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As promised here is part two of things every hor­ror fan should do for them­selves and the hor­ror com­mu­ni­ty! I hope you enjoyed part one (1–5). Enjoy part two (6–10). Take these 10 things into con­sid­er­a­tion.

6. If you like horror films, try reading horror books. If you like horror books and films, try listening to some horror music (expand your horror scope)

horror lit

Expand­ing your hor­ror scope is some­thing that you as a hor­ror fan should always try to do, not only for your sake but for the sake of the hor­ror genre, com­mu­ni­ty, indus­try, etc. Hor­ror, as pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed, is a mul­ti­me­dia genre with its cold undead hands in every­thing from books, to comics, to eBooks, to Mag­a­zines, to Video Games, to Music, Toys, and of course film (to name some of the biggest). By expand­ing out and expe­ri­enc­ing hor­ror in var­i­ous forms, you are expand­ing, deep­en­ing, and strength­en­ing your appre­ci­a­tion and under­stand­ing of the genre as whole… and your under­stand­ing of it through the spe­cif­ic lens­es of mul­ti­ple frame works and media.

You’re also sup­port­ing the hor­ror indus­try and those who work in var­i­ous medi­ums with­in it, cre­at­ing con­tent for your enjoy­ment and push­ing the genre for­ward in new direc­tions and new ways. I rec­om­mend set­ting aside a small por­tion of your hor­ror bud­get for when you go comb­ing the dark recess­es of the web or your local book, toy, music store, etc. for new things to give you chills whose style or for­mat you may be not be as famil­iar with. Who knows what cursed thing you may unearth!

7. Try and take a critical or semi-critical look at the genre


Now this one will most def­i­nite­ly, just from the title, make some intim­i­dat­ed and turn oth­ers com­plete­ly off. And with good rea­son. This is one of (if not they most) dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing tasks, no mat­ter if you enjoy (or end up enjoy­ing) this kind of thing or not. Then again, it’s sup­posed to be chal­leng­ing. How­ev­er, it should be not­ed that if you’re read­ing this arti­cle it most like­ly means you’re beyond a casu­al fan or view­er and are a bonafide hor­ror fan — mean­ing you owe it not only to your­self but the hor­ror com­mu­ni­ty to at least attempt to look at the genre through a crit­i­cal, semi-crit­i­cal or, dare I sug­gest, aca­d­e­m­ic lens.

If you find that it’s not for you, that’s okay! Some hor­ror fans sim­ply want to enjoy the genre with­out delv­ing into the­o­ry or crit­i­cal analy­sis. For some hor­ror fans, that takes the fun out of being a hor­ror fan and makes it more work, less mys­te­ri­ous, less excit­ing. But oth­er hor­ror fans (like myself) find that it only enhances our love for the genre. We like noth­ing more than to pick apart, ana­lyze and wal­low in the minu­tia of our favorite hor­ror films, books, comics, fran­chis­es, and tropes. Whichev­er school of fan you are, you won’t know until you try. And even if you do try and find that it’s not for you, you still may take away some­thing that may serve to enrich your appre­ci­a­tion and under­stand­ing for the genre. Either way it’s a win-win.

Just remem­ber that it’s because of those fans who took the time to write those arti­cles, pub­lish papers in jour­nals, and com­pile books and bib­li­ogra­phies that hor­ror and its cre­ators have got­ten recog­ni­tion and con­tin­ue to get recog­ni­tion today. It’s because of those fans/scholars, jour­nal­ists, and his­to­ri­ans that bared their fangs in front of the ridicule of their peers (and because of fans like you sup­port­ing them) that hor­ror is gain­ing respect in con­tem­po­rary cir­cles and reap­ing the ben­e­fits of that recog­ni­tion. This schol­ar­ly approach to the genre helps rein­force the genre as one that is worth of study and dis­ser­ta­tion… a genre wor­thy of sup­port and appre­ci­a­tion.

