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Episode 35: Meta Chat

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Oct. 2nd, 2012 | 01:08 pm

Meta Chat transcript, Episode 35

Host: elanorofcastile
Guests: kriken, xtinethepirate, Tashilover
Topic: Reading, Writing, Reacting: Horror in Fandom



Elanor: Welcome to the Metachat segment for Episode 35. Today we’re going to be talking about horror and what’s scary, and all sorts of creepy stuff for our fun October 1st episode. And I am joined here by a couple of great folks. I’m Elanor of Castile, you don’t really hear my voice a lot, I’m a little bit behind the scenes, the person behind the shadows, shall we say. And so with us today we have a couple of great folks, if you’d introduce yourselves.


Xtine: Hello, I am Xtine, my livejournal/fanfiction.net/archiveofourown handle is xtinethepirate. Fandom wise I have previously been active in terms of art and fic in Star Wars and Supernatural, currently I am mostly a lurker in Sherlock fandoms of all sorts, although I have thrown my hat in the ring a little bit in terms of fic and art for those. Er, yeah, and so that’s me.


Kriken: And this is Kriken, primarily in terms of this month’s theme my biggest fandom would be Teen Wolf, very obvious why that’s part of this particular discussion. I also, in the past, was a very big member of the Buffy fandom. I am a reader primarily, I also do some beta work, and I love to squee all over the place. [laughter]


Elanor: Awesome.


Xtine: Clean that squee up off the floor! [laughter]


Elanor: And as I said I am Elanor of Castile, I am in Teen Wolf and Supernatural, and Sherlock and a little bit of metalocalypse still. I’m mostly a lurker, sometimes I write a bit. And we are also joined, not in person, but as a write-in by the fabulous Tashilover, she is a fanfic writer, reader and occasional artist. She is in a whole bunch of fandoms, but right now she is mostly in Supernatural, Sherlock, and Cabin Pressure. And so I kind of want to toss it out, for our first question. What is scary to us? So Tashilover, she said:


“Oh gosh, what is scary to me? I honestly don’t know. Right now I’m trying to think back on movies and books that used to scare the crap out of me and pick out things that stood out. What do these things have in common with each other? Like the evil clown from It, some of the death scenes from the first Alien movie and nowadays the Slenderman. I think what I find scary is not knowing. You don’t know what your enemy is, you don’t know how to defend against them, how to fight, how to protect others. If you don’t know then what the fuck are you supposed to do? Wave a stick at them and hope for the best? It’s sort of like those moments when the character wakes up in the hospital and finds the whole place deserted, there’s blood on the walls, there’s signs of struggle but nobody’s there. That’s freaky.”


So definitely for her it is the unknown. What about you gals? What scares you?


Xtine: Well, to put my literary glasses on – and you can’t see me, I did just put my glasses on – [laughter] um I agree a lot with what Tashi’s saying, in terms of the terror versus horror distinction, with terror being the more, the sort of the psychological not knowing what’s coming, the anticipation and dread, and horror being the very physical of the body kind of squicky stuff. Yeah, I mean things like, what she says, the cut away and you can just hear the screams over the intercom, because what your imagination can nebulously formulate is much scarier than anything that could be-


Kriken: Always.


Xtine: -actually shown.


Elanor: Oh yeah.


Xtine: In person. And I think that’s what has always been the scarier parts of things for me. Like, I found the first Saw movie, for instance, a lot scarier than any of the later ones because in the later ones they really got the camera up in close on ‘let’s see how we can tear these people apart’, which wasn’t as scary as the person creating these puzzles that would, you know, harm people and destroy people. And I’m sick right now so of course I’m having flashbacks to The Stand and Captain Trips, which I always feel like whenever I get a cold and I become a big baby over it. You know the scariest part of that book for me is just, like, one chapter, and it’s only like four or five pages, but it’s just all of the, like, the infected people and the people that they meet and they have dinner with them, and then they go their separate ways, and then one goes to an airport, and flies to the West coast and it’s just like, you know that this disease is being passed on and it’s going to wipe everyone out, but it’s just seeing the sort of, the mundane way it happens and knowing that the ‘Big Evil’ is going to come and squash everything. That makes it really horrifying, or terrifying I should say to be accurate for me.


