Today’s guest is up-and-coming horror writer Glen R. Krisch, author of the acclaimed novels Where Darkness Dwells and The Nightmare Within, available now digitally as single volumes or as as an omnibus edition entitled Twice As Dark, and the collection Commitment & Other Tales of Madness. Krisch, described by bestseller Scott Nicholson as a writer of “sheer force and raw power–a welcome entry to the horror ranks”, also works as an editor at Morrigan Books.
Here, the author ponders the celebration of horror during the Halloween season…
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Devotion During this Holiday Season
I grew up in the Catholic faith, studied at a parochial school and attended Mass twice a week through the fifth grade. One curiosity I remembered when I grew beyond my faith was the idea of the quasi-devotion shown during the holiday season.
I remember being no older than seven and grumbling along with the rest of my family at the twice-a-year Catholics who would show up to Mass only on Christmas and Easter. What an annoyance these pretenders were to those of us with our asses in the pew at 7:30 am sharp every week. From trying to find a place to park, to having to find a good place to sit, these twice-yearly wannabes made us mad enough to break a commandment or two, let me tell ya’.
It makes you wonder about these pretenders. Can you truly be devoted to anything by setting aside two mornings a year for your observance?
And what about the other holidays, namely, Halloween? Can you be a horror fan when you only celebrate on the one day that is cordoned off for this purpose? Halloween is a single recognized day of darkness, a day that condenses all that is evil, frightening, and misunderstood into an orgy of bingeing on sugary treats, spooky costumes, and cheap scares.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Halloween; I just like my darkness year round. Observing the dark but one day a year is like taking a step toward the darkness and offering it a playful wink and nod before turning away in mirthful laughter. In my mind, you never turn your back on the darkness. It’s always there, lurking and poised to strike. In its very nature, the darkness can never be sated by the playful pat upon the head that Halloween has become.
I’m obsessed with the dark, I can admit it. You might not notice it reflected in my outward appearance, but it’s there beneath the surface. I cast a wary eye on every person I encounter, knowing full well that darkness dwells within people. There is no other origin. There, in the rotting damp of the human soul, the darkness incubates in a warm broth of fear, loneliness, and depravity. As I go about my day, it’s not unusual for me to make eye contact with a stranger and shudder. Is this person a monster wearing human skin? Monsters don’t limit their misdoings to a single day of the year, and so it stands to reason that us non-monsters shouldn’t limit our devotion, our observance of the power of darkness, either.
Like my Catholic upbringing, we should offer these one-day a year horror fans a kind smile and warm welcome. You never know when someone will become a true believer, when someone evolves beyond their one-day a year devotion and becomes a devoted horror fanatic. With enough exposure to the darkness, these once-yearly wannabes might become the type of people who wonder about their neighbors’ darkest secrets, those who can’t help imagining the worst possible fates, or even those who read Bradbury year round, and not just when the leaves start to fall.
– Glen Krisch