Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love Kills

This Friday is Valentine's Day. I hate it. Now, that may have something to do with the fact that I haven't had any reason to celebrate it since Elementary school, but that's neither here nor there. The thing is, I'm not exactly alone in my opinion of this pink holiday. The Horror genre is about as full as you can get of relationships gone wrong.

Seriously though. Relationships seem to be a major focus in horror. For instance, throughout most of the early 80's, you could tell who was going to be the next victim based on their inability to hide their feelings for each other. (Although, I suppose you could also blame their stupidity for rushing off into the woods alone to get it on.). A good example of the different kinds of problems relationships can cause is the Friday the 13th series. As I said, in every movie, there's at least one couple that dies together while they're in the middle of coitus. Killing two people with one spear, as the saying goes. Though, you can also say that the whole series starts over some guy's attempts to get into some hottie's pants. If that one lifeguard had been paying attention, Jason might never have drowned and gone on to become one of the most bitter zombies ever to walk the Earth. 

It's not just being in a relationship that can get you killed though. You can also end up on the bad end of a large, heavy object just by being desirable. Who can forget the rabbit scene in Fatal Attraction? 

Dramatization. No rabbits were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Of course, you don't even need to be the specific object of desire to get hurt. In Stephen King's Misery, writer Paul Sheldon isn't even the object of Annie Wilkes' obsession. He's just in between her and her love, and for that, he gets an ax to the ankles. (It was a hammer in the movies, but in the book, he actually loses his feet entirely. Sorry if that's a spoiler to anyone.) 

Of course, almost any story worth reading has some kind of relationship dynamic. After all, nobody really goes through their entire life alone. They don't. They don't. I swear they don't. (Yeah, just keep repeating it.). A relationship is something everyone can relate to. It gives us a reference point to the characters. We want to see them reach the end with the love of their life safely in their arms, or we want to see them escape the clutches of their psychotic or abusive ex and move on with their lives. It also makes for a common sub-plot, filling the spaces in between and making another point of attack for the horrors that live in the shadows.

Of course, while not so prevalent in Horror, you do also have those stories where love conquers all. Where the bond between hero and heroine is the only thing that can defeat the darkness and spare their lives. More often than not though, in Horror, the hero has to make a choice and decides to sacrifice himself in order to ensure the safety of his love. Of course, it doesn't always work, and some lucky(?) guys might only get partially mutilated before the girl rides in with the cavalry to save his ass.

Though, let's be honest here. Few things really suck more than being by yourself in the middle of a huge number of happy couples. Just ask Carrie.

~ Shaun

But yeah, totally not bitter.


  1. So I'm sitting here thinking, "well, at least he got lucky in elementary school." But then I thought about it some more and realized fathers of fifth grade girls don't allow boys to exist in the same county. I remember that, because I used to be a fifth grade boy, and later, a father of fifth grade girls.

    The early fear and the later rage are still a part of me.

    One thing about relationship dynamics in horror--the ending doesn't always have to turn out happy. As you mentioned, Paul Sheldon lost his feet in the book. And the little boy in Cujo died in the hospital in the book, but lived in the movie. This leads me to believe we all ought to stop watching horror movies and start reading books instead. The books are far more interesting, complex and compelling. And sometimes bad shit happens.

    What scares you more, a special effect of a head being lopped off, or the three pages of text detailing the thoughts of a character about to have his head chopped off in the final seconds of his life?

    One of the best short stories I ever read is one by Ambrose Bierce called, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. It covers about 60 seconds of a man's life as he is about to be hanged for treason. No, it's not a horror story, but there are elements of horror that an aficionado might appreciate.

    Anyhow, I'm babbling. But, yeah, sometimes being alone sucks. But sometimes it's exactly what you need.

    Nice post, Amigo.

    1. Yeah, that is one of the reasons I like Horror the most. It's the closest story to real life, where not everyone gets a happy ending. You'll almost never read a romance where the hero doesn't get the girl (or guy), and you'll never find a mystery where the bad guy gets away. But in Horror, sometimes they make it out alive, and sometimes, everyone dies. Just in real life.

  2. "Love is a devise invented by bank managers to make us overdrawn" A.J.Rimmer BSC