Category Archives: Reflections

Hellraiser: Spitting on Jesus

It’s a dark room. A man is shocked to see a number of dark-clad demons facing him. He tries to escape. Dozens of chains and hooks are lashing out for him. They render flesh and tears skin apart. During this unholy crucifixion, the man screeches in agony. Finally he calms down, stares at us, licking his lips, and with a grin hisses:

“Jesus… wept.”

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Recognize it? It is from the first Hellraiser movie (1987), an adaption of Clive Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart. This spawned a legion of sequels, but they all centered around a common theme: everyone has their own private Hell, and for certain punishments, horrendous pain equals pure pleasure. This paradox is stated in the first movie in a couple of scenes, but it is not until words “Jesus wept” that its meaning is expanded. Or, does it have a meaning?

The victim in question (a man named Frank) is not a man of God, so we have to assume he doesn’t mean Jesus Christ sincerely and that his intention is to mock. His ugly grin afterwards confirms this. But what exactly is he mocking?

In the Bible, there is only one passage in the Four Gospels (correct me if I am wrong) where they mention Jesus actually crying: after the news of the death of Lazarus (John 11:35), before Jesus resurrects him. Frank might refer to the situation of his own fate, when he – at the beginning of the movie – escaped from Hell, and then entered the living world again. Lazarus also entered the living world when Jesus resurrected him. But still, he wept, even though Jesus must have known he could bring him back in the first place. Perhaps Frank mocks this fact?

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If we see it in a different perspective, Frank could simply refer to Jesus and his sufferings. When Jesus shouted at the Heavens, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he was apparently in anguish, and must have shed tears while on the cross. So Frank might say, “Jesus wept. But I don’t.” He overcomes his own agony with a grin, while Jesus himself was crying. A megalomaniac point of view.

Then again… the actor Andrew Robinson improvised the line on the spot. It might be just a whim, a side track with a sole purpose: to confuse, or to create atmosphere. It doesn’t have to mean anything.

But I think it does.

In this particular scene, in this particular context, I think those two words creates a chilling statement filled with double meaning and interesting interpretations.

Like I have said: you just have to look.

There is poetical darkness everywhere.

Horror: Cheap, Uninventive and Dying?

The new focus in The Horror Seeker is primarily the result of pondering around aesthetics.

As I have already stated in the beginning of my blog, “horror” can be difficult to distinguish because of the somewhat obscure meaning of the term.

However, the horror as a genre (especially in movies) have suffered a lot from the accusations of being a “mindless” genre without any substance, originality, or the lack of aesthetic pleasure. Granted, there are a lot of exceptionally bad works of horror out there, the majority of them from the cinematic world. Laziness is one of the main factors. The easiness of jump scares weights more than well-crafted atmospheric disturbance. Rushed manuscripts are prioritized before well-planned and slowly paced literary texts. The world of horror is by many considered cheap and uninventive.

This doesn’t have to be.

In fact, hope is everywhere.
philosophy of horrorThere are existential questions in the grotesque. There are philosophical questions in terror. There is potential for really poetical imagery or literary achievements, although towards the sphere of the macabre. You just have to look in perspective, and with an open mind. There are several interesting works and authors if put in a social or political perspective. Noël Carroll mentions in his The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart that the genre might be considered xenophobic, introducing urban and strange outsiders as a threat to humanity, in form of fictional monsters. And then there are, of course, the question of women in horror fiction; often presented as helpless victims, damsels in distress, and otherwise the weaker gender, women has often been unjustly treated in both Gothic fiction and horror fiction – and that’s for centuries, not decades!

What do you think?

Is the genre dying?

Is it unjustly treated?

Is it bad entertainment?

Does the genre say more about ourselves than most people realize?

This can create many discussions. And I hope it will. The comments section is always present and invites you to further thoughts about a genre in shifting popularity. If not now, then fortunately in the future.

In short: I’m not going anywhere 😉

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An Abominable Christmas To All of You!

This is not a day for analyses or reviews.

Instead, I want to share the Christmas spirit with all of you today. Nothing more, nothing less.

