What's it about?
The night was cut into 4 pieces. Each piece was a different horror story and at the end you got to vote for your favorite. The favorite of the night would get a cash prize. The first was titled The Wrong Way and was about two girls who seemed to have made their way into a different dimension with people and things that aren’t what they seem to be. The second was Catchpole, about two women during a zombie apocalypse who start off friendly but end violently. The third was Dye It or Exorcise, about a man who is made to believe he’s possessed by a demon and decides to have his friends perform a makeshift exorcism in the hair salon they all work. And lastly, topping off the night, a musical titled The King’s Last Stand focused around the execution of Stephen King that is performed by his most infamous characters such as Pennywise from IT, Carrie from Carrie, and Jack from The Shining.
Horror has always been my favorite genre, whether it be movies, televisions, novels, websites, art or video games. Many of my friends know me as the go to person for the best horror recommendations and the person to avoid if you were terrified of spooky things. When I was a child, the only DVD we had at home was The Ring so naturally I watched it every week with everyone who dared. The thrill from the scare, the drama, the suspense - it has hooked me with unbreakable chains and the older I get the more I immerse myself in horror. So, my interest was piqued when I came across Boo! Festival - a new horror to explore.
Going into this I was incredibly excited and biased. I created this whole picture in my head of what it was going to be like that it was totally based on what I like and what I am scared of. So as I walked into the dark theater, to a small room full of people and a lone decapitated mannequin head situated casually on the stage I was excited for what was to come. I sat right at the front hoping it would elevate my experience to be closer to the stage and the actors. Finally the lights grew dark, the murmurs from the strangers around me grew quiet, and thus it began.
The first play, I wouldn’t say it scared me but it did have a lot of creepy factors in it that would have made my skin crawl. The play had started off with a girl who had odd mannequin body pieces taped to her legs and her arms. Something about the positioning of the rigid and fake mannequin parts in contrast with the girls fluid movements as she danced around the stage did evoke a tiny bit of fear in me. However, once she had left and the rest of the story began - I was lost. I just didn’t get it. Instead of feeling scared I wanted to laugh during the most intense parts of the story, instead of rooting for the characters survival a small smile would form on my lips from the thought of their demise. I sat there trying very hard to get into the world of the story but instead I sat there counting down the seconds, looking around my surroundings, and wondering what I’d be eating for dinner that night.
After the first story ended my morale was low and I was disappointed since it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I thought that the rest would be a drag - but I was pleasantly surprised. The other three stories - I enjoyed how they didn’t exactly focus on the scare factor but rather they took different perspectives on the broad genre of horror. For example, Catchpole was not the zombies coming to eat you but rather, fellow survivors who are far more terrifying than the zombies. And Dye It and Exorcise was witty and downright goofy. There are so many serious horror movies about exorcisms and demons that this was a very welcomed change, for me. And lastly The King’s Last Stand incorporated a lot of Stephen King's more infamous characters. It felt good watching and thinking “I get this joke!” or “Oh I get this reference!” Also, everything was sung like a musical so when I left the theater I felt happy, excited, and very bubbly.
I realized many things - first, my expectations were too high and too biased walking into the theater. I had an idea of what I wanted from this play that mascaraed as what I expected (a 5 senses extravaganza of spook) . Second, I realized that I want to feel something for a character, I want to believe they can make it out alive but while I was watching the first play I was counting the seconds down until it ended. The other three stories brought me into their world and made me care in the short period of time I got to know them.
Even though it took me a bit of time to warm up to the idea that this would not meet my expectations/ideas, it made me see that the genre I had believed I was very well acquainted with had a nightlife I wasn’t willing to see. There are so many people in the world, of course they’re going to perceive the idea of a genre differently. That idea seems like a no-brainer but before I had only seen the subject in a very black/white way, either it was scary or it wasn’t. Now I understand that no matter how well you think you know something, no matter what it is, there are always ways to shake it up.