One of the biggest lessons that Scooby-Doo taught me is that there is safety in numbers. Shaggy, either out of wisdom or fear, knew that greater than anybody else in the group. He experienced camaraderie and lack of it and applied that knowledge of both situations to create his understanding. In many ways, I relate to him. His fears, though silly, tended to be rational, based on his personal experience. As fans of the horror genre, I believe we can all understand that. We tend not to have many irrational fears, but seeing the world for what it is, our fears are based on reality. This is not a factual, blanket statement. I’m sure there are some of us who still have a very real fear of letting your foot or hand, hang over the sides of our beds while we sleep. I’m not here to judge, I’m just pointing out that we may not have any proper ground to stand on for this one.
During an interview, John Carpenter was asked why people are drawn to his films and why he’s so successful. His response was that “we’re all afraid of the same things. It’s those fears that unite us as people.” The first time I heard that, it hit me in a heavy way. We all, at some point in our lives, feel alone. Whether that feeling is real or imagined, there’s hope in that statement that says we’re never alone. Every thought, feeling and idea we have is based on our surroundings. As depressing as that could sound, I believe that something as powerful as the feeling of loneliness, assuming you don’t want to stay there, can be turned into a desire to move. More than anything, there’s a lot of disconnect due to our own perception of how things are and how things should be. The lie that most of us tend to believe is that we have to keep at it alone, or that it’s something that can’t be changed. The truth is, there is safety in numbers. When we’re together, we’re powerful.
Community is simple. It’s all about living life with like-minded people or people who share a common goal. To have that community, every person doesn’t have to agree on everything. In fact, the ability to challenge each other’s thoughts is how we grow as people! Community is something that can be built as long that there is a common goal. The only caveat is that it needs to be a goal worth fighting for. If the idea is too small and other opinions are too strong, the relationship will break. More than anything, we need a common ground as people. We can not grow as individuals or as a nation on our own. This is a call for that community. I believe to achieve a genuine community, it will be a challenge. But I also believe that challenge breeds progress, and if we don’t see progress as a worthy goal to chase after, we’re screwed.
I don’t have a desire to grow the horror community. I think a goal like that would actually harm what’s already there. In an attempt to evangelize the non-horror lover, terms like “smart horror” have been coined to prove to the world that there’s more to it than just the guts and gore. Intelligent horror stories are being written now, much like intelligent horror stories were being written into Greek mythos. In my personal opinion, I think labeling something as “smart horror” is a bullshit cash grab to make another dollar off a larger audience. Yet, at the same time, I am very happy with the mainstream strides the genre has made because ultimately, it will result in more content for the lovers of the genre.
Horror is a confrontation genre that opens the door to discuss the things we fear the most. It has the capability to challenge the way we think. It enables us to see life through a different lens and face the things we all fear. It forces us to confront those fears as opposed to living a life of elusion. I believe that challenge can produce progress in our lives, and all the more if we do it together. Get to know your local horror community. Make things happen and live life together with the goal of growing together.
As for our area, know that’s the goal. We want to meet, and know as many people as we can who share a love for the macabre. We want to push further and further out, not to expand the horror community, but to bring this one tighter together.
We believe that community is important and that it’s something worth fighting for.