Kriken: Personally there are two things that really are sure to get me. I need there to be tension, I can know what’s coming – because we’ve been talking about not knowing – I can know what that is, if the tension is developed well then I’m going to be just as scared, I promise. [laughter] I lot of that has to do with set up and music and all of that, one of my favourite Buffy episodes was The Gentleman episode, which.


Xtine: Oh god! [surprised laughter]


Kriken: Which Joss Whedon, I don’t know if he actually got the award, but he was definitely nominated. And the entire episode, except for a few minutes at the beginning and the end, was done entirely without dialogue. The big baddies are these really tall, skinny, skeletal looking men who kind of float around. And they’ve stolen the voices of everyone in town so there’s no way to communicate. And the entire episode is just done with the actors’ facial expressions and their body language, and this wonderful score that they had, and it was so creepy.


Xtine: Yeah, the Danse Macabre I think is what’s in the background, and yeah, I mean it’s just, yeah that is the scariest episode, of Buffy, sans doubt.


Kriken: [over Xtine] I, I thi-


Xtine: And it sort of reminds me as well of Blink in Doctor Who, where you can have something that ostensibly is very mundane like statues and just the way they’re positioned and the tension that builds up around them. And the way they’re moved, that becomes absolutely horrifying, because you never see the statues move, but you know that if you close your eyes for a second they’re going to get you.


Kriken: Yeah.


Xtine: So you can’t blink. [laughter]


Kriken: I also really like when something is taken away from the characters, so like in that Buffy episode they lost their voices, again when in Teen Wolf for season two the big baddie was the Kanima and they can paralyse them. They were able to, like move their heads and talk, so it wasn’t full paralysis, but it removed a lot of their control over the situation, which is something that I personally fear. ‘Cause if I have control I can deal with it. [Elanor makes sound of agreement] That loss of control-


Elanor: Oh yeah.


Kriken: - is pretty terrifying to think about. So whenever you lose something that’s vital to you, whether it be motor control, or voice or if you lose your abilities whatever they happen to be, that ramps the tension right up.


Elanor: For sure. For me, I’m definitely of the unknown as well, because when I think about it when I read The Shining for the first time that book made me afraid of the dark again. And I was, like, 16, you know? [chuckles] I was totally good with just walkin’ around without any lights on, I would go to summer camp and just not use my flashlight. Then I read The Shining and I totally had to have the light on before I would go into the room, that sort of thing. And it was definitely the book and the creation in my head. I watched the movie or whatever and it was fine, but it wasn’t scary to me. And then too, the book House of Leaves, that was one too that was a combination of circumstance and being at summer camp and being in the dark all the time, and reading this book about exploring an oppressive darkness and it just, [appears to shudder] ughh, gave me the willies.


Xtine: Keeping on the ideas of the unknown, as well, at least in my experience, and maybe for you as well talking about you know being at summer camp and what not, is when the unknown comes out of something that should be familiar-


Elanor: Yeah.


Xtine: -pardon my horrible German, doing the Heimlich on homely (01.41.45), I think that’s one thing when I mentioned The Stand that makes it so scary that knowing that going to an airport – I travel a lot for work, that is part of my daily routine – the idea that that could be something that sets off a horrible plague that kills everybody. You know taking something that’s familiar and then wrenching it in a horrible way, that makes it suddenly scary and so you are scared to go into your own room without turning on the light. I think that that, the effect of the whole taking the familiar and completely defamiliarising in a way that still connects with people, but then makes that connection into something really terrible and frightening.


Elanor: Yeah. All these things kind of worry us, scare us, make us twitch, well why do we go looking for it then? Why do we want to read it? Why do we want to write it? Because we know it’s going to make us have to turn the lights on, feel the need to watch over our shoulders, but yet we still look for it. What is it that makes you look for it?


Kriken: I love the adrenaline rush. I mean that’s the reason why I do a lot of things, which probably isn’t a good thing. [laughter] But it really, it gets your blood pumping, it gets you thinking, and that rush of endorphins is, as you’re going through going ‘oh my god, oh my god’, and I’m- I tend to be one of those people who puts themselves in the position of the point of view of whatever it is I’m reading, or watching, and that just makes it so much better. Or worse, as the case may be.


Elanor: Yeah.


Kriken: When it comes to what I’m reading, so I love that. Yeah, so just that adrenaline rush and that endorphin rush that you get by thinking about being yourself in that position, and what would you do and actually reacting how this character is reacting. I mean you put people in these kinds of situations and how they react can be really telling. Um and it’s really fun to read how different people interpret a character’s personality based on how they would react to these types of situations.


