Ladies and gents, it’s time to give Get Jack’d a bit of a make over. I’m talking lips, eyes, cheeks…maybe even hair. That’s right, it’s about to get sexy up in here as fellow horror writer, S.A. Mckernan Gets Jack’d.
JW: Horror is given such a bad rap, by many, for being little more than a deluge of blood and viscera in an attempt to leave the reader with a distaste for humanity, sanity, or reality. But the truth is (at least from my perspective) is that there’s a beauty in horror many overlook. I always refer to the sensuality and sexuality of the Cenobites in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Here we have characters dressed in what many see as S&M garb, yet follow a leader who speaks with the eloquence and grace of a poet. As an artist, I feel very strongly about this and always strive to use my words in such a way as to convey both the beautiful and the ugly sides of the human creature.
SAM: Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Sleeper was the first piece of writing I encountered that made horror look so beautiful. His elegant writing and fascination with death intrigued me. Poe’s focus was on death, almost always. And I loved how he viewed death as peaceful and beautiful rather than hideous. The woman slumbering in her crypt lay peacefully, a part of nature. Death is a natural part of life and while heartbreaking, it’s also very beautiful. When I went to a deceased friend’s viewing and saw his corpse I knew his soul wasn’t there. His body—his shell or vessel—remained, but his soul had gone elsewhere. While his death was tragic, once I saw his body I knew he was gone onto another otherworldly adventure. The departed leave behind this colossal mystery—where does our soul go when we die? Some say heaven, others hell, Valhalla, or we’re reincarnated or simply turn to dust and we have no future in the afterlife, if that even exists.
JW: There is such beauty in peace. I think the idea of that infinate void beyond life singlehandedly strikes more fear into the hearts of men and women than anything else. Otherwise, the enterprise of religion wouldn’t be such a massive success. An overwhelming majority of our species cannot deal with the unknown…it’s also why horror is such a cathartic vehicle.
I’ve always felt, as a horror author, it is part of my job to make people question their beliefs – not mock or ridicule, but question. Is there a Heaven and Hell? Is there a God and a Devil – and are they waging a war to win over the souls of humanity? Should I be afraid of what is to come? Should I be afraid of the here and now? In the end, the conclusion I have personally drawn is that there is nothing more frightening than the human race. We are the monsters, for better or worse.
SAM: One could easily say the mystery of death and the afterlife inspired religion. Religion alone can be horrific. In ancient times, and probably in some foreign feudal nations, human’s sacrifice innocent people and animals to their imaginary friends in desperate pleas for riches or for more practical purposes such as a heavy rainfall to water their crops or fertility to produce a male heir in a strictly patriarchal society. Horror isn’t just ghouls and ghosts, or mass murders, it can be something more subtle but equally as devastating. For example, being valued entirely by your usefulness—being objectified.
JW: Religion is such a sexy topic to delve into. Nothing is more polarizing as a religious debate (except, of course, maybe a bi-partisan political throw-down); and nothing can conjure up fear faster than the idea of twisting and bending religious beliefs into something horrific. I believe one of the reasons why The Exocist was such a profoundly evocative film was because, for the first time, people were shown that there could be a power greater than the word of God. In the “Power of Christ compels you scene” we saw two priests tossing out the sacred words to no effect. To believers, viewing that film for the first time in the 70s, that had to be gloriously frightening (on a panty-painting level).
SAM: Breaking bones is something I’ve always found terrifying. You’re breaking the foundation of your body. Without bones we’re blobs of flesh and spirit. Losing a limb can be equally as devastating for some people as losing a loved one. On the opposite spectrum there’s an illuminating side of horror where we learn to appreciate what we’ve lost. A paraplegic may not have realized their longing to hike up a mountain. Or writers, imagine how devastating losing our hands would be. And yet we have so many people who overcome horrors and embrace their afflictions. So, what’s the moral behind horror stories? What do we need to learn?
JW: I’ve always found horror to be incredibly enlightening, as it is where we truly mine the depths of the human psyche and learn not only what we are capable of (on both side of the spectrum), but how resilient we are. There is also the chance to peek through the veil of corruption (be it of the human soul, the mechanisms of society/business/religion). I think that is often key to the moral – how do we, as a society, avoid the cesspool of human nature? We often glance back at Nazi Germany as a measure of society’s soul. There’s a reason for that…we don’t want it to happen again.
SAM: The dehumanization of humans is horrific and truly a tragedy. How is it we become so disconnected from each other? Cast aside our differences and beliefs and what are we but Humans who have all the same needs? We need socialization, food, water, clothing, and shelter—to be loved. And yet we cling to self-righteousness and our egos and behave as if superior to another human. Is killing an innocent being truly what ones god or faith demands? Why in some cultures is murder so revered?
Humans are easily the most complicate creature on this planet, probably the most intelligent, and yet we become so distracted with materials, wealth, and religion that we forget ourselves in the process. Every day we lose ourselves to lies, the biggest lie being that we are more than human when being human is good enough, miraculous enough.
S.A.Mckernan was born on December 21, 1987 and lived a pretty average life from there on. She grew up on a farm and most of her best-friends were animals, including a white Arabian gelding named Toby. Her passion for animals developed into a passion for drawing. She spent more time drawing and imagining fictional stories than paying attention to school work. By all means, unless it involved animals, paper, and a pencil, reality took no priority. Years later, when she needed extra credit for her English class, she discovered a passion for creative writing. The short story she wrote evolved into the Dark Fantasy/Horror novel, The Apex Predator: The Chain. For the simple and extremely important reason of maintaining complete creative control of her visions and stories, S.A.Mckernan decided to independently publish The Apex Predator on Amazon.
The Apex Predator the Chain is an intense Dark Fantasy novel with strong horror and erotic elements. With a poetic blend of the macabre and fantasy, it is both fascinating and repulsive.
S.A.Mckernan is currently working on numerous writing projects including the sequel to The Apex Predator (unofficially titled ‘Apex 2’). Along with a Fantasy novel, a couple of Eroticas, she has more synopsis and story ideas than she even knows what to do with and certainly enough work to keep her busy for the rest of her life.