The 8 Scariest Short Horror Films Online

I am going to take a short sabbatical from writing until March.  However, I don’t want to leave you all bored until then.  Fellow horror author friend, Chris Musgrave, shared this link with me and I thought you would all enjoy.

Lights Out is my favorite.  What is yours?

Why I Write Horror for Children – Neil Gaiman

This week I have been suffering from a horrible virus and the original post for today is garbage, written under the influence of a fever.  So I will save you from that pain.  Instead, here is a delightful little video of Neil Gaiman explaining why he writes horror for children.  I am starting my own venture into horror literature for children.  Many tell me that I am insane and that it is morbid to corrupt children like that.

Those people could not be further from the truth.  Scary stories for children have been around from the dawn of humanity.  Oral traditions used tales of terror as a teaching experience.  If you have ever seen the movie The Croods, the stories that the father tells his children are a perfect example of this.  His stories taught about the macabre dangers of life.  However, scary stories do something else in addition to teaching, something that most people don’t expect: they give a reader hope and strength.

Gaiman’s words and drive to write horror stories for children echo my own desires.  We want to give young readers a story to get them through the hard times in life.  To have these young readers say “This character is going through something so dismally horrible, but you know what – the character survived it.  My situation is not as bad.  I can get through this too.”

Yes, some will think that is twisted, but stop for a moment and think about the context.  Think of the horror stories that you read in the adult genre.  Do you not relate your life and situations to characters in those books?  Even if it is for the briefest moment, you do think to yourself, “wow, this main character has it so much worse than I do, and he/she is getting through it.  Maybe things are not so bad for me.”

10 Terrifying Monsters in Literature

While I am away, unplugged from the world to write my novel, you will all have to be satisfied with a video list of 10 terrifying monsters in literature.   The #1 monster is the one who shaped my obsession with these creatures of the unknown.  As a young child, I used to fear that if I walked past a mirror the Jabberwocky would reach out and pull me into the realm of his Wonderland.  The Jabberwocky’s version of Wonderland was much darker than Alice’s version in my imagination.   Needless to say that to this day I still have a little fear around mirrors…

I would like to point out that I argue #8 should be #2, just because the Wendigo has to be my favorite monster in existence and the current antagonist of my novels.  😉


The Healing of Dark Fiction

Joanna Penn, from The Creative Penn, interviewed J Thorn, author of Horror and Dark Fantasy, about the dark realm and how he thrives writing about the fear.  J Thorn’s best selling book has sold over 100,000 copies, which ranks him as a Top 100 Author in Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy.  He is a master of the craft and educated in the occult and mysticism.  The latter lends for excellent material for his numerous tomes.  He is driven by the macabre and within this interview, you can hear how passionate he is about his genre.

I always enjoy hearing how other authors feel about the darker genres.  As these genres can delve into the gore, terror, and ultimate evil, there is a serene sentiment that is echoed in the voices of all authors who dare to craft this somewhat “taboo” genre.  We all find dark fiction healing.  There is something to be said about being courageous enough to write worldly terror down on paper and share with others.  The fear of rejection, ridicule, and hatred are a few words that spring to mind.  It is something that all authors go through, but we of the dark arts probably experience it to a higher degree… well, maybe those of erotica do as well.  We push the boundaries set by social norms.  We bring into the minds of our readers thoughts and ideas and characters that could potentially scar them for life.  But once the story is out there, once it is accepted, once it is loved… It is liberating.  It is healing.

“I believe dark fiction can be healing.” – J Thorn

Without giving too many spoilers from this interview, I just wanted to point out one other thing that J and Joanna spoke about that really resonated with me:  dreams of dark fiction authors.  What are our dreams about and how do we even sleep at night?  To that, J answered “very well”, and I could not help to nod my head in agreement.  I enlightened one of my co-workers this very morning with the fact that what I write does not induce nightmares in my mind.  I truly have no fear of ghosts or monsters or cosmic evil.  What terrifies me is real life.  I recounted to her that I woke up in tears last night by a nightmare where our office moved to a riverboat on the Mississippi river in the state of the same name, we hired an employee that I was against, my boss cryogenically froze himself – alive, and another co-worker published her first novel (80,000 words, mind you) about her amazing ham and scalloped potatoes.  I was up the rest of the night with that one.  These are my darkest fears.

Now you can go ahead and laugh at me all you want, but I am serious.  Those who write in the realm of dark fiction have fears of the everyday things.  The things that are dubbed spooky and grotesque are the dreams we crave. We want our dreams to be haunted by madness and the macabre.

J Thorn hits home in this interview and I am sure if you write dark fiction, you will feel the same as well.  There is so much more that I want to discuss, but I don’t want to reveal everything within this post.  You will have to watch and experience it for yourself.

I am looking forward to what comes next from this fellow Pittsburgh native.


What’s for Dinner? Literary Horror, Cannibals, and Vampires

Joanna Penn, from the Creative Penn, interviewed Martin Lastrapes, author of Inside the Outside, about writing Literary Horror, Cannibals, and Vampires.

There is so much about this interview that I just adore.  The earliest topic that captured my attention was Lastrapes’ thoughts on where his novel, Inside the Outside, resides in the categorization of fiction:  Literature or Genre.  His pain point is one of my very own, which I wrote about on the Sarcastic Muse in a post titled Fiction is not Black and White.  The writing style of Lestrapes’ debute novel would be considered Literary, but the content is that of Genre (horror to be specific).  What a conundrum to be in!  However, Lestrapes seemlessly wraps up the discussion by stating that today you can  easily “take a crazy, far out story, but you can present it in a literary fashion”.  Thus, the categorization of fiction today falls well within that murky gray scale.

While watching this video, I sort of began to feel like Lastrapes was a male clone of myself (or would I be a female clone of him?).  His thoughts and fears of self-censorship and becoming inoculated to your story’s content are two of my biggest fears with my own work.  Lastrapes echoed the words that continually run through my mind, “if I write this, people that read it will know that I think these things”.  Self-censorship is a hard obstacle to overcome, but if one doesn’t, the writer will hinder his or her own work.  I have taken up the latest stance that if I really fear what people think goes on in my head, then I should be writing under a pseudonym — to which I am not.  I am knee deep in the realm of writing about cannibalism as well.  Hope you all have strong stomachs…

The conclusion to this interview is my favorite part.  I am not going to give away spoilers, but Penn basically asks Lastrapes the reason behind why nice people write about such dark material.  His answer was Earth-shaking, and not one concept that I had previously thought about for myself.

This interview can very well change, and potentially better, your self-perception of being an author in the realm of Dark Fiction.