And in my mind comes the poem “Festival”, not to be mistaken by the short story The Festival by the same author.

So, along with the wish that everyone is going to have a fantastic Christmas, I am giving the word to Howard Phillips Lovecraft:

 There is snow on the ground,
            And the valleys are cold,
      And a midnight profound
            Blackly squats o’er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings unhallow’d and old.

      There is death in the clouds,
            There is fear in the night,
      For the dead in their shrouds
            Hail the sun’s turning flight,
And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule-altar fungous and white.

      To no gale of earth’s kind
            Sways the forest of oak,
      Where the sick boughs entwin’d
            By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow’rs are the pow’rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

      And mayst thou to such deeds
            Be an abbot and priest,
      Singing cannibal greeds
            At each devil-wrought feast,
And to all the incredulous world shewing dimly the sign of the beast.

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Why Was My Window Open?

As a fan of the world of horror, do you know what can be a sign of passion and devotion, but also a side effect from an all-too-vivid imagination?

Paranoia.

A few nights ago, I sat in my apartment late in the evening. Even though the weather is pretty hot right now, I rarely bother to keep the windows open, because the apartment is always cool anyway. I’m, also, situated so the sun almost never reaches my windows. Plus, I live at the bottom floor, and I have always been afraid of potential burglars, thus I don’t want to risk anything, however small that risk may be.

So when I turned away from my computer for a moment in the evening…

Why was my window open?

I’m 99.9 % sure I never touched that window during the entire day. But did I do it anyway, but didn’t remember? Is the explanation so simple that the adjustable lever just wasn’t firm enough? Or is it some form of mysterious entity who wants to make its presence known, but wants to wait until one particular night before it shows its true form in the shadows?

Frankly, right now I’m thinking of the later alternative.

A while ago, I had a horror movie marathon with one of my best friends. Among others, we watched Grave Encounters 1 and 2 (far better than I expected them to be!). The same period I had watched Sinister, in my opinion one of the best horror movies of 2012, in my loneliness at midnight. Meanwhile, I’ve also continued to complete the computer game Silent Hill Downpour, which could be called a gigantic mindfuck on the senses.

The only thing missing would be nightmares. But I don’t have those. My imagination takes care of that just fine.

Twisting my peace of mind. Manipulating my common sense. Makes me think that events with an obvious logical explanation might possibly be a cause of paranormal phenomena. Or just scaring the shit out of me.

Am I disturbed if I happened to say I enjoy it?

Horror: A Definition

What is horror?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the world of genres. A frustrating subject. Impossible to ignore, no matter how much you want to. But nevertheless, I think it’s important to keep the discussions open.

The Horror Writers Association tries to define what horror fiction is: “What makes horror literature so pervasive is that its need to evoke the necessary atmosphere and sense of emotional dread is utterly dependent on who we are as readers — as people.” The purpose of this “genre” if you will, has the express purpose of creating a sense of dread and fear. Everyone has fears, but not necessarily the same ones. Not everyone is afraid of the dark. Some are laughing at clowns, some are terrified of them (and, yes, people should be).

Therefore, defining horror fiction is a difficult task. If the purpose of horror fiction is to create unease and dread, couldn’t every single movie or book about the Holocaust be considered horror fiction? Or what about books based on the Josef Fritzl case,  or murderous religious sects, or the Bible for that matter?

Well, I believe that the question of fiction is important. The horror genre is supposed to be entertainment, although dark and macabre. It’s a representation of the dark impulses in the human psyche, with supernatural elements, or inhuman creatures, or fictional serial killers as a focal point to express these impulses in a fictional frame. Movies or books based on real-life events are, also, representations, with the express purpose to entertain (or “educate”) people, always with artistic license and exaggerations.

Fear speaks to all of us.

And there is a need for us to channel the fear, and satisfy the dark impulses in our souls.

Horror fiction is needed.

I will definately continue with these ramblings in the future, but if you have anything to add to this, or critizise…

Well, my friends, that’s the reason why God created the comments section.