[Guest Posts]

Make it to the Sequel: Horror and the Fight for Survival

I have a dark sense of humor. I once joked that if I woke up in a Saw trap, I wouldn’t play the game… I would just give up. I couldn’t see myself chopping off an arm or putting myself through some other bodily harm in hopes of making it out alive. Then again, I’ve lived with depression for most of my life, so you can say that my will to live has seen some good days and some bad days. A lot of my admiration for horror films has always been for the victims’ fight to the end and the will they have to save their friends and to see another day.

I have forever loved the character of Laurie Strode. Her story, from Halloween to Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a great version of “when life happens.” When we meet Laurie, she’s this innocent teenager with her whole life ahead of her. When we see her again twenty years later, she’s bad at relationships and can down a glass of wine with ease. Laurie did not imagine herself getting to that point. She never thought her friends would be murdered and she would be related to a serial killer. But when Michael Myers returns again, she rises to the occasion, protects what’s hers and puts an end to the thing that caused her such misery.

In the remake of Evil Dead, Mia’s battle with drugs is brilliantly told through a story of demonic possession. Mia and her friends decide to spend some time at a family cabin in the woods while she decides to kick heroin cold turkey. Just by being there, Mia has decided to fight for her life –– that she did not want to answer to drugs anymore. After Mia’s friends have been possessed by evil spirits and are met with violent ends, it is left to her to fight the Evil Dead. The movie is over the top and extremely exaggerated, but it paints a bloody picture of one woman fighting her personal demons.

Carrie is the first horror movie I remember seeing where I understood the character’s battle. Carrie White was an outcast at school and at home, and all she wanted to do was fit in. Not only does she have to deal with an abusive mother and cruel classmates, she has to deal with her insecurities. As she learns more about herself, including her telekinesis, Carrie slowly finds the confidence she always desired. Even though Carrie’s fate is tragic, what is admirable about her character and her arc is that she tried to fix her life, despite the odds against her.

Life can be hard sometimes, and maybe we’re not escaping some of the traumas we see in our favorite horror films, but it’s a little relieving to see the heroes and heroines succeed. I know I have a lot to work on in my own life and with myself. I have to remind myself to make it to the next chapter, and that maybe not all sequels suck.

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