I've wanted to go to the World Horror Convention for several years now, but each time it was held the same weekend as another event. This year there was no conflict, but it was in Salt Lake City, Utah. That's pretty far and pricey to fly from New York. However, one of this year's special guests was Robert McCammon. If you know me, you know what that means to me. If you don't, I'm sure you've guessed by now that he is one of my favorite authors. Like, top 5. Maybe top 3. So, after months of waffling I finally found a reasonably priced ticket and yay! I was off!
RELIGION IN HORROR: (John W. Morehead, Eric James Stone, Michael R. Collings, moderated by Jaleta Clegg)
Points brought up:
-Religion as a topic and theme are more prevalent in the Horror genre than most others.
-Religion and theology lends itself to moral issues and in Horror, you can go ten steps further.
-Some Horror is just good vs. evil and religion doesn't play a role.
-It's also hard sometimes to find a balance, because "...good can be boring."
-Religion is integrated into people's lives, but what happens when it is pushed to the limit? When your ideals and choices are questioned?
"Horror allows authors to fiddle with humanity."
My favorite part: The discussion of crosses repelling vampires. Michael Collings brought up the quandry of is it the symbol itself, the person behind it, or the creature? Two examples are in Salem's Lot when the priest tries to repel Barlow, who scoffs and in the movie Fright Night when Jerry tells Charley, "You have to believe for this to work on me."
There was also discussion of relgious characters being stereotyped as the bad guys. (The mother in Carrie, zealots, etc.) Is this because a good religious character is boring? Religion is a tricky, volatile topic, whether you want to shock people, bring up questions or make a statement.
VAMPIRES ARE NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND: (Christine Morgan, Carter Reid, Gabrielle Faust, moderated by Tom Carr.)
Points brought up:
-With the publication of Dracula and even the film Nosferatu vampires started to be seen as sexual.
-As time passed vampires were defanged. The bad stuff was gotten rid of and only the good stuff kept. So vamps are immortal, sexy, wealthy.
-Vampires got prettier as actors got prettier.
-Vampires represent huge fears to mortals. They remind us that we don't want to lose our loved ones, fears of aging and dieing.
-Twilight Moms: Twilight is a safe fantasy for older women because Edward is not really 17.
"How long can you be on earth without losing your humanity?" ~Gabrielle Faust.
Favorite Part: -The discussion of what people want to see next. The concensus was less sparkle and more fangs!
|(l-r) Tom Carr, Christine Morgan.|
|(l-r) Carter Reid, Gabrielle Faust.|
|(l-r) Carter Reid, Gabrielle Faust, Tom Carr, Christine Morgan.|
HOW TO WRITE A BELIEVABLE GHOST STORY: (Michael Brent Collings, Ellen Datlow, Christine Morgan.)
Points brought up:
-It's harder to sustain a supernatural novel becasue you are trying to deceive your reader. (Ellen feels that is easier to do with a short story than with a novel.)
-Michael's advice is to focus in on the protagonist, give the ghosts a sold backstory and make sure every word sets the mood.
-When writing any fiction there needs to be a sense of disbelief, but in Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, that suspension needs to be double because not only are you asking the reader to buy into your story but to buy into your world.
-You have to have a set of rules and make sure they all make sense.
"A good story should take your life to the edge of damnation."~Michael Brent Collings.
Favorite part: The discussion of children in ghost stories. Children are more innocent, the tragedies are more horrofic, people are more vulnerable when it comes to children. Michael stated that they "...represent the ultimate of lost possibilities."
|(l-r) Christine Morgan, Michael Brent Collings, Ellen Datlow.|
Please note: I have attributed quotes as best I can, but I can only rely on the notes I took at the time.