How Reading Horror Can Improve Your Life

Some time ago now I was having a conversation on Twitter about horror. It would seem I was not alone in my quest to understand the appeal of the "misunderstood genre". When someone or something strikes me as interesting, I will almost always follow a link and check out whatever site they have featured. In this case I ended up on a blog on horrormade.com. I read an author interview where the question was, something like,
" If you could have one monster live in the closet of your worst enemy, what would it be and why?" 
I could not stop laughing. This is the kind of genius which mystifies and inspires me. How does anyone come up with a question like that? Think about how many questions will really be answered here, a psychological inventory, a quick intellect check, creativity, the list could go on. What I would give to hear Anderson Cooper break something like that out one night on 60 minutes. I am already imagining Donald or Hillary's response. Anyhow, the interviewer in this case was Jeanette Andromeda and what follows is an excerpt from her life journey as it relates to the "misunderstood genre". I would encourage you to wander over to her site after you read this article of course and check out her artwork, these are her original pieces scattered throughout the post.


 Guest Post by Jeanette Andromeda

1) Horror teaches you survival skills

Great authors put a ton of time into researching their books, and often that means that deliciously useful little tidbits end up in your head. And, I've found, that those little tidbits remain there.

Things like: Cattail weeds are not only eatable but very nutritious - Monster by Frank Peretti &

A person can die within a few short minutes if you slice open their femoral artery (the groin where your leg connects). And you can save that same (mortally wounded) person's life by using a belt as a tourniquet just above or on top of the cut. - It by Stephen King

2) Horror primes your brain to spot danger faster

Since horror lives in the land of "what if" that means readers of horror also do. And when you live primed to think about the possibility of things going wrong, that means you're able to spot dangerous situations or characters in real life that much quicker.

That dark alleyway with the dumpsters? Yeah, maybe not the best short-cut.
That stranger knocking on your door in the middle of the night? Probably best not to let him in and instead call whomever he needs for help.

3) Horror makes you deal with your fears

This genre plays with and preys upon our fears and makes us face them. By facing them we can overcome them through the actions of the characters within the story. Maybe not entirely, but in some small way, you've beaten that fear into submission.

One of my personal fears is moving into a new house only to discover that the previous tenant never left. Be it a ghost, a body, or something all too alive living in the walls, it's something I've always feared. So I purposely seek out stories which feature that in them. Maybe it's not a recommended form of therapy, but I have found it to help me out.

4) Horror gives you somewhere to let your demons out

Let's face it, this world we live in? It's still in the land of white picket fences. If something's wrong, don't talk about it, if you're upset deal with it-- in private, if you're furious with someone swallow that anger and let it be. Passive is what society tends to want. 

But horror allows you to actively purge those negative energies.

Those bullies you have to deal with in school? Yep, Jason Voorhees will take them right out for you.
Feeling trapped and overwhelmed by work like Jack in The Shining? Live vicariously through his melt-down instead of having to break apart for real.

And perhaps that sounds ugly, getting your violent aggression out through characters in a book. But I think we've all found ourselves in those moments where we really want to lash out in real life, but (rightly) hold ourselves back. Horror lets you deal with what everyone wants to pretend doesn't exist.

It does exist. And it's not going away unless you have an outlet.


Jeanette is a blogger, artist and YouTuber exploring the delightfully dark world of horror and art through her many adventures. You can find her over on HorrorMade.com, www.facebook.com/HorrorMade, @horror_made on Twitter. Pop on by to say hello.

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