Xtine: I probably [laughs] I don’t know if I have a good answer to that question, because my general answer is to that is that I don’t seek it out. I actively avoid it, [laughs] in most contexts. But when I do come across a good piece and I just am compelled to read it because I’ve enjoyed that person’s other works or because I see there are a lot of comments on it sometimes I have to construct elaborate framing narratives to make everything okay again. There’s this wonderful, horrible, horrible fic in the Sherlock fandom posted on one of the fic memes called The Spirit Child by velvet_mace. And it’s just. I can’t even describe it to do it justice, it’s just the single most terrifying thing I have ever read and it completely perverts the relationship between John and Sherlock into something that’s sickening and horrifying and you just can’t look away and. Ugh. I mean I was having nightmares about this fic, and like thinking it over and I couldn’t get it out of my head until I decided to construct this elaborate sort of framing narrative for the fic and make it a modern AU of the canonical The Devil’s Foot story where basically Sherlock decides the best way to find out if the residue that he found in someone’s lamp was really the poison that killed people by making them insane was to try it out himself, with John. Basically they go on this big trip and almost die. I decided this had to be a modern AU and really John was just hallucinating the whole thing, it was really okay, none of it had happened. It might defeat the purpose of horror, but that’s the best way I find for me to deal with it.


Elanor: Especially because it’s body horror. Yeah, I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s. I mean it gives me goosebumps thinking about it, because it’s really freaks-


Xtine: It’s an amazing fic, I mean -


Elanor: Oh yeah…which is… right? [replying to Xtine]


Xtine: [Unintelligible] I mean, I could not stop reading. What I said, I don’t tend to seek out that sort of body, like, horror, whereas terror, suspense, things where people explore sort of a psychological terrors, or whatever that I enjoy, I enjoy dark fic because I like seeing what characters need either to be pushed into that extreme where they become sort of the dark fic person, or how they react under those extreme circumstances. And I think that’s just- you know putting them in a pressure cooker and seeing a lot of the big emotions that we wouldn’t necessarily get from canon. But I think that’s why I seek dark fic out, but, yeah, bodily horror things just yeah, they give me the wargh, screaming heebie-jeebies so I tend, er, not to read them. [laughs]


Elanor: It’s not that I always actively seek it out, but it’s kind of that there are a couple of little things that I like to see crossovers with, so things that I’ve come to terms with about that,[laughs] like Slenderman. I can only… you know at first, the first one I read I was like ‘holy crap, what is this?’ [chuckles] And then, um, after actually doing a little research behind it, reading about how it was created off of Something Awful that it was, like, a Photoshop challenge and then they had to troll to see if they could make it into a legit urban legend, outside of the website. And so, you know, kind of having that background then I’m like, ‘oh, okay, let me see everything that someone does with this.’ Like Xtine, I have to rationalise it a little so it’s not quite as …


Xtine: Immediate.


Elanor: Imm- yeah. And from Tashi I have a really great story that she shared. [lots of chuckles] It’s a really good one.


“I’m laughing right now because I want to give a nice, eloquent, sophisticated answer, and all I can keep thinking is, ‘fuck, I don’t know’. I believe the need to tell someone about an unexplained experience is just human nature. Okay, so a few weeks ago I was taking my dog out for a nightly pee, besides my porch light the only other light source in my neighbourhood is this lone street lamp, so you can imagine it was pretty darn dark. Now I here I am, it’s 11 at night, when all of a sudden from the direction of the street lamp I hear this loud KSHANG. It sounded like something large just scraped across a piece of metal and fell to the ground. Following that strange noise this loud gulping, slurping sound immediately came after. Now my neighbourhood is home to a few stray dogs and an occasional deer, but seriously, what the fuck was that? I saw nothing, heard nothing, not even my dog reacted. I go back inside and I end up telling everyone what happened. I wasn’t scared, just terribly excited that this strange moment happened. To this day I can’t explain what I heard because I have no rational answer to give, but my god am I ever going to use that in a story one day. Now if I were told by someone that this vague noise was made by, well the neighbours playing a really loud movie, I probably would not have told my family about it, because who wants to hear about my harrowing moment of my listening to my neighbours watching a movie? [laughing from background] No one. But the story of a strange noise which may or may not have belonged to a monster? Hell yeah! So yeah, I believe it’s just human nature. We’re a very curious species and when we don’t know something we go seeking it out. Even if that something is scary as hell we’re still going to go look, because somebody has to.”


