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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Re-Watching Agents of Shield, and Hope in Horror

So, I recently started re-watching Agents of Shield. The reason? Well, at this point in my life, I've had my fill of horror which goes nowhere but degradation, desolation, and nihilistic "there's no point in anything and there's no good in the world" destinations. 

I'm sorry.

That's probably a bit on the nose.

But honestly, after watching such wonderful shows as The Haunting of Hill House, and the currently enjoyable Castle Rock, after loving Stranger Things...I just hit a wall, recently. I tried to watch American Horror Story: Cult...and found it completely unwatchable. 


At first, my hopes were moderately high (I've had a so-so experience with AHS so far) because, sure - looking at the recent political developments in our world; how everyone seems to be caving into their worst fears, and how the Powers the Be have sought to control those fears for their own ends - there seemed to be an ample opportunity for some culturally-relevant horror about what our worst fears do to us. What I got instead?

I'm not even sure. Honestly, Cult was practically unwatchable. It offered the worst political caricatures of all kinds, and I couldn't even take it seriously. I gave up after several episodes, tried to finish American Horror Story: Roanoke. I found the first half of that season decently engaging. However, I couldn't finish that it moved from a desperate fight for survival to a rigged game offering nothing but carnage and betrayal.

I just couldn't do it.

Look, I'm not afraid of  "dark." The Haunting of Hill House was really dark, at times. But it had substance. Something for us viewers to root for. And, though it was dark with not a particularly uplifting message about how free will might be an  illusion, at least Black Mirror's Bandersnatch was interesting, both from a storytelling perspective (how can you NOT like a Choose Your Own Adventure Movie?), and from the concept of free-will versus predestination. 

And, hey - not many folks liked it, but even the television adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist had something to it. People struggling for something, to achieve something good. After trying to slog through AHS: Cult and the rest of Roanoke, I just gave up and decided to re-watch something  that had hope as part of the narrative.

Now, maybe this is just AHS we're talking about. The only season I really liked was Asylum - and that was because, for all it's darkness, characters in that series fought for something. They tried to find something. They clung to hope.

I'm not going much further with this, because you've already heard this, if you followed my blog for any length of time. I'm not sure what this means for my writing "career" - but I have a very low tolerance, anymore, for horror stories which offer no hope of any kind. Make it as dark as possible. Make it disturbing, so we look at things we'd rather not - it is, after all, the duty of the artist to not look away - but offer something, man. Some hope of something better. If not?

What's the point?

Okay. I'll stop complaining about the clouds, now... 

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