If there’s one thing new I’ve learned about myself in the past year, it’s that I love thoughtful horror movies and books. For much of the past decade, I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid the horror genre as a whole, thanks in part to the unpleasant reading experience of Dean Koontz’ The Bad Place, as well as my unconcealable hatred for films like Hostel and Saw. I have had a special fondness for Psycho and The Shining (the Kubrick film), but everyone knows those are exceptional. It wasn’t until discovering the work of director Guillermo Del Toro that I realized horror could have a deep, thoughtful, provocative component that’s sorely lacking in so many gory slashers. From there, I developed a taste for horror that’s heavy on atmosphere and dread, like the Boris Karloff anthology series Thriller (this is on Netflix, check it out!), and the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House. I’ve even learned to accept a degree of gore, like what’s found pretty frequently on The Walking Dead. As a writer, I can’t help but feel the urge to try my hand at horror of the supernatural or psychological variety.
I’m in between projects right now. My last book, A Rapturous Occasion, was a fairly traditional family chronicle (also about the fear of the Apocalypse), and I’d like to do something in a different vein. My previous book The Madness of Art: Short Stories contains a vague ghost story, and ever since writing that I’ve wanted to do more with the idea. I’ve got a few different ideas swirling around in my brain, and even have a novel I’m about 2/3 done with, but now I can’t stop thinking about writing horror. Like I said, I feel like I’m relatively new to the genre, at least when compared to some of the horror afficianados out there, so I’d like to go ahead and open up this blog to suggestions. I’ll most likely be writing short stories, so if you can recommend some writers who worked in the short form that’d be great. Movies are also helpful.
I’m already reading HP Lovecraft, and I’ve read most of Edgar Allan Poe’s work. For right now, don’t recommend Stephen King. Not that I have anything against Steve, but I don’t want my writing to seem like a knockoff of his (as so many horror writers do now), so I think it’s best if I generally avoid his work for the time being.
Feel free to write your suggestions in the comments box below–thanks!