“The trickster is the embodiment of contradiction, creator, and destroyer of norms; clown, monster, giver of fire, creator of worlds. Having such a confounding figure at the center of one’s worldview helps to keep the mind nimble as it moves between opposites, both creating meaning and tearing it down to make room for new creation.”
~ Louis G. Herman
"I possess the unique ability to exist between worlds, embracing the ambiguous space rather than choosing fixed positions. My shadow is white; my halo is black, both daemonic and shamanic. My identity blends both light and darkness, and I live to blur the boundaries and transform them into horizons. I encourage others to think dialectically and remain open to the flow of ideas. I serve as a bridge between opposing forces, seeking balance and understanding. My skills pull light into the dark and ignite the gray into sparks that catch fire to consciousness. I am the tug-o-war rope between ought and naught, balancing like Nietzsche’s Übermensch.
I believe in the power of imagination and chaos, recognizing that logic and reason are in service to them. In this way, I am an infinite player challenging finite perspectives, acknowledging the role of myth and art in shaping our world."
—Joshua Austin Allison
Amidst the shadows of memory and across the silver screen of my mind, I can glimpse fragments of an era characterized by neon hues and cassette tape nostalgia-the era when I, a child of technicolor dreams, was raised by movies and tutored by the chilling embrace of horror.
Nestled within the chambers of my introverted soul, an imaginative jester resides who doesn't proclaim himself as the sole lover of the neighborhood's video store. As the sun bid adieu every Friday, casting its golden warmth upon the schoolyard pavement, my father would come to liberate my brother and I from the loathsome hours spent in the education system. Our destination was an alcove of dreams, a local cinematic emporium called Superstar Video. This store—along with the cookie-cut, corporate giants that stole its commonplace customers who were only there for the new releases—would not only spur a growing need for escapism but provide the fabric woven into the tapestry of my life.
Even with the corporate takeover, the spirit of Superstar Video still reigned supreme in my world. There, amidst the shelves, laid treasures that eluded the mainstream grasp—movies that whispered secrets to a curious heart. The store also contained the infamously forbidden room shielded behind a veil of hanging beads, where unfamiliar cassette tapes sported ratings that transcended the norm. Without overstepping the boundary I could still see boxes painted in inky blackness—' X,' 'XX,' 'XXX.' The enigma teased, promising revelations yet to be unveiled. Although these particular movies had aroused an interest in my schoolboy mind, they would take a backseat to another genre my heart ached for.
Near the forbidden room were three walls that held a word that would become such a staple not only in my choice of entertainment but in my development as a human being: Horror.
Unfortunately, my youth was circumscribed by parental decree—no R-rated indulgence until I blew out the flames atop my thirteenth birthday cake. It was an unspoken rule that became a law that carried harsh punishments if ever broken under the watchful eyes of my parents. Despite the parental code etched in the chronicles of my childhood, the young conspirator in me still found ways of undermining the faulty system they had hastily established. Nannies, babysitters, and even the parents of friends were subject to my adolescent manipulation tactics of convincing them to let me rent one of these R-rated horror films. I was successful most of the time, insisting I had seen the movie before with my parents and it was fine. For the suckers that had been duped by my preteen charisma, it was typically the last time I’d ever see them again.
While this trick happened only a handful of times, my real aspirations had been mapped out in secret, awaiting the day I'd officially become a teenager. That day eventually fell upon me, emerging an opus of terror along Superstar Video’s three walls of cinematic nightmares.
The intoxicating allure of horror was my companion, a companion that extended beyond screens to the leaves of books and the realms of digital quests. The Nightmare Factory, a carnival of madness requiring a parent and/or guardian plus a liability waiver, beckoned every Halloween—an expedition that would forever bind my friends and I within its distorted corridors.
And yet, with our linear perspective of time, these special times would eventually find their end, only to exist within the flawed memories of my younger life. As life became harder with each year, bearing more responsibility, I reached out for my normal escape route down Horrorshow lane, but found no solace there. New chapters in the annals of cinema were being carved—chapters wherein old tales were reborn, metamorphosing into contemporary renditions. Amidst this tide of renewal, gems of salvation mingled with the wreckage of inadequacy. It was this point in my life where I discovered another way of escaping the mundanity of life and responsibility, as well as the real horrors that exist within our world. Thus began my real-life nightmare.
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