Coffee and Contemplation: What’s So Bad About Horror?

With the sequel to the film IT (2017) releasing soon, I’ve become impatient. After seeing the first film, I added this film to my top 5 favorite movies. I felt the horror film had finally gained some credibility. Despite the popularity, horror still gets a bad name. Horror films are rarely featured at film awards except for special effects of sound design. The only exceptions are true crime films about murder or serial killers. Nothing with creatures or other supernatural figures make the cut unless they’re animated children’s films. I’m certain there are other exceptions but I’m too lazy to do that much research.

The newest rendition of Pennywise is a great film. It’s written well and directed well. Coworkers and colleagues of mine said they didn’t like the film. Their reasoning was they like classic horror movies and that one felt too “blockbuster-y.” I disagree. Classic horror is great, but one cannot compare that to newer films. Consider each film separately without bias from previous films. What’s strange is the media’s take on the new film from Stephen King’s novel. Many media outlets and blog writers didn’t call the film horror. Instead they used terms like “psychological thriller” or “coming-of-age.” 

These terms are good descriptors, but the term horror must be included as well. Laura Bradley writes in her Vanity Fair Article (2017), “The new It movie, you’ve probably read time and time again, is a great coming-of-age story a la Stand by Me.” Other than both stories being from the mind of King and both stories being about kids, these two films don’t have much in common considering genre. Bradley goes on in her article to make some excellent points about how Beverly Marsh is portrayed in the new film. It is worth the read. But why doesn’t she call it a horror film.

Another interesting fact most people may not be aware of, on Instagram, the hashtag #horror has a disclaimer. When you search this hashtag, Instagram gives this message, “Can we help? Posts with words or tags you’re searching for often encourage behavior that can cause harm and even lead to death. If you’re going through something difficult, we’d like to help.” Last time I checked, enjoying horror films, shows, or novels didn’t mean you wanted to harm yourself. Instagram is attempting to censor many industries including female fitness influencers. I wonder if this was how the censorship in Nazi Germany started. When did America become a fascist dictatorship?

My main question is why does horror get a bad rep? Yes, there are some lower quality films that use the objectification of women to make up for poor storylines and terrible makeup or special effects. That’s a generalization of the genre. It has other facets. There are some great films that often get overlooked because the audience said it wasn’t scary enough. The film Jennifer’s Body (2009) is a brilliant film. The dialogue is smart and fun. The story sounds like an overdone troupe but it all works well.

The film tanked at the box office ten years ago. The reviews from critics and regular movie goers were harsh. It’s making a comeback as a cult classic but there are at least two reasons for its failure. Number one, it was marketed as a horror film. This is not accurate. Constance Grady called the film what it is in her Vox Article (2018), a “feminist horror comedy.” It was funny with great social commentary. The only people who thought it was scary were stupid men and boys. They were scared of the idea of a strong female character who ate men. It made them uncomfortable.

Reason number two, 2009 wasn’t ready for the statement the film made. The scared men and boys influenced the ratings and reviews. There were still large groups fighting against homosexuality. The public opinions of Megan Fox and Diablo Cody were poor. It was the perfect storm of negativity. I thought this film was hilarious and loved every minute of it. Do people only allow themselves to like horror films once they’ve been around for a while? Is it not okay to like supernatural horror movies when they’re new?

What I want from filmmakers is for them to focus more on the story and less on trying to scare their audiences. Those troupes are overdone. I want a good story. Jennifer’s Body has a good story. IT has a good story. I recently saw Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) and it has a good story. I haven’t looked for any reviews. I wonder what others are saying. It is a great film and a great adaptation of the children’s books by Alvin Schwartz.

I want audiences to change their perspective of horror film as well. I want hardcore horror fans to accept all form of horror. Not just slasher films or creature features. I want those who dislike horror to stop generalizing the genre and give new films a chance. Is that too much to ask? I don’t expect people to change overnight. I hope people will surprise me.