Xtine:I mean it would be sort of a boring, non-story if she was ‘oh movie’, but -


Elanor: Yeah, exactly.


Kriken: - but because of [indistinguishable as two or three people talk]?


Elanor: Exactly. Well and it’s like the first time – ‘cause it’s a sound that I’ve never heard – but the first time that I ever heard a fox scream in the background at a movie or something, I totally was like ‘what the hell was that’, you know? It really kind of made everything tense and stand up on end, and then finding out that it was a fox, you know, it was still kind of oh, you know, could have been the movie, you know, something kind of mundane, it’s an animal, while at the time it was like ‘something just got killed’, or whatever, you know. Like knowing when a rabbit screams when it dies or whatever. You know, that sort of scary bit.


So there are all these things that we kind of enjoy, or not enjoy necessarily but still feel compelled to experience, [laughter] that are things that are either actually horror/supernatural based, or that we go searching out things that are crossovers, you know Sherlock that is based in like a zombie apocalypse. That sort of thing. When you’re looking for those things do you tend to look for one over the other? When you find something in this kind of horror/supernatural genre do you tend to be finding things that are more crossovers with urban legends or the like, or actually within the fandom, say American Horror Story for example?


Kriken: Taking something like a normal cop drama and throwing zombies into the mix versus something like Teen Wolf where werewolves are part of the plot?


Elanor: Exactly.


Kriken: Okay.


Elanor: And when you find something that’s more… that gets under your skin more do you tend to find that they are AUs, or do you tend to find that they are actually from fandoms that are based on purportedly scary material?


Xtine: I think that for me the ones that really got under my skin have been the, like, the crossover fics like Lilyankh’s The Slenderman Case Files for Sherlock, or Velvet_mace’s The Spirit Child, or even - I don’t know how to pronounce her name properly - Chi-Chi-Chimera maybe, - on fanfiction.net The Most Dangerous Game in which Sherlock is a serial killer. I think those ones get under my skin more and bother me more because, even though I, when I say they’re – they’re not expected, even though, you know, I read the description and I know what to expect from it, they aren’t central to the show as a whole and how it stands. Whereas I found that when I was in Supernatural I wouldn’t really qualify it as being horror or terror even when they came across really scary stuff because that was canon, for me. So I didn’t really experience it in the same way as I do when I find like those urban legends crossed with something that doesn’t usually deal with the scary or the supernatural in that respect.


Kriken: Very much agreed. Especially reading a lot of Teen Wolf recently I keep coming across a lot of stuff about werewolves and other supernatural creatures that people are assuming that because werewolves are real these other things are going to be real. Even though they’re not strictly part of the canon you still are in a mind-set where it’s not a huge surprise. Like-


Xtine: Yeah.

Kriken: - you know pretty much how the author’s going to approach them, ‘cause they’ll probably approach it a lot like the show approaches werewolves [noise of agreement]. It’s just part of the plot. Whereas I read an amazing zombie fic that was based in the Suits fandom-


Elanor: Oh gosh!


Kriken: Er. Yeah, and I mean and it was so creepy ‘cause it was about, the city was empty and Mike didn’t know where to go so he went to Harvey’s place and ended up finding him and they hole up there for a while, just like rooting through all of the apartments until there’s nothing left and so they have to try and move and they end up going upstate. And it’s this whole adventure and I will try my best to find a link for it, but I couldn’t find it in my quick search just now. Um, but that is so much, it had such a different feel because it’s so different from the canon, and saying like you said, the serial killer trope, I read a Hikaru No Go fic which was about Shindo being this, like, remarkable serial killer and Toya is the cop who’s chasing him and it’s the back and forth that they have, and it’s- You see the characters and you can tell that their characterisation is there, and you recognise them, but they’re so different from what you’re used to.


Elanor: Yeah. Definitely more AUs and crossovers for me as well. From Tashi: “I think that really depends on the author. I’m surprised how many great writers out there can make a crossover fit so damn perfectly while I’m struggling just to write gender-bending verse. As of this moment I’m writing a crossover between Star Wars and Supernatural, but I find it easy to fit them together despite many of my reviewers having told me they thought that it wasn’t possible. They thought it’d be silly. Come on let’s face it, it is silly, but I think that’s where suspending you disbelief comes in. If you’re willing to read something that sounds so weird you’re already giving it a chance for it to be awesome. If you take it too seriously it’ll fall flat on its face even before the first sentence comes into your brain. But I still believe it comes down to the author, they see something I don’t and vice versa.”


