Many of my friends give me strange looks when I tell them that I am into creating children`s books. Just in case you are new to this blog and are wondering now: The last short film I did was The Cellar.
And the children´s book I mentioned is Below the Floor.
We like to put things and people into categories. That is how our mind works, we like to sort things, because it helps us to navigate through our life: We see something, recognise it and decide whether it is edible or poisonous, if it is prey or something we should run away from, if the stranger across the street, at midnight, is a threat or if he is harmless.
The book publishing industry works the same way: A guy (or a girl) who always writes romance will be marketed as the-romace-writing-guy. And if he likes to switch to western adventures he might have a hard time convincing his publisher or agent that this is a good idea. Mainly because the publisher knows that people rather read further romance stories written by him. Because the majority of his readers will associate his name with – you get it, romance. That`s why authors use pseudonyms. They also might use them because they would not want their real life names associated with their guilty pleasures. Think about the teacher or the laboratory assistant who loves to write steamy love stories, like Emily Bold.
So if my friends tell me that it is not very clever to do two different things that are so far away from each other – like horror short films and children`s books – they are right. From a publisher`s point of view.
But for me, fantasy children`s books and horror stories are not that far away from each other. For me, horror films are fairy tales for adults. I do not write (or shoot short films) because I want to talk about myself, but because I want to give others a playground. Only that this playground is not one you can walk into, but dream yourself into. As a kid, I would have spent hours sitting near the abandoned cable factory dreaming about all the things that could happen inside there – after World War III had wiped out civilisation (I grew up in the 80s. In school, we were taught to take shelter below our desks if we heard a certain siren, and got capsules that should protect us from nuclear radiation; no kidding). When you get older, you see things differently, but as a kid, these were my adventure daydreams.
So if fantasy tales are meant to entertain children and teach them something about life and at the same time socialize them as human beings, horror stories are to entertain adults and tell us about what it means to be human.
And I believe that what entices kids to enter the cave where the dragon lives and what lurks adults into stepping down into the dark cellar comes from the same need: The need to escape our world, the need to experience a life you will never have (and would not want to either), the need to rehearse our fear.
What do you think? Do horror films and children’s books have something in common, or are they totally different? Feel free to leave a comment below. 🙂