and stories around the fire. One of the oldest known pieces of Anglo-Saxon literature is the story of Beowulf battling the paranormal monster Grendel.

M Pax said...

I would hate to learn the truth behind some mysteries. It would ruin them.

I'm interested in the paranormal because of some things I've seen.

Gina said...

Rebecca, it's awesome that following your inner voices brought you an agent. Congrats! I'm fully convinced that magic and the paranormal will always be hot, so keep listening to the voices. =)

Michael, I think PA1 was the best of the pack and though I'm looking forward to PA4, I don't expect it to be as awesome as the first. American Horror Story, I couldn't follow the first season because it wasn't transmitted in Canada, so now I just cant wait to see what all the hype is about!! Intelligent horror shows are always welcome by lovers of the genre.

Chris, I do believe that paranormal tales have existed for as long as humans have populated the earth, they are ingrained in our brains. In my case, I totally enjoy the adrenalin surge knowing all I have to do is turn the TV off to get away from the scary monster. ;)

M Pax, I was so sad when I read the true story behind the Hotel California song! Legends and folklore are so much better than reality... Somewhere among the hundreds of paranormal books I read I found a quote saying: "It seems that only those who haven't experience something still don't believe." I've never forgotten it.

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Gina said...

Thanks to you for commenting, it's always very nice to know what the readers think of my rants ;). I hope you keep visiting!