A Word from the Editors
What is it about the unseen; those things that haunt us, that give us goosebumps and shivers, and force us to question our understanding of reality? Both masters of horror and friends sharing ghost stories have been around for centuries with one, shared goal in mind: to thrill and to frighten.
For Origami’s horror-themed Fall 2013 edition, we contacted Canadian horror author and photographer, Ian Rogers, to give us a first-hand glimpse into the horror genre. We are delighted to feature one of his spectacular images as our cover art for this issue and are excited to share Ian’s expertise with all of our readers… and once again thank our wonderful contributors who truly made this issue terrifying.
So turn out the lights, close all the curtains, and please enjoy our third installation of Origami Journal.
by Ian Rogers
There’s an art to writing good horror fiction, but there’s also a balance. Horror is all about balance, and writing it is about placing your hand on the scale and tipping it. You can tip it a bit, or you can tip it a lot.
When I was asked to write the introduction for the fall issue of Origami, an issue devoted to horror, I thought that the best way to describe my own theories of the subject, the best way to explain the balance of horror, was to talk about something I both love and fear.
Put simply, there’s no place I’d rather be during the day than the woods. But when the sun goes down, I can think of no place scarier.
Maybe it’s something to do with the trees. The way they seem to embody all of nature, and the way they conceal… well, just about anything. There’s something hauntingly beautiful about trees. David Lynch obviously understood this when he and Mark Frost created the TV show Twin Peaks. There’s even a spooky musical interlude in the series finale called “Sycamore Trees.”
When Jaws first hit theatres, there was a lot of talk about people are now afraid to go swimming in the ocean. I know because I was one of them. I vowed never to swim in the ocean again after watching that movie. I know the chances of being attacked by a shark are very low, but it doesn’t matter. Fear isn’t rational, and while the possibility of being attacked is low, it’s still a possibility.
Sharks never really bothered me much. In fact, I’m a big fan of Shark Week, and since I don’t live near the ocean, the fear of a shark attack is pretty low on my list of daily concerns. The woods, on the other hand, are all around us.
If Twin Peaks takes part of the blame for my fear of the woods, the rest belongs solely to the people who made The Blair Witch Project. I think a lot of people would say that movie did for the woods what Jaws did for the ocean.
Autumn is a time of balance in nature. It’s a period when things die or go to sleep for a while. And yet it’s also one of the most beautiful times of the year. The leaves change colour, the air turns cool and crisp. It’s almost like, for those few months, our world drifts into another dimension. At what other time is it socially acceptable for children to dress-up as monsters and go screaming through the night for candy? And what better example of the balance of horror is there than Halloween, that night of tricks and treats rooted in a history of pagan rituals and human sacrifice.
The stories you are about to read may be classified as horror or supernatural or thrillers, but they’re really about tipping the balance of everyday life. So go ahead, turn the page and get reading. Just make sure you’ve got something to hold onto. Or even better, someone.
Ian Rogers is a writer, photographer, artist, graphic designer, and web developer. At the age of twelve, his comic strip Styx & Stone was a regular feature of the Whitby Free Press. He has written extensively on film for both print and online publications, and his work has been reviewed in Entertainment Weekly. He has also worked in radio broadcasting as guest co-host of Strange Days… Indeed on NewsTalk 1010 CFRB Toronto, and as webmaster for the award-winning horror-fiction website Chizine.com.
Ian’s short stories have been published in several markets including Cemetery Dance, On Spec, Broken Pencil, and Shadows & Tall Trees. His work has also been selected for The Best Horror of the Year. His novelette, “The House on Ashley Avenue,” was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award.
Ian is the author of the Felix Renn series of supernatural-noirs (“supernoirturals”), including “Temporary Monsters,” “The Ash Angels,” and “Black-Eyed Kids” from Burning Effigy Press. For more information about the series, visit TheBlackLands.com.
Ian’s first book, a collection of dark fiction called Every House Is Haunted, is now available from ChiZine Publications. His second book, a collection of Felix Renn stories called SuperNOIRtural Tales, is available from Burning Effigy Press.
Ian lives with his wife, Kathryn, in Peterborough, Ontario.