Saturday, November 16, 2013

Real World Horror: Venture into the World Once More

     Every week, I have a ritual that I perform, one that is sadly not the kind I would normally write about. No, once a week I meet up with my mother and go out and have breakfast with her. Now, as I'm sure most have you have learned from reading my stories and posts, I'm not one for crowds, so we try to go to restaurants when they first open up, to avoid the crowds.

     This week we we went to an Italian place where the food is overpriced and the coffee is strong.
     I didn't complain.
     What did capture my attention, dear readers, was the crowd as it gathered around us, filling up the establishment. I try and make a habit of examining people to use as characters in my stories, you see.
     What I saw was a young girl, no older than ten, roll in on an electric wheelchair. My four little black hearts actually pulsed for a moment as I felt sorrow for the fact that such a young girl was relegated to a chair. She seemed happy enough from a distance, and I wasn't about to approach, but it got me thinking about the cliche's we see in Horror.
     The main characters are almost always Caucasian, or a mix between two races. If the main character is male, he has a troubled past that gets resolved in the story. If the protagonist is female, she meets the antagonist early on and only realizes his inner evil at the last moment. Sometimes, they even have a love interest. Never do you see a story that involves a paraplegic, or a blind person... at least not one where they are the lead.
     The only exception to this fact that I can think of would be the new Child's Play movie that I reviewed a month or so ago; the protagonist was a strong female lead with no romantic interests and was bound to a wheelchair since birth. She didn't let her handicap actually handicap her, she in fact used it to her advantage numerous times (when Chucky stabbed her in her legs and she couldn't feel the wound, for example).
     Why is it we don't have terrible tales about handicapped people? I think the answer is simple: they are hard to relate to.
     Your average reader or viewer is not handicapped, and has never been in a situation where they have been handicapped. The protagonist in a horror book/film is someone that the audience must relate to.
     Hard to do that when you secretly feel a sense of pity or sorrow for them due to their condition.
     I watched this girl as I chatted with my mother, watched her smile and laugh and joke with her parents, watched her eat spaghetti... somehow, nobody noticed my staring at a ten year old child and alerted the authorities, thank goodness, but I realized something very profound I think.
     We don't have any heroes (or villains) that are handicapped in popular Horror, and by God, do we need some! And before anyone brings the cancer-stricken case of the man from Saw to me, I think his condition only proves my point: it made him more human.
     Perhaps that is something we as horror writers should look into.

     Sweet Dreams 

No comments:

Post a Comment