Xtine: I find it interesting that she… I mean to me Supernatural and Star Wars naturally fit together. [laughter] You know two guys going across the galaxy in the, um, Millennium Falcon or [laughter] a [laughter] but I wrote an entire thesis on this shit, like, just give me the – so I have to look out that fic of hers. I am very intrigued now.


Elanor: And here I was going to make the comment that ‘so that does make Sam Chewbacca, right?’ [laughter]


Xtine: If I could do a Chewbacca noise I would have thrown in one there.


Elanor: But then we’d have to entertain the people that, and I’m sure they do, they ship Han and Chewie. Which-


Xtine: Rule 34.


Elanor: I was going to say, more power to them. I just don’t really want to think about Chewie like [laughter] anyway.


Xtine: [Chewbacca Noise] [laughter]

Elanor: Nicely Done.


Xtine: I have a How To Speak Wookie book, what can I say? [laughter]


Elanor: Oh man. There’s a reason I’m friends with you. [laughter]


Are there any kind favourite sorts of AUs and crossovers you guys have? Like, ones that you see that it’s kind of a scenario and you’re like ‘oh, well I’m definitely going to read that!’ um, you know?


Kriken: I almost always, no matter what fandom I’m currently reading in, I will bookmark the zombie fics. I really will. It’s just it can be taken in so many directions. It can be the silly kind-


Elanor: Uh huh.


Kriken: It can be, like the really slow build figure where the zombies are slow and really dumb, or it could be the really fast paced ones where they kind of, they move in crowds and they’re a little bit faster, they tend to, you know, find ways to track people kind of thing, so it’s almost like they’ve got a collective hive mind kind of thing. There are so many ways to do that trope, and again it could be really interesting to see how far people go. Especially when they’re confronted with a zombie of another character that they know in canon. How do they react to that?


Elanor: For sure.


Kriken: I find that very fun, and a lot of it is because of that, they’re going to see people that look like someone that they used to know, but they’re not really that person.


Elanor: Yeah. Definitely.


Xtine: Um, for me I don’t think I really have an approach of that nature. In fact I’m sort of the opposite. I mean, I get into the fandom that I’m in and then if I find a well written fic that might lead me into other things, for instance The Baker Street Record, which I have actually yet to read, but I have looked it over and it looks pretty awesome and it’s a canonical Holmes fic that crosses it with House of Leaves. Wanting to read and understand that fic is the reason I went out and bought House of Leaves [laughter] to read. So I find that well written fic in my primary fandom will lead me to secondary fandoms, versus secondary fandoms making me want to read a primary fandom fic more.


Elanor: I think for me, yeah, it’s more that within the fandom I have tropes that I will always read. Like in Sherlock I will definitely always go for serial killers. NCIS I always will go for serial killer!Tony, that one yes, 100% of the time I will read that fic no matter how good or bad it is. And, er, also, like the dystopian future or the apocalypse, any sort of thing like that. I also enjoy, obviously as I’m in Teen Wolf too, you know, creature fic. Whether someone is magically turned into a werewolf or not, or something like that. And I know that Tashi had said that she definitely goes for dystopian future as well, especially because “things where it involves the character going into the future, like the Croatoan 2014 episode in Supernatural, it’s scary to know that you fucked up so bad that everyone in the future is suffering because of you.”


So, while we’d said that we had, you know, different things that we will tend to read based on different criteria, is there anything that makes you kind of push your limits because you know that in this circumstance it’ll be okay? Do you ever find your squicks being bent in more horror/terror kind of a scenario instead of something more straight-up sensual? Like for my example is – and of course I can’t remember it and I can’t find it [laughter] – but I read Dean and Zombie! Castiel, Castiel was kept in a, I think it was Cas, it might have been Sam, I’m not 100% sure, but the person who was a zombie was not Dean and they were kept in, like, a cage in the back, or in the basement or something and he, like, he cared for them and he loved them and … yeah [laughter] there was definitely Dean/Zombie!person sex. And, you know, I was okay with it because it was framed within knowing that it was this bad, horrible things had happened, and so there were zombies, and that’s why instead of it just being straight up-


Kriken: Necrophilia.


