As usual, although this is an article about taking inspiration before making things like art, prose fiction, comics etc.. I’m going to have to start by talking about something a bit different (eg: one type of horror movie and how my view of it has changed over time) for a while. As usual, there’s a good reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later in the article.
The day before I prepared the first draft of this article, I briefly found myself absolutely fascinated with a type of horror film that I usually roll my eyes at. After seeing a review on Youtube of a modern computer game that was based on the “Friday 13th” films, I temporarily became absolutely fascinated by classic 1980s/90s American slasher films. It was the kind of fascinated mood that is perfect for creative inspiration.
For about half an hour, I really wanted to see one of these films. However, when looking online for second-hand DVDs and reviews of them, I suddenly remembered why they were my least-favourite genre of horror film. They’re a bit predictable, they’re uncreative, they’re ludicrously contrived, my tastes in horror have changed etc..
To my late twentysomething self, the descriptions of the gory horrors in the DVD reviews just seemed a bit… gross. For half a second, I even caught myself thinking “Why the hell would anyone want to watch this? It’s just melodramatic death for the sake of melodramatic death?“.
Then I remembered how my immature teenage self thought that such vintage horror movies were really cool for the simple reason that I wasn’t officially “old enough” to watch them. It was a time when watching any gory horror movies that I could get hold of and reading lots of second-hand splatterpunk horror novels seemed to be a really cool act of rebellion.
Of course, now that I’m more than old enough to buy whatever ultra-gruesome horror movies I want, I find that I don’t watch them that often. If anything, most of my favourite things in the horror genre these days often tend to be in less “serious” versions of the genre (eg: comedy horror movies, knowingly silly zombie/monster movies, sci-fi horror, stylised gothic horror, the TV show “Supernatural”, classic horror-themed computer games etc..). My teenage self would probably be ashamed of me.
Yet, none of this changes the fact that I briefly felt fascinated by a type of horror movie I don’t like, of all things! But, why did this happen and what should you do if you find yourself feeling inspired by something that you normally don’t like?
I felt fascinated by a genre of horror that I don’t like for the simple reason that there was a lot of other inspirational stuff surrounding that genre….
There was nostalgia for when watching these movies seemed “rebellious”, there was the idea of horror movies being important enough to have their own “mythology” (eg: all of the various incarnations of Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers etc..), there were the wonderfully relaxing secluded locations these films are set in, there’s the fact that the horror genre used to be more popular in the past, there’s the fact that these films used to be associated with the heavy metal genre, there’s the fact that they’re something from the 1980s and 1990s etc…
All of these things made me feel inspired, but none of them were the actual films themselves.
So, if you suddenly find yourself feeling fascinated and/or creatively inspired by something that you ordinarily don’t like, then take a deeper look at why you feel this way. There’s a very good chance that you aren’t actually being inspired by the thing in question, but by either what it represents and/or the things associated with it.
Once you realise this, you’ll probably feel a bit less freaked out. Not only that, you can also take inspiration from these surrounding elements in a more focused way too.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