Please give a warm welcome to Liesel K, Hill who is guest posting today on BLH! Thank you Liesel for stopping by today!
Why The Human Race is Weird—Don’t Worry! We Can Totally Explain!
Halloween is all about being scared, right? Okay, some people will take exception to that. Halloween used to be about pagan beliefs, keeping the evils of winter at bay, celebrating or communing with the dead, celebrating the Saints…But I digress. Many cultures and entities (I mean the medieval church, here, not something creepy) have latched onto Halloween for one reason or another. They’ve changed it, celebrated it, and made it their own.
For those who celebrate Halloween today, it’s generally about two things: being scared and having fun. An odd combination, right? Or is it? Most people who are scared out of their shorts aren’t having fun, except for around Halloween.
This falls under How Weird is the Human Race? Animals don’t make a practice of scaring the urine out of themselves and call it time well-spent in the woods. With few exceptions, if you scare a baby, toddler, or young child, they will cry rather than laugh. Which means that scares as fun is a learned behavior.
So why do we like to be scared? There are lots of theories.
1) The Physical—being scared spikes our adrenaline and releases endorphins, which make us feel good. Makes sense, right? Maybe. But if we were really afraid our lives were in danger, chances are we wouldn’t be laughing. So what’s the missing ingredient? Most people would argue controlled circumstances. We like cheap thrills for the adrenaline, but we know there’s no real danger, so we can allow ourselves to enjoy it. And, like exercise, the spike in our heart-rate releases stress, but more on that below.
One could even make the argument that the heart-rate spike burns us some extra calories. Halloween = healthy anyone? (Yeah right. I might pretend to buy into this argument if roughly one quarter of all candy bought in the U.S. every year wasn’t purchased in October. Can we all say Pyrrhic victory?)
2) The Psychological—Stephen King argues (and I think we can all agree that he might know a thing or two about this) that we all have a dark side. He says that in order to not let that dark side take over, we have to indulge it every once in a while. A great way to do that? Slasher movies, gory books, and Halloween scares.
I agree with King to a point. While I think his explanation holds water, explaining it like this makes it sound like every Joe and Joelle American is a stark raving psychopath waiting to happen. I think it has more to do with allowing ourselves to understand the evil that’s out there. After doing this, we make ourselves better and resolve to take a stand against the injustices of the world. Therefore, we keep the “dark side” at bay.
3) The Emotional—I’ve always considered slasher movies my guilty pleasure. I don’t like them for the content (not into gore, nudity, and f-bombs) but there’s just something about them that always draws me in. Then I read an article in EW, which explained that the audience for slasher movies is largely female. Why? Think about it. Most slasher flicks have a female MC (often a virgin, or if not that, a “good girl”) who is either the sole or one of few survivors. In the end she’s the one that generally gets the drop on the bad guy (invariably named something creepy like Michael ,Jason , or Edward) and often gets to deal the killing blow. Can everyone say girl power? I think it’s true for guys too, though. We get a certain validation from seeing good triumph over evil. The more evil, the better. So, we like the scares because we know the payoff will be awesome!
Getting back to stress reduction, we also like being scared for the cathartic effect. For example, if our real-life soul mate asks us to marry them, and we love them but are scared of commitment, it’s not really kosher to scream bloody murder and jump two feet up into the air. Such behavior will likely cause our would-be spouse to find some reason to move across the country. In a dark movie theater or a haunted house, however, we can scream to our hearts content without feeling sheepish. Ah, stress reduction!
4) The Intellectual—In terms of higher reasoning power (that’s our story and we’re sticking to it) we tend to think about how we would handle any given situation. I’m sure we all convince ourselves that if a mask-wearing, machete-wielding, “misunderstood” drifter was after us, we’d keep our cool and be the one to conveniently pull the mini- gun from our purses and take care of the situation. In reality, most of us would probably run in circles screaming like girls (yes, I’m looking at the macho guys too) and be the first to get decapitated. But we’d like to believe that we have more sense than that. So we scream ourselves hoarse in the haunted house, movie theater, or other Halloween- themed adventure, then go home patting ourselves on the back, confident that, should the situation ever arise, we’d be the Sam-and-Dean-Winchester to the bad guy’s homicidal, paranormal psychopathy. In short, cheap scares just make us feel better about ourselves.
What do you think? Do you fit into any of these categories? (Honesty, now. It’s All Hallow’s Eve and the spirit of your saintly great-grandmother is probably listening.)
Happy Halloween, Everyone! Make sure and allow yourselves a few scares. You know, for good measure. :D
Scheduled Release Winter 2012
In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.
After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.
In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.
If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...