So I was part of a panel event called 'Rocking with Horror': talking about horror in comics alongside Hannah Berry, Ian Culbard and David Hine; featuring HOAX composer Minute Taker; and chaired by Alex Fitch.
It really was great fun! Alex had me up first, so I spoke about how, for me, the worst horror is in the real. I referenced some of the many horror artworks that are based on real events (The Girl Next Door, The Blob, The Shining…), how they range from the very graphic, the fantastical, the psychological, through to biographical and auto-biographical. And I talked about my own comic works (The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone and HOAX Psychosis Blues) as being somewhere in the midst of all of those elements.
HOAX composer Minute Taker then performed two of the songs from the musical HOAX My Lonely Heart. It was an amazing demonstration of how he’s using loop-pedal layering to develop soundscapes that can convey the horror of schizophrenia.
David then talked about his preference for looking into the dark corners of a horror story and showing head-on, in their full glory, the monsters he found there.
Ian questioned that, and asked whether psychological suggestion was the more effective way.
And Hannah talked about her methods of employing subtlety to lead the reader unaware towards the horror: such that the innocuous can become very suddenly ‘nocuous!’
We had a short but interesting debate on these different approaches, then were far-too-soon out of time as the festival roared on with its incredibly rich programme of events.
It was a brilliant festival in every single aspect. Superbly put together with a fantastic array of talent and interest. I feel certain we’ll be seeing it raise its fine, old-stone Kendal head again next year, and many more years to come after that.