Cosmic Horror

And why it should be used in more horror movies.

Alex Spetman, Copy Editor

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Cosmic horror, a sub-genre of scifi-horror made by H.P. Lovecraft; a writer known for his weird and horrifying stories. The genre’s stories dabble in the occult, beasts, and possession by unknown beings. And usually, he doesn’t do much in light of describing the creature(s), he leaves it up to the mind to make something horrifying. Cosmic horror is also known as Cosmicism, and it does a unique set of things that have to do with… well… the cosmos. The philosophy of cosmicism states:

“There is no recognizable devine prescense, such as god, in the universe, and that humans are basically insignifigant in the larger scheme of intergalactic exsistence.” – Unknown

So,  why is this a good horror setting? Well, it for one makes us vulnerable. And it also doesn’t let us put a face on the beast chasing, haunting, harassing, or picking us off one by one. The most prominent fear in humanity is that we can’t comprehend such a massive universe, and it’s also terrifying to get small glimpses of let’s say a shadow, some fur, maybe even blood. But never knowing what the being (or creature) looks like in the grand scheme of things. It’s left up for interpretation and our imagination can be way more terrifying than anything a director or an actor can even think of putting together. An individual person is the only one who can truly understand their own fears, even if it’s irrational. We’re the only ones capable of measuring how scary something is to us even if it happens subconsciously.

Cosmicism also has nihilism in it, always doubting and questioning things. It also constantly reminds us that we are (people in the large scheme of the universe) useless, and too curious for our own good. The pursuit of knowledge leads to disaster in most of these stories. For example:

A group of explorers stumble upon a planet that is mainly water, they scan the planet and see that it has enough oxygen to sustain a small number of people. This is perfect for the ever-expanding reach of the human species, but it has bad soil and can make it incredibly hard for trees to grow to produce more O2 (oxygen). And there are high concentrations of CO2 in the ground, making digging dangerous; the deeper you go the more CO2 is released into the air which can drastically change the climate. They keep an eye on the planet for a few days, the is usually seventy-two (72) degrees Fahrenheit, or twenty-two (22) degrees celsius. It tends to remain day time for twelve (12) hours and (what would be to us) nighttime for thirty-two (32) hours. Strange but not completely worrisome, humanity has seen planets that remain dark for years, only to light up for hours. The two main weather cycles are either rainy or just plain old sunny without many clouds. The scan shows an abundance of flora (plants) and some fauna (animals). They decide to land on the planet and check things out up close; they exit the ship they’re on and look around. It’s quiet, and all they hear is the wind blowing occasionally. But then they realize something, someone is missing, and then before they know it another is. All end up missing, an SOS beacon couldn’t be set up; and the only thing remaining of the explorers is a shadowy print.

Now, as you can see my story is mainly scifi. And it focuses on a planet and a being that is there but also isn’t. You’re essentially left to your own thought.

If you plan on writing any cosmic horror stories or making any films, please be aware it does not work with a lot of things. Cosmicism definitely never works with Humanism; humanism takes in the thought that humans are the most essential piece of the puzzle. Effectively making them the biggest part of the story, and the most important. Humans are the center focus in the humanism ‘genre’.

Now; here is a challenge: write your cosmic-horror story, and it will be put in the wire (possibly). Just remember to not describe, the creature/being in small details. Have it be scary, and make it disturbing.

And remember: it almost ALWAYS ends poorly.

(Please be prepared for criticism as well, it may be blunt but remember it is constructive)