November 30, 2011 Gift Suggestions from the Dark 2011
Welcome to the annual Christmas gift suggestion edition of R.G. Male's Dark Corners. These are the items I suggest for your horror loving and/or head banging friends and relatives. I'm always tempted to suggest things that I want myself but do not own yet, however what then if I'm disappointed with it? So I stick with things I can vouch for fully. As always your mileage may vary, but I had fun with all of these over 2011. Unlike other years please come back next week for the Corner's year-end finale. Thank you.
It's hardly been a secret--here anyway--that I was slowly rolling out information on a villainous government running the show in the world that Joshua Rhoads lives in over at On Dark Rhoads. If you get your news online then you know all sorts of nastiness is going on lately, with even more being alleged, outed, and hinted at. It's times like these that we have to re-examine what we are doing in our fiction. That examination needs to look at the parallels and the differences. They must include questioning if the time is right or wrong to release such stories. For the more self-aware, among a group as self-aware as authors and screen writers, we must also consider will it look like cashing in on the hype (or hysteria), and will it look very dated when all of the chips have fallen, and the fullest picture of the events and their repercussion that we are going to get lands and passes by, as all events do pass by.
At On Dark Rhoads I introduced the Mericratic Party. The Mericrats are in charge of the country, and likely will be for some time to come since they are key to the built-in friction of the setting and a potent adversary in a pretty rough subculture within the world, mostly hidden from prying eyes. It hasn't taken long to conclude that I have nothing to worry about. Concerted, organised, far-reaching, effective, evil is always going to win out in the scary department over even pretty heinous acts that occur at random or are a part of chaotic patterns with no useable meaning. I'm speaking in reference to long form narratives where desensitisation to brutality and the visceral reactions they evoke are a concern. Certainly shocking works in the right sized doses have their place. Still, if you can attach something more to it and carry that forward then all the better.
The other factor to look at, compared and contrasted to reality or not, is do your scenarios have the requisite entertainment and cathartic (both emotional and revelatory) value that your audience is going to derive from your work that you want to impart to them? Will it evoke what you want it to as it stands on its own, and as is stands in comparison to other experiences that the audience collectively and individually is likely to have had that it should compare to, or enhance, or extend beyond? As much as this is circling, the right kind of contrast or differentiation may be all it requires and will fulfill your desire for the product's intangible success. Reaching those goals should ensure the tangible successes such as profitability and popularity as much as can be relied on.
Music: Liar by Queen and Move the Mountain by Stratovarius.
The answer to that question is: precisely. Exorcists get a lot of horror mileage, but what about the victims? There are different ways that the victim can be handled for varying amount of horror. Most times the possessed person is not aware of what happens when the possessing entity is in control of their body. If the focus is on the victim there is a fair bit of play in that as they learn about the heinous things they were doing. Often the victim might learn about the events that have transpired at the same time as the audience. Other times the suspense and anticipation of seeing the victim?s response to the news of their unconscious and uncontrolled actions that the audience is fully aware of is desirable. This works as soon as the audience sees what the possessed is doing. It can be heightened by near misses with the truth after and with the complications of those actions interacting with other important characters in the story.
The next option works best, if not only, in written fiction. The possessed at the author's discretion is fully aware of what they are doing while the possessing entity is in control of their body. Or at least that's what they believe. This is where some of the best horror comes from. Trapped in your own mind watching while your body does unspeakable things and says terrible things to anyone and everyone damaging your credibility, threatening your freedom, and even putting you in danger both while still possessed and potentially for a long time after the possession is over. The entity might give up control and let you deal with everything it has done only to take control again once everything has been straightened out and begin the entire nightmare process over and over again. It would also make certain that you knew it hid some events from you just to add to your already tremendous sense of worry.
What if the possessed is doing things of their own will, but with the dark influence of the entity egging them on, acting as or suppressing their conscience? The influence could begin long before the first act of obvious possession. It could begin years in advance. This could be par for the course and full on possession takes place when the corruption doesn't happen fast enough or the victim is too resist. Or it could be part of an even more nefarious plot. These are the intimate horrors associated with possession. What happens though when a larger look at the phenomena is taken? Possessed people might be secretly meeting and planning much larger events than any single person might be able to pull off even with supernatural abilities at their beck and call. If we are talking about purely Satanic-based possession then the overall plan is far reaching across not only distance but also time, and the end game is frighteningly unknown. Hints about that end game may be worse than knowing nothing at all.
Music: Hell No by Bruce Dickinson and Hitchin' A Ride by Green Day.
November 9, 2011 Get Your Exorcisms While They're Hot
I hope everyone likes the new look for the site since the move, though one of the new site's issues is that no one can comment yet. The Hallowee'n festivities suffered lower viewer numbers than previous years due to the move, and despite getting the word out better with more locations. The whole 13 Nights is a bit taxing. It was more so this year because I didn't suspend all other blogging, only some of it. I'll admit I was tempted not to schedule the post this week, but I couldn't stay away. Bear with me though if it's a little brief.
One of the hot topics on people's minds this year has been exorcism. Perhaps some of it traces to the release of The Last Exorcism (2010) on DVD and Blu-Ray and the release of The Rite (2011) in theatres--both kicking off the year in January. Or it could be the word from the Catholic Church about training more exorcists, but is likely both. In August I posted a link with my commentary at WraithStop titled "Meet the exorcist schoolgirls who..." It seems a little silly admittedly but it lays out some information on how real possessed people are supposed to act. Someone recently pointed out an interview with "Matt Baglio, Author of the Rite", which backs up the possessed's behaviour. In short, among other things, they blink long and/or belch at certain words--and most don't do anything more exciting aside except speak with a specific, creepy, guttural voice in some instances. Not terribly thrilling, which is why possession gets played up significantly for horror stories and movies. Except...
Just last night I was watching Paranormal Witness, an awesome new SyFy show that re-enacts the true stories from the witnesses as well as showing interview clips with these people. The paranormal tale I watched this time had to do with a young man released from jail for a funeral who--total spoiler here--comes into contact with something evil, perhaps even possesses him, and some kind of liquid comes raining from out of nowhere inside both the house he was staying at on his furlough, and inside the jail he returns to. Not only does this liquid fall indoors but it also defies gravity, raining in impossible directions and hitting or missing specific objects and people only, including striking someone he couldn't even see at the time. As they say, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction because fiction generally has to make sense. This leaves a storyteller to choose from a number of different levels of scares and general spookiness.
Music: The One That Got Away by Alice Cooper and Soul Intruders by Bruce Dickinson.