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Devin Watson Author of “Horror Screenwriter: The Nature of Fear”

The State of the Art of Horror

by Devin Watson

 Summer has arrived. Warm air, vacations, mowing the lawns. For some of us that’s just fine. Not for me. Summer has always meant the time when I sit back and enjoy some good movies with my friends. And of course write, write, write.

 Hollywood is in horror remake mode, and while some of us might be satisfied with the results I’m betting that more than a few of you aren’t, as am I. Some of us want more, new, and dare I say it, different. And even the gloss of Hollywood can’t deliver that.

 In my opinion horror wasn’t meant to be given a glossy sheen. It’s supposed to be ugly and brutal, bloody, scary, and dangerous. We want to be scared, to have the oogies, jump in our seats when the unexpected happens. Hell, even laugh some and maybe even think about things that are on the edge of our own imaginations. Where else can we get those kinds of intangible things delivered to us in a single package, aside from spending a weekend with the in-laws?

 Right now if you want to know the true state of horror you’ll have to dig under the glossy skin of Hollywood and look at its true guts: the independents. Independents come to these festivals not only to be seen but to be enjoyed. And that’s just what we do. We enjoy them. Crypticon is one of those places where you can find people of like mind that celebrate horror in all of its forms, from the visual to the written word.

 Horror fans can be more than fans. Of every genre out there, I can think of no other that is more fun and easily accessible for the aspiring writer or filmmaker. If you are a fan, you’re also halfway there to being one that picks up the torch and carries it further should you feel like it.

 Don’t like what you see on the screen and think you can do better? Then get out there and do it. This isn’t an angry ultimatum, by no means. In this day and age, there simply is no excuse to get out there and make your own and show it to the world. Even if it’s a five minute short with rough editing and bad sound, do it anyway. It’s a start. Just like playing the piano or riding a bike, you only get better with practice.

 It takes strong tenacity and an unwillingness to quit, but it can happen. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just another face in the crowd of horror fans. Then I crossed the line into writing horror, then filming it. It’s a thin line that’s easy to cross, but it takes courage. It’s courage I’m sure more than a few of you out there have.

 Above all, have fun and embrace the weirdness that is horror

You can get Devin’s book from Michael Wiese Productions right here! 

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