Why I Find Comfort in Horror… The Family, Looking for Mike &… She-Ra

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‘The Family’

This 5 part limited Netflix documentary explores how a secretive Christian cult is set upon a world of Christian leaders. The members court politicians, bring them in, and they act as missionaries to other countries, where it’s quite clear that Jesus–and Christian beliefs–are all that matter. ‘Dictator with appalling human rights records? Hey, that’s ok, we both love Jesus, right? Let’s be friends’. Meanwhile someone I know mentions they voted Brexit and I want to cut them out of my life… A Christian world enmeshed in politics and the ruling class frighten me. We might think something like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ won’t happen, well, it could–maybe not as extreme–but social freedoms could so easily be dialled back with an increase in the religious right, appealing to the populist fears and prejudices. It showed the Romanian referendum on changing their marriage definition from spouses to being between a man and a woman, and the Family not promoting it but commending the government for promoting family values. As if gays are the world’s problem. It doesn’t feel so far fetched to think that here in the UK that same sex marriage could be rolled back, and suddenly my relationship won’t have the acceptance and protections of other committed relationships. Especially when parties like UKIP have their surges in popularity with their views on same-sex marriage, and our current prime minister is also quoted with his own questionable opinions.

I’m all for people having the freedom to worship how they like, but with an untraversable gap between church and state. Religion is nearly always conditional love, and largely used as a validation for hating the unlike. If a person wants to be oppressed by their religion that’s their choice, and shouldn’t ever be someone else’s torment. It really pisses me off that people think that religion is the driving force of good in the world. Kindness and compassion should be basic considerations in a person and is most certainly not dependent upon religious belief. I’m vegan for the animals and the planet, so, while a bunch of religious people are happily reconiling their love of bacon with their compassion. I’m sure there are Satanists out there with more compassion than some other religious folk. I know I’m coming across as pretty anti-religion, and being an atheist, I guess I am, but understand I got to this point through religious people in my life condemning me, and being hurtful and abusive, just because of who I love.

Religion has been a bit of an influence on me recently as I toss around story ideas. I can’t escape the ‘fiction’ of most religions when you have so many shades of Christianity all thinking they are the one true religion. In my mind most of them are essentially cults… and that got me thinking along the lines of my favourite brand of horror–Lovecraftian horror. Beyond the individual person’s experience of their beliefs, religion is essentially the big bad in the world, so what if Christianity was in fact an interpretation of an ancient one. and that certain followers or bands were more cult-like and that these followers could channel the vengeful wrathful God of the old testament upon those who aren’t living to its laws? The bible is full of demons and angels–the angels themselves were terrifying chimeras–just like the the pantheon of Lovecraftian creatures. It all ties up into something terrifying to me. I would be a pillar of salt for flinging out this blog entry for sure. Needs a lot of cooking and careful balancing so it isn’t hate speech against Christianity–which I wouldn’t want–and equally not giving credence to Christian beliefs. Eh, I’ll see what I come up with.

Why I Find Comfort In Horror

With this show, and some other documentaries I have been watching and listening to, about climate change, religion, animal rights, gay rights and the rise of populist politics, I am reminded why I like horror. Plenty of people can be judgemental of an appreciation of horror, especially writing it, as though it reflects a dark mind. I have to preface my love of horror being for supernatural horror, as I am far too squeamish for gore porn horror. For me, supernatural horror is a safe place, it represents encounters with ‘impossible’ terrors–but usually threats bound to rules. There will be a way to deal with the monster or entity at large, and one within the reach of those threatened. My vote against a populist party, my vegan diet against animal cruelty and climate change, isn’t quite the crucifix and stake in the chest I want it to be. Good and evil can be overt, and the struggle between the two can be simplified, and the battle can be won. Life isn’t so easy. Horror is a nice sandbox and place to escape to.

‘Real Stories: Looking For Mike’

Is a Youtube channel and documentary about a guy looking into a friend’s life after he dies suddenly at a young age, trying to process the loss, but finds out instead that his friend was not who he claimed to be, and becomes a quest to find his true identity and how far his lies stretched. It was interesting and emotional, and well worth a watch, and resonated with me as a story idea at the forefront of my mind. The plot I have lined up as my next project at the moment is called ‘X’ and is about a guy coming out of an emotionally abusive relationship, and coming to terms with his ex not being the nice guy he initially thought he was when he first entered into that relationship. I’m sure we can all relate around how we find people change over time, and that people aren’t we thought them to be. I’ve had an emotionally difficult relationship and been cheated on in my time–yay for inspiration–so I can certainly draw on that! As a fan of the supernatural though, I want to take that disconnection from person known to person unknown to 11. At the moment I’m tossing around secret invasion, body snatcher, changeling ideas and mixing it with a break-up and creepy ex story. I actually have a lot of it plotted out in my head already, and I’m loving the idea of my next modern horror having a folklore connection.

And now for a complete 180…

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Praise the Geek Powers that Be for season 3 coming to Netflix on my week off. A cute, fun, emotional, show. I love how it reinforces friendship and inclusivity in kids’ TV. I know I bang on about it, but it’s so great to see different genders, races and sexuality in kids’ TV. The character Beau has two dads, there’s been a female couple in it, and this season saw a female hunter with her eye on a barmaid. It’s not much, and while I want a main character to be gay in such a show, the mere fact gays exist in kids’ TV is great! It shows gay kids watching it that they have a place in the world, that it doesn’t need to be an issue–gays are just part of life–no matter what other messages they might be getting elsewhere. I wish I’d had some of that positivity in my childhood shows. It’s such an admirable risk to take for a production company with the potential backlash, as so many people fear a gay agenda to ‘convert’ kids–as if that’s how it works. I was surrounded by straight people and TV for most of my life, and tahdah! Gay. It just doesn’t work that way, and that kind of thinking just comes from the idea that being gay is a bad thing. Thankfully TV like ‘She-Ra’ and ‘The Dragon Prince’ are here to show the kids–and this middle-aged gay guy the world doesn’t have to be like that and that we’re ok. It’s also inclusive of other races, body types and portrayals of femininity, which is also much needed in kids’ TV. She-Ra has certainly been my happy place.

 

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