New Books Coming 2019

After many hours (and tears), I have several stories finished. I’m sure I could edit even more, but I’ve decided its time to move on and leave them as they are. Are they publishing worthy? The writing is better than most books out on the shelves, but I’m not well known so no one wants to offer me the chance. No worries, I’ll keep writing until I’m dead. I have one more story I want to go over one more time and then all I have are stories that I need to finish writing. I’ve been putting them off to finish editing. A vicious cycle.

Coming January 22, 2019, I’m publishing my first novella, “The Tommy Gun.” I wrote this in November 2017 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and was pleased with my success at writing so much. Does that mean the story is great? You be the judge. Either way, it’s finished, and I can move on to writing my first novel. My novella is just under 50,000 and I want my novel to be around 85,000 to 90,000 words. Wish me luck. I’m adjusting small formatting issues with the eBook and Paperback, but once that’s all finished, I’ll post more details about “The Tommy Gun.”

Coming April 23, 2019, I’m publishing the next installment of my Dollar Tales eBook series. “Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum: Creatures” will include five short stories including my take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, except they’re not teenagers anymore. Some call this Fan-Fiction, I call it fiction. One of the stories is a continuation of Siris Grim Letters, the curator of the Morbid Museum. This eBook series is building up to the full short story collection “The Morbid Museum” which part of me hopes to finish by next October. I have three stories to finish and edit.

Also, my goal is to have a couple more stories published through online magazines before publishing a paperback of the full collection. I have published three stories online, you can find links to them in the sidebar, and hope to have more published soon. I have another flash fiction story that was published but it will not be included in this collection. I am also working on the next collection of poetry but as yet do not have a publication date. I also intend to have a few poems published in magazines before the next collection is published.

I have this ambitious project of analyzing horror fiction, specifically supernatural fiction and I don’t feel I have to time to focus on it the way I should. For now, I’ll use this as a list of things to read and watch and cross things off my list as I go with maybe a short summary or writeup of my thoughts. That will at least get me started and help me keep going. I can do that with many of the titles on my large list, I just have little motivation to do anything. C’est la vie! 

Overworked and Underpaid Kills Creativity


I’ve been lacking in my updates and posts lately. I’ve stayed busy and most of my time has gone elsewhere with multiple jobs and other writing adventures. I created links for all my published works where they were first published if not in an eBook on the right column of my website. I hope to have many more published but I’m behind on writing and editing; mostly editing. I will only get further behind during the holidays. This is the time I put in the most work for the Tucson Fringe Festival, of which I am a member of the board and the treasurer. The festival is mid-January, so all the planning happens in November and December.

I’ve started a new novel which I’ve had to put on hold to finish other projects, but the outline is finished and sometimes the hardest part is figuring out the sequence of events. I have a long way to go before my novella is finished. The writing is done but it requires so much editing and it’s the longest work I’ve ever written which makes it more time consuming. Then I have multiple short stories that need finished and edited. A private office would be helpful, but I don’t have the money at the moment and that’s why I’m working multiple jobs.

I am not in a position where I can work for myself which would be the best thing for me. I’d have less stress and fewer worries provided I’m making enough money. I usually don’t and can’t afford food let alone things like health care. Currently, my finances are leveling off, but I feel overworked and too tired to do much writing. I’m impressed with how much I’ve completed the last couple months. I haven’t done much reading either. Reading can be therapeutic so not reading I think is adding to the stress. Not writing is stressful too.

I hope to find some balance in everything soon, but it can be hard to stay motivated. I go through many peaks and valleys with my motivation and my personal adventures are the first to go when I lose motivation. If I can chip away a little each week, I’ll continue to function and feel productive and not lose my mind. It would be nice if I could work on my creative projects full time because working a random job (or jobs) full-time stifles my creativity. Maybe I just haven’t found that easy job that’s low stress and pays well. I’ll just have to keep struggling for a while.