Morbidly Beautiful

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Bloody Blog

What value does our entertainment and escapism hold in times of great suffering, conflict, and apocalyptic disaster? Quite a bit, I would argue.

@camerapatty via Twenty20

There have been more than a few times over recent months that it’s been incredibly difficult to be the editor of an entertainment website. Hell, it’s been damn hard to be a human — much less one who devotes so much of her time and energy to championing genre art and cinema.

The world has always been rife with very real horror, and it’s a big reason why I’ve always been so drawn to the sweet escape horror films offer. Movie theaters are my sanctuary; movies are my therapy.

Horror so often gets unfairly accused of feeding into our base instincts and glorifying our worst behavior. But most horror fans I know, myself included, have found a place of healing in horror. For many of us, this healthy affinity for the macabre has helped us better cope with real tragedy and personal trauma.

However, as real-life horror grows increasingly present and perilous — in the midst of a devastating global pandemic and a country torn apart by the kind of systemic hate we once believed (perhaps naively) had been left in our rearview mirror — talking about horror movies feels banal and out of touch.

I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE IN FEELING THIS.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

@findingkp via Twenty20

In light of the recent heartbreaking events related to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, many of my colleagues are finding it harder than ever to go on with business as usual — to keep talking about the latest indie film or Netflix exclusive, while ignoring the real horror show playing out in our cities and splashed across our television screens.

While many Americans have taken to the streets to protest rampant racism, police brutality, and a system that continually fails to dole out real justice, others have set social media ablaze with understandable outrage and overwhelming sadness. This horrific event — and the hateful political rhetoric that followed — have once again spotlighted how divided and broken this country is.

As members of the horror community, many of us have watched the ugliness play out on the national and global stage for some time now, taking comfort in the knowledge that we at least have a safe harbor where we can feel understood, supported, and respected.

SADLY, THIS LATEST ATROCITY FOLLOWED CLOSELY ON THE HEELS OF A PAINFUL WEEK THAT LEFT MANY OF US QUESTIONING JUST HOW WELCOMING AND INCLUSIVE THE HORROR COMMUNITY TRULY IS.

@backfromthefuture via Twenty20

It was a humbling, and frankly heartbreaking, experience as I found myself unintentionally embroiled in a firestorm after I made the decision to publish a controversial editorial.

As someone who has always been a strong advocate for equality and social justice, being accused of insensitivity and a lack of support for marginalized voices cut me deeply.

As I attempted to manage the fallout amongst my writing staff — people I consider family, many of whom took personal offense to the article I posted — I struggled (for the first time) with a sobering thought:

IS ALL THIS REALLY WORTH IT?

@nicole_rohrer_photo via Twenty20

This site has a Mission Statement, part of which reads:

We believe horror has the power to change and shape lives, and we work hard every day to honor the significant impact of the genre.

I’ve never been one to claim that politics and social issues have no place in discussions about horror. In fact, as I have spoken about before, horror has always had an important role in exposing and challenging problematic ideas and flawed social structures and paradigms, while addressing important human rights issues.

Throughout history, great horror has been at the forefront of social change.

@aleeenot via Twenty20

It forces us to see the world through another lens; opening our eyes to the consequences of man’s inhumanity to man.

Some may feel that it seems trivial at best — insensitive or tone deaf at worst — to write about the horror movies we love while the world is burning. But I believe that now more than ever, we need an outlet for our inner turmoil, a salve for our wounded hearts, a sanctuary from an unforgiving environment.

While I respect and admire my colleagues who believe now is a time for quiet reflection, I’ve chosen to keep focusing on one thing that brings me joy in the midst of tragedy and turmoil. I need the monsters on the screen to make me momentarily forget the monsters outside my door. I think others need this, too.

IN THE MIDST OF HELL, THIS SANCTUM IS SALVATION.

@jenni.heller via Twenty20

Horror movies aren’t just about fear and suffering. Ultimately, horror is about hope and survival. It’s about the fight to overcome insurmountable odds.

Right now, many of us feel like giving up.

But maybe now is the time we honor our inner Final Girl and fight a little harder.

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