Tales from KSU

Crypt Keeper

This fall, I am offering for the first time a course in digital storytelling. I have some online students and some face to face students. Since all of the activities are computer-based and shared online, I am working with the two groups together. In fact, we are collaborating with the DS106 group over at UMW.

I met Jim Groom several years ago when he gave a guest lecture at K-State and was amazed by how he turns a course into a narrative with DS106. Each semester has a storytelling theme, and this year the theme is Tales from DS106, a riff on Tales from the Crypt. This year, my students and I are joining in the fun.

Naturally, I have been pondering the horror genre and its significance. This morning I read through Stephen King’s introduction to the latest edition of his book Danse Macabre, and what he said about people who enjoy the genre is fascinating. According to King, the imaginative person who enjoys these stories “has a clearer fix on the fact of his/her fragility; the imaginative person realizes that anything can go disastrously wrong, at any time.” He says that regular folks with banal entertainment tastes suffer from what he calls “imaginative myopia.” It is the imaginative people who live lively lifes, and more bravely too, because although they more fully understand the risks of being human, they keep going anyway. To them, according to King, “horror movies are a safety valve.”

So I’ll ask you, dear readers, and especially to any students who are reading this. Where do you stand? Are you one of King’s “imaginative people” who enjoy a good horror story? What is your favorite? Do you dislike the genre? Why so? Is it possible that your conception of horror stories is narrow, and actually if you broaden the definition of horror, there are some stories that you do like? And finally, what is your favorite movie or book or comic series – what is your favorite horror story? Let’s discuss in the comments below…