A couple of weeks ago I dragged my friend to the exclusive premier of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful at SXSW. This show isn’t the cable network’s desperate way of fulfilling the horror genre hole in order to compete with AMC’s Walking Dead or FX’s American Horror Story. It was special, nuanced and beautiful. In a nutshell, it was amazing.
Now, I am a self-professed horror movie fan. I’m not a fanatic but have pretty much seen all of the classics.
Penny Dreadful, while beautifully shot and produced, doesn’t hold back from showing us all the gruesomeness of bloody bodies, grotesque monsters and the filthy streets of late 19th century London that you can imagine.
So why do so many of find this genre fascinating? Is it that we all love the rush we get when something scares us?
But it goes deeper than that.
The other side of beauty is ugliness. You can’t have one without the other. Just as we seek out things of beauty, we seek out that which is ugly — even disgusting or gross. Check out some of the shots on Snapchat if you don’t believe me!
But our desire for the ugly side of life doesn’t reflect a perversion of any kind. On the contrary, it gives us a view of the beauty of real life — life that is authentic, not photo shopped, sanitized or heavily crafted.
I’m not saying we should WANT a horrific life — one that’s full of gruesomeness and gore. But our fascination with the raw, the ugly and the disgusting may actually inspire and enliven us. It shows us our world can be full of beauty in many ways.
Needless to say, I’m TOTALLY looking forward to the season premier on May 11th. Check it out, you’ll love it!