NYCC Dark Horse Horror Panel
Emily Dunbar ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
Moderated by Scott Allie, the Dark Horse Horror panel began with each of the panelists saying their names and what it is they do in the horror industry. As soon as they finished explaining, another panelist burst in, panting and muttering about the New York City traffic police. Once he got settled in and calmed down a bit, they all got down to talking about their favorite (and least favorite!) aspects of horror.
They all agreed: horror was all about making something scary that isn’t usually necessarily scary. Alex de Campi, writer of Grindhouse, put it simply, “One of the things about horror is: [it scares] you in ways you haven’t thought of before.” Gore, all the panelists agreed, should be used sparingly when in context of the big scare. Too much gore, and your audience is already used to it. Suddenly, they’re not scared at all; they just don’t care.
Some of the panelists then explained how they got their start in horror. Jonathan Maberry was gifted his first horror stories by Bradbury and Matheson, themselves. He enjoyed them so much (especially “The Haunting”) and he got to thinking about how you can always imagine much worse than what is actually happening in any story.
Scary stuff also got Tim Seeley thinking as a kid. After watching Fright Night with his father, he realized he was sitting awake, terrified, just thinking about all the scariest things he could. He had so many ideas, filling in what he forgot with even scarier scenarios.
Next, the panelists talked about stupid things that happen in horror stories these days. They joked about how stupid it is to go in the basement with a candle and a shotgun – Why don’t you just leave your house?
After being asked how they bring their own fears to life in their work, de Campi eloquently put it, “We scare ourselves more than we’ll ever scare you.” They all agreed that it makes a better story to draw from your own worst fears, as it keeps you invested in the story. However, Maberry closed the panel with the converse idea. He suggested trying to look at the people around you and understand what scares them. He said, “Sometimes, it’s more frightening to see inside someone else’s fears.”