Image source: The Hauntings Of Hill House, Mike Flanagan, Netflix

There are a lot of stigmas regarding the horror community.

One could think, a priori, that it is all about gore, blood spilled everywhere and a sketchy plot driven by a bunch of hysteric madmen.

I am not denying that part: horror for the sake of horror exists, and this sub-genre has its own supporters and community.

Although that would be naïve to deny it, I wanted to explore a theme that you might not be aware of. And, in full honesty, that is kind of beautiful.

I call this theme “Searching for the last ray of light”.

But before I dive into this, here is a little backstory you might not know about me.

As it turns out, I had never watched a horror movie until quite recently (at least willingly). I never liked making myself scared, being already a pretty (very) anxious child.

That was until I got myself into the paranormal field, which will be the subject of another piece. Anyways, I thought: I am in this regardless, so what the hell?

Long story short, I started consuming horrific content and it stuck with me.

There are so many niches to explore! Internet horror & the Backrooms, ARGs, Lovecraftian pieces, Poe’s, monsters, vampires, slashers… Even humoristic horror! All have their own architecture, codes and symbols.

And along those various stories, you will encounter characters going through a lot of pretty hard shit. Behind every monster hides a trauma, within every ghost lies a secret.

Some of the characters will give into the sadness, anger or hysteria. But the ones who make it, discover a hidden truth about themselves.

No need to fight the monster: just stop feeding it.
No need to run from a ghost: turn around and look right at it.

While those fictional characters struggle for their lives, you are sitting on your couch or laying under your sheets, frightened but safe. And despite all the terror, the ungodly events happening to them, the blood and the fear, the deaths and the suffocating anxiety of the plot tightening around their fragile necks… You hold on your pillow or the arm of your loved one, praying for them to end up alright. Despite everything.

On the last scene, when the serial killer is no more, when the demon is conjured away, when they escape the haunted house or free themselves from the invisible chains that have been weighting on them all along… There it is, at last. The final ray of light. As sad as it is beautiful. And hell, blinding even, coming out from that deep cave of a nightmare. It has been there all along, that ray of light, but could only be seen by eyes most accustomed to the dark.

Eventually, when you become trapped again in your own pandemonium of a mind collapsing on itself and you feel like there is no issue left. When you find yourself banging your head on the same walls over and over again. When you are about to give into your own darkness. Remember all the characters who went there before you. Know that this too shall pass and that you will, as well, reach for this last ray of light.

___

To everyone reading this, and especially if you “don’t like horror”, I invite you to go beyond the dark and try reading a few pieces of this genre. At your pace, slowly. As opaque and scary as it seems, down the road, horror invites us to acknowledge and shine a light on the weirdest, deepest parts of ourselves.

Horror is to be seen.
Horror grants you power.

Long live t/horror.