So I was reading the first issue of a new horror comic. I'd known about it for some time and felt quite sure I didn't want to buy it, because horror really isn't my thing. And it was good; I enjoyed it. Before I'd had a few inner dialogues about why I didn't like horror. I used a couple of snotty war-zone-dweller's arguments, silly and self-pity oriented ones I didn't even believe. Then I got to another thing, and that got me thinking. When I read the comic itself, the thought came back.
The thing amused me, but it didn't scare me. Horror, as a genre, is meant to induce fear. The way I gather, that's the whole point of the matter. That I wasn't scared when I read it, is it a failing of mine or of the comic? Or of the genre?
That had been one of my thoughts. How can you base a branch of entertainment on inducing fear? I'd observed that there were several different kinds of horror, and one that I dislike in particular is more about gore and entrails than anything else. But that's disgust, nausea, whatever. You can't call it fear. And other kinds of horror? Today I came to the conclusion that horror, as a genre, confuses me. I don't get it. It causes a reaction, but I'm not sure what to name that reaction.
The obvious answer would be fear, but that doesn't feel right. Whenever I read or watched something that's considered quality horror, I wasn't exactly afraid. The feeling was more like being startled, or rather alarmed. It was a quick feeling, coming and going both. It didn't last long, and it didn't leave much of a trail. I don't think that's fear. Fear as I know it is much more deep-set, lasts longer, leaves more of an emotional residue. Being rattled is, to me, just a faint imitation or real fear, the kind that affects your body and life.
If a good, properly made horror scene can make you jump out of your skin, it's achieved it's goal. Not so? But I still don't think that's fear. Fear seems to me to be something that grows slowly, something that you normally don't notice you have. Fear comes from a realization, or maybe realizing it exists is the realization, whereas the fear itself was there beforehand, affecting you in ways you don't see. Maybe that's what we try to mimic, that realization and its rattling, unnerving effect, because the fear itself is too incomprehensible.
Or maybe I'm just a little out of my mind. Just another one of those confusing thoughts that seem to haunt me nowadays, so I thought I'd share.