Horror as an Art Form

Ever since I can remember, I’ve found peace in what others might find disturbing or uncomfortable. I don’t know if this is a result of how I was raised, what I was exposed to or maybe a mix of nature vs nurture, but there’s something about horror that I have always been drawn to. There’s no single reason for this, except that we all choose to express ourselves and our vulnerabilities in our own, sometimes subconscious ways… whether that’s painting, logistics, metaphysical musings, building things with our hands, etc.

Mine, however, is writing; writing about the things we all keep hidden and locked away. In a world where we pass people by without giving them a second thought, people with entire worlds within them, I couldn’t help but try to understand what was beneath the surface of all the smiles, handshakes and fake laughs in crowded rooms. In my eyes, there was a darkness people kept hidden from others in order to seem “normal” or at least “okay.”

Dealing with dark material can be rough, so it’s understandable that people don’t put their own sufferings out there as nonchalant as they would the details of what they did this past weekend. But I never cared too much for small talk, and through writing I felt a release, a way to reveal these darker experiences of my life and the reflections I had about the world from them.

“The first monster you have to scare the audience with is yourself.” — Wes Craven

People are generally afraid of the dark and the negative, especially within themselves. It’s as if they were to touch it even once a hole would form in the universe and they would fall right in. But for me, someone who has experienced so much of what’s on the other side of the light, I’m no longer afraid of what’s there.

What waits on the other side is the evil within human nature that I have learned to understand as just another part of life; as a sort of discomfort to be made comfortable so it can be embraced and exposed instead of feared and repressed. It pushes me forward into everything that I do. It pushes me to write and it pushes me into all of my other passions and sources of happiness.

Even though the process of writing Compulsions was hard since it demanded me to be in a head space of consistent heaviness, I’m glad I was able to pour all of myself out there. It left me with a clear mind. It taught me the importance of honest artistic expression, and how to be vulnerable with my words and experiences.

If there’s one thing I could tell any writer out there it’s this: to not censor the stories you share with the world. Some people will understand and some people won’t. But in any genre, especially a genre as controversial as horror, no one is ever pleased. It’s up to you to use your voice in order to bring something that only you can into this world, in the hopes of sparking some insight into someone else.

- Alexandra Cruz