With that said, if you’re wary of the prospect of delv­ing deep into the the­o­ry and jar­gon sur­round­ing your favorite genre, I rec­om­mend going to the library and see­ing if they have (or can order) any books on hor­ror (prefer­ably pub­lished by McFar­land Books or some such com­pa­ny) that inter­est you or if they can help you find essays, or aca­d­e­m­ic arti­cles per­tain­ing to hor­ror in their data­bas­es. Aca­d­e­m­ic books and arti­cles can be VERY expen­sive, so I would rec­om­mend doing this first before going to your local brick and mor­tar book store, or buy­ing online.

Note: If you’re look­ing for fun, con­ver­sa­tion­al, and aca­d­e­m­ic (but not dry and bor­ing) books on hor­ror, I would rec­om­mend any­thing by hor­ror his­to­ri­an David J. Skal. His books are a joy to read in their tone, style and con­tent. I’ve found even peo­ple who fall in the lat­ter school of hor­ror fans enjoy his books. If you don’t check out any­thing else, check out his work. You won’t be sor­ry.

8. Watch Classic Horror, Read Classic Horror, Support Classic Horror, Understand and Appreciate, the Genre’s Roots

classic horror

Much of the rea­son why so many hor­ror fans lament the cur­rent state of the genre is because a good many mod­ern cre­ators in the genre lack even the most fun­da­men­tal knowl­edge and appre­ci­a­tion of the genre pre-1980. And THAT, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, is a seri­ous prob­lem — not just for hor­ror fans, but the hor­ror com­mu­ni­ty, indus­try and the future of the hor­ror genre as a whole. If you want to see the hor­ror genre thrive as a genre, and as a com­mu­ni­ty and indus­try, do your­self a favor and get your­self read up and watched up on some hor­ror his­to­ry before Jason Voorhees.

Read some of the ear­li­est most influ­en­tial hor­ror sto­ries and stud­ies. Start from the silent begin­nings of film, with such famed ear­ly film­mak­ers and films as fan­tas­tic fan­ta­sist and illu­sion­ist Georges Méliès’s Le Manoir du Dia­ble; expres­sion­ist mae­stro Robert Wiene’s Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari; and 1925’s Phan­tom of the Opera star­ring “the man of a thou­sand faces” (and father to the future Uni­ver­sal Wolf Man) Lon Chaney, and work your way up. Learn how your favorite and new favorite hor­ror icons and tropes came to be and where they orig­i­nat­ed.

Sup­port hor­ror hosts (which I’ve cov­ered in a pre­vi­ous post) who reg­u­lar­ly fea­ture these ear­ly cin­e­mat­ic frights. And last­ly, cast your votes in The Ron­do Hat­ton Clas­sic Hor­ror Awards, named for “the mon­ster with­out make-up” whose career was trag­i­cal­ly cut short. How? Go read about it!

9. Use the Horror Genre to Educate Yourself and Others and Promote Social Change


By its very nature, hor­ror deals with the most taboo top­ics. In doing so, it has earned a stage to com­ment and edu­cate on these top­ics. This stage should NOT be ignored. Because hor­ror is glob­al in scope, its audi­ence is as well. This means the genre’s fans and cre­ators can help edu­cate and build under­stand­ing and aware­ness on many issues, on a scale larg­er than even the most vis­i­ble and pow­er­ful activist groups. Hor­ror has REAL pow­er and can do REAL good in the world. You owe it to your­self as a fan and mem­ber of the hor­ror com­mu­ni­ty to take advan­tage of this fact. You can help prove broad­ly that hor­ror as a genre is just as valid as any oth­er. More than that, you can help prove that it has the pow­er to make a real dif­fer­ence for the pos­i­tive, fur­ther ensur­ing a more pro­gres­sive and under­stand­ing future for all.

10. Create something yourself


Final­ly, one of the best ways to take advan­tage of the genre’s pow­er as a tool for change and to help the genre grow and evolve is to cre­ate some­thing of your own. By incor­po­rat­ing every­thing from this list and cre­at­ing some­thing that’s all your own — be it a blog, mag­a­zine, jour­nal, book, com­ic, film, game, etc. — you are ensur­ing horror’s future by adding to the strength, evo­lu­tion, and longevi­ty of the genre and its com­mu­ni­ty. Who knows? What you cre­ate could inspire or help decide the future of the genre and the direc­tion it goes.

> Click here to read part one of this article. 

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