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Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

Do any of you ever find yourself realizing that you’re a fan of something conceptually, but not practically?

What I mean is, for instance, a conversation about horror movies at ArmadilloCon eventually turned to Pinhead and the Hellraiser movies. And I found myself putting into words something I’d thought about but hadn’t seriously considered, which is this:

I’m a big fan of the CONCEPT of Pinhead and the Cenobites (particularly in their original conception, before they just became run-of-the-mill demons in a Judeo-Christian hell). I think there’s an enormous amount of cool story and mood potential behind them, and I’d love to see it explored.

Yet I’m not actually a fan of any of their appearances. I didn’t much care for THE HELLBOUND HEART novella, and while I’ve enjoyed many aspects of the Hellraiser movies (especially scenes and segments and ideas from the first two), I’ve never actually enjoyed a single Hellraiser movie AS a complete movie.

The same is true of Lovecraft. I love Lovecraftian horror. I’ve used it in some of my work, and I sometimes go out looking for it. But I’m not really fond of Lovecraft’s own work. I find him a mediocre writer, and although I’ve read almost his entire library, I can only remember a handful of stories well enough to talk about them.

Or, for a different sort of example, exploration-based sandbox D&D campaigns. I find the potential stories and ideas enticing in the abstract, but I’ve never played in such a campaign that didn’t bore me, and I’ve had to quit every time I’ve tried to run one because I was very much not enjoying it.

Is this just me? Or do any of you guys–I’m especially, but not exclusively, curious about other creatives–find yourselves in the same sort of boat?

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Date: 2016-08-01 12:33 pm (UTC)
sabotabby: (books!)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
I'm definitely the same with Lovecraft. I dig Lovecraftian horror, but the stories themselves are a bit shit and the man was a horrible racist in a way that leaks into his writing.

Actually, in general there's a lot of horror I'm not into, which is to say most, even when I like the concepts and enjoy horror elements in other genres.

Date: 2016-08-01 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't address Hellraiser, as I'm not familiar with it.

I think your reaction to Lovecraft is pretty common; the concepts he came up with are compelling, but he is generally considered to be a mediocre writer (though he does have a distinctive style - one that lends itself to parody).

I'm surprised that you haven't played or run a good sandbox campaign of D&D. However, in my experience it admittedly does require a different approach from the usual (semi-)directed approach of most campaigns. I think I've been lucky in that I've played with a few DMs who are particularly good at it...

Date: 2016-08-01 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There are piles of "good on paper" ideas I like that never seem to work in practice.

I love the idea of sandbox tabletop RPGs, but they often fall into the traps of DM pushing a plot to "keep things interesting" so they aren't really sandboxes or being allowed to wander off into nothing.

Doesn't it sound great to have a game where you are emotionally involved and everyone else at the table is as well? A game where the emotion is real could be great, but it is more likely to end up an emotional horror show with rage-quits and lost friends.

I don't think this means the idea is bad, just the execution is hard. H.P. Lovecraft must have had interesting ideas if we are still talking about them, but that doesn't mean he was a good writer. I feel the same about J.R.R. Tolkien, just that his ideas have clearly had more polish over the decades.

Date: 2016-08-01 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Personally, I like most of the idea behind the horror genre, but not the way they're typically expressed in modern film: raw bloody flesh, torture scenes, women shivering in abject terror... I hate all that stuff. It makes my anxiety spike.

But that's what the genre fans like. I've met people who say that it's not a horror movie if it doesn't have an R rating.

Date: 2016-08-02 01:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lovecraft. Love the mythos, can't read his writing without my eyes glazing over. You are not alone, Ari!

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