Elanor: Necrophilia, yeah. You know. Though I have read that too, you know. So I guess I can’t say that’s a squick, but it’s a boundary that I don’t actively go out looking for, but having found it in this I was okay with it because of the scenario. Does that make sense?


Is there anything that you guys…? You guys feel that way too, [laughter]?


Xtine: You’re not looking for reassurance now?


Elanor: Yeah. I know that one thing too that I can think of that actually we kind of wrote, you and me actually, Xtine, for the big Sherlock kink meme that I don’t know that we ever posted or cleaned up or anything, but it was a, kind of a snuff fic.


Xtine: Oh, god, yes.


Elanor: Yeah. That was something that I don’t think we would ever do otherwise.


Xtine: It was a really well written prompt. I think that prompt was something like, ‘when John and Sherlock have sex the first time, you know, like, it blows John’s head off, literally’.


Elanor:Yeah.


Xtine: That is, like you’re going they have really good, oh my god, no. [laughter]


Elanor: That’s one where as the reader you know it’s coming and so it’s that dread and worry of, you know, er, it’s coming, it’s coming, when’s it going to happen? Oh my god. You know, the building suspense and worry. So-


Kriken: My squicks when it comes particularly to horror and/or terror, I don’t cross those boundaries a whole lot, my biggest one that I’m not very good at reading is major character death. Those, I just can’t get past it sometimes unless it’s the type where they come back as something else. People can still classify it as character death because still have to work that through that emotional component, when it happens, even if you know that something is going to happen again later, you still have to go through that whole emotional toil part. And it’s very rare that I will actually click on one of those with the exception of knowing that the person the person who is writing this or dealing with it has dealt with other things in a, in a good way and so you have some level of trust.


Elanor: Mmhmm, yeah.


Xtine: My bou- my squicks are becoming more and more flexible the more fanfiction that I read, it seems. And it’s, for me it’s really if I, if there’s a really good author, like you said as well, if there’s someone who I know they’ve written other things really well I’ll be willing to give it a try. And also apparently with writing, on the rare occasion that I do it, if a good prompt really sort of is like a sucker punch to the gut and I think ‘oh my god how can that be expanded upon?’ then I might be inclined to try my hand. And don’t tend to post these things that Elanor and I put together, but, l don’t really have a set boundary, I guess, in that respect. I mean I haven’t read, or thought out, or written necrophilia fic but I can see how a Dean/Zombie!Castiel in that situation would sort of frame the issue differently. So I can see how when you think you have strong, set lines, they might be more flexible than you can imagine.


Elanor: It can create new squicks too, I bet. Reading – going into a fic saying ‘okay, I’ve read this situation before’, or, ‘I think I know what I’m going into,’ you know if you went into a zombie story and then finding out that ‘oh, okay well that’s something that I am not okay with, hello’. Like when I read The Shining, and all of a sudden, well, my in real life squick, ‘okay now we have to turn the lights on before we go into the rooms’. [laughter] You know, so, so in a way, you know, it can help stretch and it can also create new boundaries of now you’re afraid of the dark. Hahaha. And you’re sixteen years old. [laughter] So, which, you know, to all of our listeners out there if you’re afraid of the dark that’s totally fine.


Kriken: You’re in good company.


Elanor: Exactly. So, um, yeah. And on that line too then, Tashi had said that she’s “in the process of finding what her squicks are, similar to how reading along the way finds new things.” So she is of that as well, and then one thing that she does stay away from, in all forms, is snuff. So she would gladly miss out on our, our creation.


Xtine: And now I’m thinking through that and wondering how far it was to being completed and postable.


Elanor: Um it was-


Xtine: Thanks. Thanks for that. [laughter] Not something I needed to revisit in my head.


Elanor: I think we were actually done with it. But we were both like ‘I don’t really want to read through it again to have to-‘


Xtine: If I recall correctly I don’t think we actually finished it, I think maybe we talked of where it was going to go and then said ‘I think I need to write some happy porn right now’. And then we did. [laughter]


Elanor: So we dealt with that by doing happy porn.


Xtine: Happy porn!


Elanor: Exactly. To make things all better. Is there any kind of, you know because some people can just go from reading some things right into, back into whatever, but I know that I have to write happy porn or if it’s a movie and I’m at home I have to pause it and watch other things in the middle. Like when I watched Paranormal Activity, I paused every, like every twenty minutes or so and watched something stupid on YouTube. [laughs] Because I was, you know, I lived in a big house alone, and the house made noises like the house in the movie made noises-


Xtine: Oh god.


