Horror fiction has been a popular genre for centuries, with its roots traced back to ancient mythology and folklore. From the Gothic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries to modern-day horror movies and TV shows, horror fiction has captivated audiences and continues to do so today. However, some people question the validity of writing and reading horror fiction, claiming that it is a pointless and harmful genre. I would argue that writing and reading horror fiction can have both entertainment and educational value and can serve as a healthy outlet for our fears and anxieties.
First and foremost, horror fiction provides entertainment. People enjoy being scared, and horror fiction delivers that thrill. The genre allows us to experience fear and suspense in a safe and controlled environment. It’s a way to explore our dark side and to indulge in our primal instincts without causing any harm to ourselves or others. Horror fiction can be a form of escapism, allowing readers to step into another world and forget about their everyday problems. This was something I tried to do with my novel PayBack Week, a story set in an abandoned amusement park with a murderous clown looking for revenge. Horror fiction can also be a shared experience, as people can bond over their love of horror fiction and discuss their favourite stories and characters.
But horror fiction can also have educational value. By exploring our fears, horror fiction can help us understand ourselves and the world around us. It can be a way to confront our fears and anxieties and to learn how to cope with them. For example, a horror story that deals with the fear of the unknown can help us understand how we react to uncertainty and can teach us how to prepare for the unexpected. Horror fiction can also be a way to explore social issues and cultural taboos. By using horror as a metaphor, writers can address sensitive topics in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. This was something I attempted in my first horror novel, Raven and Skull, where the traditional horrors of ghosts and other supernatural entities was balanced against the horror of working nine-to-fie in a soul-sucking job.
Furthermore, horror fiction can serve as a healthy outlet for our fears and anxieties. We live in a world that is often scary and unpredictable, and horror fiction allows us to process those feelings in a safe and controlled way. By confronting our fears through horror fiction, we can learn to cope with them in our everyday lives. This can be particularly helpful for people who suffer from anxiety or trauma, as it can help them confront and process their fears in a way that is less overwhelming.
In conclusion, writing and reading horror fiction can have both entertainment and educational value. The genre provides a safe and controlled way to explore our fears and anxieties, and can serve as a healthy outlet for those feelings. By confronting our fears through horror fiction, we can better understand ourselves and the world around us. Whether you enjoy the thrill of being scared or the intellectual challenge of exploring complex themes, horror fiction has something to offer everyone. So the next time someone questions the validity of the genre, remind them that horror fiction can be both entertaining and educational, and that it has been a valuable part of human culture for centuries.