Detachment – David Moody Blog

October 13, 2012 - 2:52 pm 1 Comment

To get you in the mood for Hallloween, I have a guest blog from successful horror author David Moody, who talks about . . .
DETACHMENT
David Moody
How many times have you been watching a movie or reading a book and you’ve found yourself screaming at the characters to not go down a particular dark hallway, or to stay away from a certain locked room? We curse these mindless idiots who stumble around in the dark for our entertainment, almost applauding when they get their inevitable comeuppance. Countless whole franchises are built on the premise that stupid people will be killed. Without these morons there would be no chainsaw massacres in Texas, no nightmares on Elm Street, and Friday 13th would be just like any other Friday down at Camp Crystal Lake.
But you know what? I think maybe we should go a bit easier on these gullible victims, and here’s why: there’s an enormous difference between doing and watching. In the heat of the moment, if it was you with your back to the wall, maybe you’d make the same fatal decisions they do. We’re watching from a distance. We have the benefit of detachment.
Have you ever been caving? Spelunking, some folks call it. I used to love it, back in the days when I had a). spare time and b). no responsibilities. I’d think nothing of suiting up and disappearing down into a hole in the ground with a load of mates for endless hours of crawling, squeezing and climbing through the cool darkness and eerie subterranean silence.
It was only when I got home and thought about what we’d been doing, that I realised how dangerous it could have been, and it was only then – post-event – that the nerves set in.
I remember a particular occasion – I was in the middle of a party of ten or so, and we had to get through a low tunnel to get any further forward. And by low, I mean low, as in crawling on your belly to get through. And did I mention the stream? Picture the scene… (I’m six foot tall and weigh about fifteen stone, by the way): ten similar-sized blokes, facedown, crawling over rock and mud through a passage no more than a metre wide, filled with running ice-cold water, and with just a few centimetres clearance above our heads. You had no choice – once you’d started to crawl, you had to keep going. There was no way of turning back, even if you wanted to – no space to turn around, and people directly behind and in front. I can still vividly remember the frequent banging of my safety helmet on the low rock ceiling above me, and the way my battery pack would often snag and stop me moving forward. I remember the lack of light – only being able to see the soles of the boots of the guy in front of me and a little of the surrounding area, often having to keep my head down because there wasn’t even enough room to look up. I remember the discomfort at the cavern’s lowest points, when the water and low ceiling combined to leave just enough room to keep breathing and drag myself through…
At the time, it was an adrenalin rush, and getting through and out the other side was an enormous buzz. But it was only afterwards that I started to question what the hell we’d just done. I remember getting home and having nightmares about that cave. Even now, many years later, writing about it has made me feel really uneasy because, with the benefit of hindsight, I’m thinking ‘what if?’ What if I’d got stuck? What if someone else had got stuck? What if we’d all been trapped down there? Can you imagine the horror – wedged underground, lamp batteries fading, claustrophobia building, numb with cold, bodies cramped, unable to even stand up… It really doesn’t bare thinking about, and maybe that’s why your mind keeps such thoughts at bay when you’re actually in danger. Dwell on the risks and you’ll start to panic. Start to panic and you’re probably screwed.
Like I said earlier, when we’re watching a movie or reading a book, we have the benefit of detachment. We’re separated from the action and, to an extent, the real emotion. So maybe we should give the protagonists of the horror stories we love a break? They’re running on nervous energy – fight or flight, sink or swim. Mark my words, they’ll feel it later when they stop and look back at what they’ve been through. That’s if they survive, of course!

One Response to “Detachment – David Moody Blog”

  1. Chapter 29 of TRUST and an end of the week/month round-up | David Moody - author of TRUST and the HATER and AUTUMN books Says:

    […] Detachment […]

Leave a Reply