Elanor: And I definitely slept with my door locked and had all sorts of, like, freakout for a while. Um, is there is anything else that you guys do to kind of, do you find the need to go to a happy place after you read it? Depending on the subject matter, or the circumstances in which you originally read something? Or do you have to, like, set yourselves up in, like a well-lit space before you [quiet laughter in the background starts] partake? [laughter] You know, which is totally legit. This meta chat might be just themed ‘Jen is trying to find validation for being the way she is’. I think that should be the subtitle. [laughter]


Xtine: Well before we watched, like mainlined American Horror Story definitely was like the middle of the afternoon and bright and sunshiny. I find that I have more of that response to movies than fanfiction, with fanfiction I only need, like, fluffy happy backup if I’m reading something really angsty and well done angst. Like Alone on the Water is that the name of that Sherlock fic where he has a brain tumour and he dies at the end? That one it actually leave me actually sobbing into Kleenex every time, then I need something happy making. But with the exception of velvet_mace’s fic I usually can just go ‘oh that was really creepy and horrible, interesting’ and move on with my day. [laughter] And it doesn’t really get under my skin to the same extent. But movies, videos yeah, I usually need it to be daylight lots of lights turned on.


Kriken: Movies and videos I need to have another person nearby.


Xtine: Oh yeah. [laughter]


Kriken: I make sure that there’s someone that I could – even if they’re not in the same room – so as soon as it’s done I’ve to someone to go share a space with. [laughter] And with fic I find I need that less but it certainly helps. I don’t bounce very well between opposite emotions when it comes to that type of thing so I can’t go directly from reading something that creeped me the hell out to something that’s light and fluffy because it’s jarring, I find.


Xtine: Okay.


Kriken: And not as comforting as it sounds like a lot of other people find. I like to sit and think about it, but I have to do that in the space of someone, someone else. [laughs]


Elanor: For sure. Yeah, I definitely am of the, er needing to look at stupid things, [laughter] watch the kittens fight with each other, but not really fight because they’re adorable little kittens and how hard can they actually fight?! That sort of thing.


Kriken: Playful sloths.


Xtine: I’ve never actually had to stop in the middle of something er Elanor, so I think you raise that to a new level.


Elanor: Yeah. Well, I and – yeah that was definitely a whole- side fact too of watching that movie- watched it Halloween night-


Kriken: Oh god.


Elanor: Trick or treaters coming, so…


Kriken: So you’re a masochist.


Elanor: Yeah. [laughter] But I was er, I had the whole set up of ‘well, this is probably actually going to be stupid and not really scary’-


Kriken: Oh noo.


Elanor: Based on- ‘cause the whole hype I was like I was so sceptical. And I watched it I’m like [nervous] “oh, okay, er, okay so I have heard that sound before fuuuuck, okay.” Um, so yeah, so I am a masochist and so then I have to atone for it with fluffy kittens. But similarly too, you know, I don’t have that reaction with fic necessarily. I think maybe the only time, well, I’m going to put a plug in here for Tashi I did have that, she wrote the great One Room Over which is a Slenderman and Cabin Pressure. And you know, kind of the, it was a really, had a great build to it and it, you know after I’d finished and it was like ‘oh, holy cow’. Then I had to, er, I had to do something to cleanse my mind especially because it was such a, you know, created the visuals like a scary movie creates.


Xtine: And the thing is all through, talking about things being jarring, I mean the fact that Cabin Pressure is almost, like, offensively happy [laughs] and humorous. I mean it’s just such light-hearted-


Elanor: Exactly, especially for -


Xtine: -created.


Elanor:- being a story around the character Martin who is-


Xtine: - the most adorably hapless person in the history of ever?


Elanor: Yes, the only way it could have been, I think it could have been, er, more terrifying is if it had been with Arthur.


Xtine: Arthur, yeah.


Elanor: Since he is pretty much a fluffy bunny. [chuckles] Different reactions to visual versus reading it is interesting. How we’ve had, we have a variety of reactions and such.


