the real deal


And that’s only the half of it. I’m reminded of something Stephen King said: “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”

A quick history about me. I didn’t really care for horror for a long, long time. For one, I have an active imagination. Even as an adult, well crafted horror would give me nightmares. The Shining, for example, did a number on me. It got inside my head. I couldn’t understand why some people seem to delight at being frightened.

I came to appreciate horror when it saved my sanity.

I was going through an extremely rough patch. My personal life was falling apart and I felt impending doom looming in every direction. This was back when you had to actually go to stores and rent DVDs if you wanted to watch a movie at home. (Ah, remember those days? Thank God for Netflix.) I was at a Blockbuster, perusing the New Releases wall, and for no particular reason decided on a horror film. The very kind of film I would have previously avoided.

I watched it. It wasn’t the scariest thing I’d ever seen, but it was scary enough. My heart beat a little fast at times. I cringed as the characters made classically bad decisions, as characters in horror movies are wont to do. But, as the credits rolled and my stomach leveled out, I realized something–during the film, all of my considerable stress and worry had faded away. I had been focused solely on the monsters. It was wonderfully therapeutic.

My love for horror began thusly.

In the last decade or so, I’ve continued to explore the genre. Horror movies no longer give me bad dreams. Now I craft my own stories secretly (and deviously) hoping they are fodder for other people’s nightmares. And hoping that my readers will feel some of the same release I felt the first time I learned the true power of horror.

But horror’s power goes deeper.

Horror teaches us about monsters. Real monsters. If you read or watch horror and never once reflect on the nature of the beast, you’re doing it wrong. What motivates the villain? Are you not sometimes motivated by the same things? What can you learn from a slasher B movie?

In short, a lot.

Every kind of story is a lesson. Be open to the lessons in what you read, watch and write. They are sometimes subtle, but almost always powerful.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

4 Responses to the real deal

  1. diannegray says:

    I’ll certainly be looking at the horror genre in a different light after reading this, Dex 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t quite gotten over my aversion to being terrified (is this really something to ‘get over’?!?) but I have to come a place of contentment with it. No matter how bad things are in our realities, they can never be as bad as they were in that bathroom for Shelley Duvall. ;0)

    I’m glad horror has become a vice for you. We all need one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      So very true. What a chilling scene. And, in spite of Mr. King’s feeling about that movie, one of my favorites. (I really need to read the book, though. Vastly different from what I understand.)


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