“There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised.”
These words, spoken by Anton Szandor LaVey, have a particular resonance in the world of horror in film and literature. Described in more academic terms by Howard Bloom as “the Lucifer Principle,” the idea of the Current of the world as inherently hostile and adversarial, but at the same time always driving toward betterment and enlightenment, is one that permeates books and cinema across many different genres. However, the only genre of fiction to regularly take up this concept of the universe’s hostility, or worse, indifference, toward mankind, is that of horror.
Horror is the one genre that truly has the courage to gaze into the Nietzschean abyss and, in turn, to be gazed at. Whether it be vampires or zombies, psycho killers or ghosts, the beings thought to induce horror and revulsion often turn out to be the most accurate mirrors of our own existence as individuals, and of human society itself. Horror does not coil back in fear from the beast that resides in man. It takes the beast, sets it free, and shows the world that, while the beast must be respected, it does not need to be feared. After all, the beast is us.
This may seem a very serious way to begin a blog, and so please allow me to informally introduce myself. My name is John Skeleton, born and raised in Pennsylvania, a state abundant in beautiful countryside scenery and the setting of more than a few notable zombie films. All my life I have been attracted to the dark and the Gothic in film, literature, or any of its other manifestations. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Japanese Language and Literature and a minor in English Literature, I found myself inexorably drawn toward the Land of the Rising Sun. Now in Japan I live deep in the mountains and continue to pursue my enjoyment of all things horrific.
In this blog, I will attempt to use my unique perspective as an American living in Japan to discuss my views of horror on both sides of the Pacific. While I may occasionally take the scalpel to various works and examine them from a serious philosophical or critical standpoint, for the most part I will try to give a more lighthearted account of certain items that I find to be particularly dark and delightful, and simply introduce the variety of eldritch curiosities that I may be interested in at any given time. The underlying thread throughout this blog will, I hope, be a thorough appreciation of horror as a genre, particularly that of film and literature. As I reside in Japan, one may expect some coverage of more obscure Japanese films and elements of culture that I hope will be enlightening.
The genre of horror is like a vast and immeasurable ocean, and so I hope that you will join me as I turn to face this “sea of darkness, and all therein that may be explored.” I can guarantee that we will have a bloody good time!