Dear Drew,

Horror is an emotive element, but it is not a genre.

Horror is the existential dread in whose shadow we all live. It is the sum of the fears of our existence and the cathartic thrill of working through those fears. Horror is the via negativa or “the way of the negative.” In many ways, horror is like an Old Testament prophet illustrating the eventual path of a negative conclusion. Horror wrestles with the reality of evil and questions why bad things happen to people.

Horror is an exploration of our terrors, encompassing our fear of Death. Many times our fears come back to the fear of death, helplessness, loss, the after life, or God (or worse, the lack of God).

A friend, in telling me her plans about coming to Mo*Con II, wrote this:

“Comic-Con is fun. Mo*Con would be about something much deeper. I believe in deep. I live for deep. At this point I’m 90% sure I want to be with you guys to explore the relationship between what we write and what we believe. For me horror is the path to truth. It is about enlightenment. Did you know a study was done that people remember more through gross and horrific events than mundane or even emotionally charged events? I believe that horror can open that doorway and if you time your message just right you can convey something powerful and meaningful to your reader.”

That’s the answer I would have given, to the question you were trying to ask at the World Horror Convention 2007, had that errant bottle of Knob Creek not been kicking both of our butts.




This could be some people’s idea of horror: