Are scary monsters a thing of the past? Or just something I’ve grown out of?
I have to say right off that I’m not a particular fan of horror, not for it’s own sake, but the stories of my childhood were full of dark creatures, strange entities with the sole and absolute purpose of doing terrible things (usually to naughty children). Between myths and legends and folk and fairy stories it was a landscape of giants and demons and beasts and, yes, witches, with recognisable appetites but unquenchable hungers. And there were rules, always rules… follow them and you’ll be safe, stray from the (typically moral) path and pay a heavy price…
By the time I was a teenager the monsters were being defanged, declawed and dispelled. Vampires were misunderstood time-weary travellers who secretly craved a vegetarian lifestyle, werewolves were cursed critters who would much rather be chained up than risk disembowelling someone and witches were misguided youths in too much black or aging hippies bedecked in too many crystals.
These were not the things to be scared of. The things to be scared of looked just like everyone else… And didn’t have any rules…
It’s supposed to make us cautious. Thoughtful. Vigilant. Instead it makes us fearful. Distrustful. Irrational. We look instead to those who will give us back the rules, show us the path we must stay on, the precautions we must take. We forget everything we learned from those who broke the rules, stepped off the path, found the answers. The ones who fought the monsters, who outwitted them, who paid the price, found their wisdom and truth and lived to tell the tale. Because the stories are never really about what is lost, but what is found.
I miss the days of scary monsters.
(And in case you’re wondering what’s brought all this on, this month’s workshop is Dark Dealings, a look at the magic from off the beaten track…)