Xtine: Which is funny, for horror for me, because I find that it’s usually the other way around for other things. Like for things that are really angsty or emotional, literature fic gets me a lot more than movies. I tend to sort of have a little distance and, like, self-mocking ‘oh, ha ha, you’re upset about this, I wonder how this is going to end? Are they going to get together?’ And I sort of that have that going on in the back of my head when I’m watching a movie scene. But when I read, well, I mean you know, sometimes I come on and I’m [mimics crying] ‘I just read this fic and… and I can’t even’ and you know, so I think it’s interesting that horror strikes me differently, I don’t know if it does that to either of you.


Kriken: Oh certainly. And to transition into a different type too, art also I have a very different reaction to. ‘Cause it’s a single, a single image usually [noise of agreement] it’s just like a still frame and the way it can be done… as an example there was a piece of fanart by creaturexiii and she posted a very posted a very simple picture of Stiles just kind of sitting on top of what looks like a rooftop, very relaxed looking with a bat in his hand and a metal dog mask on.


Elanor: Ohhh yeah!


Kriken: I had such a visceral reaction to this, because it does, it comes across as sinister but the way his hand is resting on the bat is very relaxed and very open. So it’s like you are imagining what’s going through his head and how, like the confidence that this kind of brings. But that, and that image, like I immediately, ‘cause it was linked by saucery, or saucefactory on tumblr because she had written a piece of dark fic to go along with it. And I don’t think I would have enjoyed the fic as much as I did if I hadn’t seen that image first, because it had already cem- like immediately had cemented this headcanon in me, oh and it was SO good.


Elanor: Well, and I know that too I have a really visceral reaction to masks, um, certain kinds of masks depending on how much the face is covered, I cannot look at the fic. The best example is the Scarecrow in the new Batman movies, his-


Xtine: Oh god yeah.


Elanor: His scarecrow masks? I have to cover my eyes, I have to look away. Or, like it’s a thing with faces, the creature in Pan’s Labyrinth that has his eyes in his hands instead of on his face? [shuddering type sound] Ugggghhhh. [laughter]


Xtine: Yeah the creature with the eyeballs in his hands still gets me, the whole.


Kriken: See to me the creatures were fantastical to the point where they weren’t quite as scary as the humans in that movie.


Elanor: Ah, true.


Kriken: The humans-


Xtine: This is very true. They were more frightening.


Kriken and Elanor: Yeah.


Xtine: But in a different way. Yeah, too. Like I think one’s the fantastical horror versus the “oh my god people really do this.”


Elanor: Yeah, well and [someone starts to speak] oops, sorry. And yeah that’s something actually is kind of a sentence tossed around once in a while in Supernatural, I remember, about how monsters they can handle but people [shudders] ugggghhhh. The creatures not being so bad but the knowing what people can do. And truly there’s some horrible things in real life, where you know... and then into a fandom which it can be happy funtimes into scary people in there, so...


Kriken: I love that trope because you’ll see it everywhere. There are episodes like that in Buffy. There are episodes-


Elanor: Yeah.


Kriken: - like that in the X files. Where you’re anticipating something supernatural, but in the end when it turns out to be this human you’re kind of scared and you understand why, or you think you understand why leading up, but as soon as you find out that it’s not what you thought it was it like amps it up, but only at the very end. It’s so bizarre.


Elanor: Yeah.


Xtine: It was The Benders by the way.


Elanor: There we go. The Benders.


Xtine: But I agree that, yeah, having a person be responsible for some things can make things scarier, because you know it- if you don’t believe in ghosts and monsters you can rationalise it away, but people you have to believe in people. So…


Elanor: Yeah. It could be your neighbour right now next getting a large knife to come in through the wall and, oh my god they’re going to kill you. [laughter] But it’s just that nice person next door, it could never be them. [disbelieving] Uhh huh.


Kriken: Of course not.


Elanor: [laughs] Of course not. How many different interviews with people with people who knew serial killers, you know, that sort of thing?


So we’ve had all sorts of fun discussions and all sorts of fun things come up and mega thanks to Tashi for sending in her answers, bummer that she couldn’t be here with us in voice, but definitely glad to have her contributions. If you or anyone you know might be interested in one of our metachats later, or if you know of any exciting topics that we could talk about definitely drop us a line in our comments. We have comments available on our website, on our tumblr, you can tweet us back at twitter, on Livejournal, anywhere you can find us you can definitely drop us a line.


So thanks to our participants, Xtine and Kriken, thanks for coming, I’m Elanorofcastile, and I hope you guys enjoyed, thanks a lot. Bye!



Transcribed by: angelbabe_cj

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