I talk to y'all pretty often about the fact that horror can be very good for you. It gives you the catharsis of facing up to fears -- even if they're fanciful fears about vampires and zombies and monster clowns -- so you know you can face up to the real fears in your life. It gives you a safe and often fun way to confront terror.
But there are other ways horror can bring catharsis.
The revenge tale is certainly not unique to horror -- vengeance is a major motivation for characters in Westerns, comedies, and action movies. Characters on a quest for revenge appear in Hamlet, Game of Thrones, John Wick, Veronica Mars, Big Hero 6, Unforgiven, Death Wish, Django Unchained, Kill Bill, and plenty more. Where, after all, would Inigo Montoya be without his epic mission to gain revenge?
It's got its place in horror, too. Sometimes, it's an innocent person targeted by the supernatural for revenge (Night of the Demon, Thinner, Drag Me to Hell). Often, it's the innocent hero or heroine getting revenge on a monster or killer who has targeted them or their friends.
And in classic EC Comics like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Fear, in TV shows like The Twilight Zone, and in films like Creepshow, the real villains are the normal people, committing evil deeds driven by greed and hatred and lust, and the instruments of justice, those that seek to take their revenge on the evildoers are the supernatural menaces themselves. A murdered man rises from the dead just so he can drag his killer into his grave with him. A Nazi war criminal finds himself teleported back in time and trapped inside his own death camp. A greedy, germophobic billionaire finds his home invaded by millions of deadly cockroaches.
Catharsis is the goal here, but it's a different kind of catharsis. Obviously, we don't actually encounter werewolves or ghosts or any other supernatural monsters in the real world. But there are a lot of actively terrible humans out there. Exploitive, cruel, sadistic, greedy, abusive people are all over the damn place. Some of them employ us, some of them are coworkers. Sometimes, they're even family. Up until a few years ago, we thought a lot of them were normal, non-evil people -- people who'd never march with Nazis or support concentration camps -- until they all did us the "favor" of unmasking themselves. And a lot of them run our lives, from murderous cops to greedy billionaires to racist politicians. People would celebrate if they were killed, but most of us would never dare commit murder, no matter how deserving the victims would be.
But boy, does it ever feel good when fiction does the job for us.
So no, we'll never live in a world where racist cops get ripped apart by their own zombified victims, or where environment-hating Brazilian demagogues get cut to pieces by the bloody nature spirits of the Amazon jungle, or where violent Nazi-loving red-hat teenagers come face-to-face with antifa werewolves, or where billionaire pedophile sex traffickers are hanged in their cells by their own spectral victims, or where a reverse-Rapture drags a racist manchild's 63 million nihilist supporters off to the Hell they truly deserve. We'll never live in a world where things that horrible happen to the people who deserve it the most.
Thank god we've got horror to take us to those happier, bloodier worlds. Because it's that time of year again. Let's try to scare each other.
Write an original scary story. Write a horror-themed poem. Node a story that is in the public domain. Write a factual writeup that is about horror or scary stuff. Write a biography of a writer or actor closely associated with the horror genre. Create a review of a horror film or story. It can be any length and any topic -- as long as it's scary.
What's the runtime for the Quest? The entire month of October, plus November 1, server time. Halloween is too awesome to limit to just one day a year.
If you need inspiration, or if you just want to see some more of the scary stories that Everythingians have produced, check out our previous horror quests: I can make you howl. And vice versa. Let's get down to business., Everything Quests: Scary Stories, The Blood is the Life: A Frightful Halloween Quest, They Hunger For Nodes: An e2 Halloween Scary Story Quest, I Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Text: The 2005 Halloween Horrorquest, It's the Season for Graves Cracking: The 2006 Quest for Fear (a deleted quest announcement, unfortunately), The Poet and the Worm, The Night's Plutonian Shore: The 2007 Halloween Horrorquest, Necronodecon: The 2008 Halloween Horrorquest, Pickman's Nodegel: The 2009 Halloween Horrorquest, Ten Years of Terror: The 2010 Halloween Horrorquest, The Nodegel from Yuggoth: The 2011 Halloween Horrorquest, Children of the Night: The 2012 Halloween Horrorquest, 13 O'Clock: The 2013 Halloween Horrorquest, No More Room in Hell: The 2014 Halloween Horrorquest, In the Nodes of Madness: The 2015 Halloween Horrorquest, Grisly Ghouls from Every Tomb: The 2016 Halloween Horrorquest, We All Float Down Here: The 2017 Halloween Horrorquest, and Tender Lumplings Everywhere: The 2018 Halloween Horrorquest.
Again, the Quest will run for the entire month of October and November 1. If you post early or late -- too bad, so sad.
When you write a story for the Quest, just /msg me with the node title, then softlink your writeup to this node. I'll include a list of all the Quest participants below.
So start thinking horror, boils and ghouls. Halloween is coming. Let's scare each other.
Angel Dust Apocalypse by gate
The Hunt on Murder Island: The 2019 Friend Behr Nodermeet by civilwaractionfigure
An illuminating conversation with the dark by Zephronias
The Breastfed Stranger by civilwaractionfigure
doll by lostcauser
Those Don't Sound Like Bats by Chord
Haunted Bridge Abutment by civilwaractionfigure
Growing Up Dead by Glowing Fish
The Tree From Poltergeist Speaks by MarmaladeSkies
Sid Haig by Jet-Poop
Stambovsky v. Ackley by Glowing Fish
Taking a wrong turn in Connecticut can be worse than you think by Chord
Halloween Yard Decorations Should Not Be Encountered Alone At Night by Chord
La Calavera Catrina by Tem42
Clariel by Glowing Fish
Pumpkinheads by Jet-Poop
Godzilla Raids Again by JD
The Book of Lost Things by Zephronias
Night Shift by Jet-Poop
Skeleton Crew by Jet-Poop
Hail Satan? by JD
The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Tem42
Blue Devil #20 by Glowing Fish
Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment by Glowing Fish
Mongrels by Jet-Poop
Private Parts by JD
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster by JD
Sleeper by Glowing Fish
Tales from the Scaremaster: Werewolf Weekend by Glowing Fish
The Mansion in the Mist by Tem42
Hangman by Nemosyn
The contradiction of epiphany in horror by Glowing Fish
The Horrorquest is ended for another year! Thank you all for your enthusiastic participation!