I wanted to say that I’ve always been interested in horror, but that’s not really true. Fascinated and frightened, yes. If I had to hazard a wild guess as to why, I think the easy target would be growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. Anything the religion viewed as occult was to be avoided at all cost, and the definition of occult was far ranging depending on who was giving their opinion at the time. It could be anything from the movie “The Exorcist” to the cartoon “The Smurfs”, and I’m not joking.
Once I left the religion, one of the first things I wanted to do is start reading and watching things that before I would have thought of as evil. One of the first things I did was start reading Stephen King. My maternal grandmother loved reading horror and suspense, and I had been secretly wishing I could read some of his books. Now I’m sure many Jehovah’s Witnesses read and have read books by King. Again, evil is in the eye of the beholder. In my particular situation, books written by people like Stephen King were to be avoided. And the first thing I wanted to do was read something. It was amazing, and freeing, to just read and watch what I wanted. For some reason Neil Gaiman had been on my “avoid as evil” list but good god (yes, lower case) do I love his stuff.
Movies were great as well, but I found I wasn’t as much into the slasher/torture movies as I was the paranormal and psychological thrillers. One of my favorite movies recently was The Witch. Just amazing from beginning to end, and really represents the kind of movie that I love to watch and yet 20 years ago would never have dreamed of looking at.
I recently finished reading “The Witches” by Stacy Schiff. It was a very detailed description of what went down in 1690’s Salem and the surrounding areas. I found it fascinating that the sort of ultra-strict religious atmosphere that existed at the time really enabled the whole horrible ordeal to take place. The only thing about the book I didn’t enjoy was that the author didn’t seem to tie any of the facts together to draw some sort of conclusion on why these events took place.
Perhaps she was doing her job as a historian and not inserting herself into the narrative, and I shouldn’t issue demerits for that reason. But at times the book was a chore to get through, with a lot of names and dates that blurred together after a while. Do not read this book if you are tired! Overall though, it was very informative to read what happened without having the information twisted by trying to make it entertainment.
The truth is scary enough. It did make me want to watch The Witch again, though.