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Too Taboo For Horror

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Horror strips away the layers of comfort and expose characters and the reader to life-threatening scenarios. This requires the author to pull from what he or she fears, and more often than not we as human species share a common thread of fears. We don’t like it when our comfort is removed. We don’t like it when our safety is undermined. We definitely do not like it when our life or the life of a loved one is at stake!

Horror isn’t a genre for lovey-dovey and good feelings. You don’t snuggle with a Stephen King novel for comfort. No, you snuggle up to horror because you want to feel the sense of dread, because you want the re-assurance that your life could be bad, but isn’t. Horror exists for one purpose and that purpose is to exploit our fears! But at what cost? To what degree do we allow horror fiction to shine light on the things we fear?

I do not believe at all that there is a topic too taboo for horror to explore. Whether it be gruesome violence, brutal torture, or even rape, it’s all fair game, as long as it’s merited. The power in horror is being able to exploit our deepest and darkest fears, and relevance to those deepest and darkest fears is essential. Some might argue that some might be motivated to imitate certain taboo topics and therefore it should be banned. But I argue what sense does that make? Death and violence is potent throughout horror, and we enjoy the tension and the suspense without ANY study showing a relation between violent media and rate of violent crime. Friday the 13th has been seen by millions and yet we do not see millions of Jason imitators, not even a good dozen.

Some might say that horror shouldn’t explore certain topics because it may offend people. How do you expect to exploit people’s fears without offending them to some degree? Good horror makes us uncomfortable. Good horror challenges our sensibilities, right?

Maybe I’m wrong. Let me know what you think.

1 Comment »

  1. I don’t think that there’s any subject that is too taboo for horror, as long as it is well written and not just trashy shite. I think there’s a fine line between something hitting the spot, and doing an intended job and it just being tasteless.

    I reckon that it’s our job as writers to explore these depths and try to produce prose that deals with these deep and uncomfotable subjects in a way that makes i genuinley scary and entertaining. To be fair, there are non-taboo horror stories out there that I find offensive just because they’re a massive bag of dick, and some really good taboo stories that do it well. For example; Geralds Game by Stephen King describes a paedophilic father getting sexual thrills from his daughter sitting on his knee- but it’s really well written and one of my favourite stories.

    Turbo Slut is entertaining because it’s funny. Is it taboo? Of course, but it does a really good job of entertaining us. It is more ‘Italian Sausage’ than ‘bag of dicks.’

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