Apocalypse now! fine, Redux too!

“The horror.. The horror” – Kurtz



The eve is upon us and another night of ghouls and ghosts to roam the streets free tonight. The world, or parts of it that celebrates the Halloween tonight, sees the night of the living dead tonight! 


All thoughts on horror, I did spend the better half of my weekend binging on horror movies both old and relatively new. Horror is a genre that I thoroughly enjoy. The genre mirrors the darkness that we are capable of. It is a simple enough genre that pushes the boundaries of affordable complexity to ensure that the audience is left gasping for air. Terror grips, or tries to with each tale that unfolds. 


Traditionally, most horror stories have religious undertones to them. The classic testament to horror is the epic eternal battle waged between the heaven and the hell. Hell sends its demons Onshore (yeah, all pun intended) and then forces of good deport them back. More like the border safety offices across different countries which keep a track of all things. Cometh the time, the good rises. It asserts itself and goes on to conquer the evil. 


Horror has deep ties to the human psychology. It plays to the primal fears that exert force over us. The stronger that hold, the fiercer that battle gets. The conflict between good and evil is a battle of the mind that has been plaguing our kind for ages now. 


The genre branched out. Good as in god VS evil as in the devil had run it’s course and the audience needed something more sinister. And so the genre started exploring the depths of the human mind. The evil that men are capable of, gave rise to the conflict between man and man. The good at heart, the morally righteous took their stand against the immoral. The sickness of the mind fought with the goodness of the heart. Fantastic that. As crimson littered the screen, the audience in time grew saturated to the make believe world that the visionaries of horror painted. 


And then medical horror found a place in the genre. No more video nasties, no more pea soup. No more gallons and gallons of blood getting pumped out. The new age of horror relied heavy upon medical accuracies of how fragile the human body is. Visceral, yeah, that’s the word I’d probably use to describe the genre. The horror of cold steel meeting flesh and skin. The creepy calm set up was just the perfect blend to send shivers upon anybody’s spine. The chaotic dystopic environments were replaced by the familiar calming walls of white that we’ve come to feel comforted in. 



And so as horror evolved, the audience evolved too. From goofy aliens to zombie-beavers, horror has seen it all. Horror as a genre has always reflected the buried intent worn by the society behind masks of decency and staying civilized. More often than not, it’s the horror genre that really does capture the descent of humans into a state of madness when the norms that hold the society civil start crumbling under chaos. 



This Halloween, I’m not scared of the monsters or beings that walk the night undead. Fangs don’t petrify me. Wolves may howl and I’m comforted by their presence that can not go unnoticed. It’s not what I see that scares me. It’s what I cant, has left me with thoughts. This Halloween, I have my thoughts around a much bigger evil that goes unchecked. This evil has risen it’s ugly head in the past. This is one evil, that will persist, endure and survive to raise it’s head time and over again. This is one evil, that refuses to stay purged (yaay, another horror movie reference)

I’m talking about ‘Insecurity’ . It plagues us. Insecurity can be tracked back to Kane, where a brother killed a brother. I can make the connection between how every dictator in the past has used and effortlessly translated insecurity to acts of horror. The world has seen itself burn because of this insecurity. It’s not the spirit of the horror past that I’m worried about.

The last few days, everything that I see on the social web is a petty comparison of why certain religious folks feel so insecure that they feel that need to call out that what they are doing is right, fair and their rudimentary RIGHT to do it. Insecurity again. It pushes us to see differences where they are none. It fuels the madness that most of us have managed to bury deep within our hearts. Insecurity does tend to offer the means to justify that. It validates that madness.

“The horror…. The horror” – Kurtz , Apocalypse now. 

Karthik

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