I haven’t forgotten about horror. In fact, this past late winter my list of must see movies has continued to grow. I don’t subject you, my kind readers, to endless barrages about Holy Horror since I believe the idea behind the book is novel in its own right and can stand on its own. The other day I even ordered bookmarks to be made, for free distribution. Thing is, days are getting longer, and warmer, and people are thinking the opposite of horror just as spring is the equinoctial opposite of fall. Like a good monster I’m biding my time. And doing so on an editor’s budget. (The pay scale’s not the same as that of a professor; believe me, I know.) Horror’s funny that way—it is seasonal, at least in most people’s minds.
I make the point in the book that fear serves a useful function. It occurs in other genres quite frequently, although they bear the outcast label less overtly than horror. Perhaps this gets to the root of my fascination. Having grown up as part of the pariah social class of the poor, my sympathies are with the genre that often fails to find respectability. Many of those who criticize horror do not watch it. Some of these films are quite sophisticated, and the genre blends into other “speculative” categories such as science-fiction and some action, as well as into the more naturalistic thriller. And thrillers are merely dramas with an elevated pulse rate. This difficulty of distinguishing genres sharply is one reason Holy Horror addresses some films that aren’t strictly horror.
Work continues apace on Nightmares with the Bible. Again, the ex-professorate never receives sabbaticals during which concentrated work might be done on books. In the pre-dawn hours, however, I steadily make progress. Very shortly an article I wrote for Horizons in Biblical Theology on the topic will appear. Safely during the spring. As the days grow longer more of my weekend time is demanded by the outdoors aspect of home ownership, cleaning up after the freezing and thawing of a long winter when infelicities were safely covered under snow. Sometimes I fear for the progress made on my next book—it is the first advance contract I have ever had—but then I remind myself that fear does serve useful functions. It’s not called a deadline for nothing. So even as the darkness fades I prepare for the next round to begin.