-a famous Star Trek episode that was an anvil-on-the-head racism allegory
Back in October, I took a little stab, if you will, at separating horror into various categories. Here's the link to that article:
What I didn't have a chance to discuss in that post was allegory. While stories about scary humans like kidnappers and serial killers might have a moral (watch your back! Don't trust strangers!), they are not generally allegories (though it could be done).
But stories of ghosts, monsters and “the other” (demonic or incomprehensible evils) can easily be allegorical. In fact, horror can often be powerful as metaphor or allegory, even when the writer doesn't try to create the double meaning. It just kind of happens. Or we can imagine it's there.
I did reasonably well as an English major, finding hidden or maybe nonexistent meanings everywhere. Perhaps there's more balogna than anything else to that whole thing…
whatever! That's not the point!
The Ghost story is often an exploration of mortality and our relationship to death. A way to process our feelings about the big D. It's the biggest question humanity faces: how to live, and how to deal with death. Seeing a ghost is seeing our own death.
Monster stories can be taken to be about dangerous people: which could mean outsiders, those who are different. In a more positive way, the Vampires, Zombies and Werewolves represent psychopaths and narcissists. People who seem to be like us, but are dangerous and destructive. And the worst fate we can suffer in a Vampire or Zombie movie is to be infected and become one of those creatures ourselves! These are warnings to avoid Pathologic Narcissists, and not to behave like that ourselves!
I think the fear of the Extradimensional or the Other can have something to do with the reality that we live in a HUGE, BEYOND HUGE Universe that is still largely not fully comprehended by humanity. The allegorical meaning to this subject is probably our ultimate insignificance. A scary thought when you're in a certain state of mind…
The horror, fantasy, and sci fi genres are fantastic vehicles for allegory.
Do you work with allegory in your own writing? What subjects have you tackled? What are you favorite allegorical tales and what do they mean to you?
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Banes at 12:00AM, Feb. 11, 2016
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