How I Came to Horror (and Why I Stayed)

I love horror.

It’s my genre of choice for books, movies, and television (not that I don’t consume others, mind you). There’s something about the subject matter that resonates with me more than any other form of entertainment.

And I found it early, too.

The Universal monsters. Alfred Hitchcock anthologies, and reruns of The Twilight Zone all informed my youth. By the time The X-Files came out when I was in sixth grade, I watched it every week–an instant fan. I latched onto Lovecraft in college and slowly worked my way up from the work he and his peers created to modern literature. Since then, I’ve consumed hundreds of books and films revolving involving the bizarre and/or supernatural. And even after all that, I still have a hunger for it. I even write the stuff. But why?

Looking at the titles of the books and DVDs littering my bookshelves, I think I get it.

I like science fiction and fantasy just fine. There are plenty of gripping, thought-provoking stories in those genres (and amazing cross-genre overlap with horror certainly does happen–just look at some of the examples above!). But there’s also a distance between them and the reader when it comes to the “hard” stuff. No matter how well-realized the worlds they represent, they’re not our world. It makes for great escapism, and I can truly see why people get into that, but it’s just not my personal preference. I like when strangeness shows up on a doorstep that could be right down the street, or even when someone I can imagine on that street stumbles upon a nightmare somewhere unfamiliar. Because no matter how tenuous and twisted up, I crave that common thread of the real to ground the story. To give it that slightest hint of … possibility that allows me to suspend my disbelief and lose myself in the plot.

I think that’s what always held me–even as a kid. I wanted to believe, just for a little while, that something that outlandish could happen in real life. Because if it could, that opened up the door for so many other possibilities undreamt of in a world that too often feels mundane. Every time I write, I’m still trying to rip reality open to see what things–dark and light–come crawling out, how things might change because of them, and what other marvels might follow in their wake.

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About prutigli

Patrick Rutigliano grew up on a steady diet of comic books and horror movies. Making his first sale to Permuted press in 2007, he has since placed stories with several publications in addition to his first collection, Black Corners of a Blood-Red Room. The Untimely Deaths of Daryl Handy is his first independent release. During his off time, Patrick can usually be found attempting to recreate foreign cuisine, sacrificing cardboard to his cats, and having spirited debates with his wife over the failings of Disney villains.
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