Evil is defined by Encarta as wickedness, or a force that has harmful effects. We all have our own takes on this word, our own fears rooted in its existence, but what fuels this malicious force? Where is it born?
Evil is a broad topic, but much of it serves as the backbone of horror. This is the struggle our characters often face, the epic and age-old battle between good and evil, existence and destruction. Whether it is the fight to save one’s self or the entire future of mankind, the final skirmish is still a passionate one wrought with peril. We all know the hero’s strength comes from the basic instinct to survive, and sometimes, it’s tinged with a bit of love or compassion-but where does evil draw its power from? How is such a thing even born?
The Natural Order: This is one of the broadest scopes I can give, but probably the most frequently used. You don’t have to be religious at all to understand this concept. To everything that exists, there is an opposite. Day has night, hot has cold, rain has sun, and so on. If there are “good” people who understand actions such as love, compassion, forgiveness, and value life, then there are darker ones to counteract those effects: ones who seek to destroy. Take away the simple understanding most of us have, that inner beacon that serves as a conscience, and you very well may face evil in its purest form. Just take a look at Dahmer and Gasey. They are some prime examples.
Fear: It’s a powerful emotion; one that drives us into acting irrationally. Think for a moment, just how far this reaches. It’s not just humans who can become violent or deadly when pressed with their back to the wall. Even an animal, when wounded or frightened, will turn feral. It doesn’t matter how much they love you, or how well they know you. In those moments, they are blinded by pain and fear. Us humans are no different. Strip mankind of their comfort, cast them into something dark and frightening, force them to confront their own mortality, and one by one, all of our own rules filter out the window.
“Fear is the little dark room where negatives are developed. ~ Michael Pritchard
Negativity: Forget, for a moment, all of the special props and effects we’ve come to rely on in the horror genre, the typical things known to breed evil. Cast aside the Ouija Boards, the spells, charms, and curses that turn men into monsters. What does that leave you with? An entire gateway seldom explored: the most common flaw hosted by man and one with the strongest capacity for evil yet.
Fear can be born out of a sense of danger, or a simple failure to understand our situation or the motives of others. Fear leads to an entire host of negative emotions. Hatred, loathing, jealousy, selfishness, anger, despair: all of these can and usually do arise. It’s easy to let hatred fester, to let it consume you from the inside out. Have you ever felt the true depths of despair? Have you experienced the moments of helplessness and hopelessness that arise from those dark depths? It would be so easy to give into that darkness, that woe-begotten way of thinking, never to return. Once consumed with our own thoughts, miseries, and fears, how often do we stop to think about others around us and how they fare?
War, famine, disease, violence, corruption, an overall lack of compassion or tolerance toward our fellow mankind: one need not look far or delve into the realm of fiction for inspiration or understanding. We breed our own horror and our own forms of evil every day.
Think of the creatures or villains who might rejoice in such circumstances. Think of a man who no longer cares about anything, including himself. Think of a place devoid of all of things that made us human to begin with or someone who has been stripped of those things one by one until nothing remained . . . for there, you just may discover where true evil is born.
~Best wishes and happy haunting!~