Tag Archives: horror


Writing Horror Novels by Joe Hill

I stumbled across a Joe Hill book (NOS4A2)  not that long ago and had no clue who the man was but the description of the story hooked me and I had to give it a try. About a third of the way through the story I turned to my wife and said “Boy this guy sounds like Stephen King based on his style. I wonder if it’s a pseudonym for King?”

Boy did I have egg on my face when after a few minutes on Google (and really if you want to find out facts doesn’t the big G provide data within seconds? Why are people still sharing patently false things? But that’s another post) I found out that Joe is actually the son of Mr. King. His birth name is Joseph Hillstrom King . Cool beans, now the similarity of writing styles makes sense. If you grow up around someone you’re going to internalize some of they style in speech, writing and other style.

Joe is no way a carbon copy of his dad, he has his own voice but the influence is there. And boy howdy is he good.

Everyone can learn something new no matter what their level of knowledge. I’m always learning even about the things I’m already rather expert in (not writing yet, I’m still working on that).

I saw this video on YouTube by Joe talking about writing a horror novel and it was a really enjoyable video. Very good insights from him. Give it a view if you have interest in writing horror or really anything that can draw from some of the lessons of horror regarding building dread, tension etc.


For the Love of Monsters

Classic Monsters

Monster movies or slasher movies? There seems to be only two extremes in most people’s minds when they hear the term Horror.

Personally I love all types of horror but I can only watch so many angst-ridden teens being chased by axe/knife/chainsaw wielding maniacs. Now, some of the ‘maniacs’ like Freddy Krueger and the ever undying Michael Myers or Jason might count as monsters but I tend to think of them as just uber-slashes. The main fear factor of these movies is the chase and how artfully or grossly the hapless victims can be slain.

The birth of the slasher genre is often accredited to Halloween in 1978. but c’mon anyone who has ever looked askance at their shower curtain knows that the slasher genre started in 1960 with Alfred Hitchcock’s, Psycho. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of the genre but it really doesn’t hold a place of love and fuzzy happiness in my heart like monster movies.

I’ve loved my monsters my entire life. I cut my teeth on Saturday morning horror movies when I was a kid in Philadelphia.

The  Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the classics that I think of when I think monster movie.
You can also lump in Godzilla, King Kong, Zombies, Vampires (Dracula and the like – but please, not Twilight *shudder*) and of course the Mummy into the monster category.

Notice that I tend to think ‘classic monsters’. Monsters still abound in modern cinema. Who could doubt that Jaws or Cujo were monsters?
Heck you can even make the argument that ghost stories are monster tales with the spectral creature acting as monster. My wife is terrified by the rage spirit in Ju-on and I quite agree that she’s very unsettling.

Some monsters are just a fun romp. Pacific Rim, while not a great movie was a great monster romp. Not at all scary but fun. Most giant monsters tend to be less scary than plain old exciting to watch. Try to tell me you don’t want to stomp through a miniature Tokyo in a Godzilla costume.

When well done, monsters can be terrifying. When I saw Alien back in 1979 it was sci-fi blended with gothic horror and it was terrifying. Jaws prompted every kid in my high school to run out and catch and kill sharks – for revenge.

Classic monsters like Dracula and the Mummy are perfect examples of monsters who can be brooding and build tension and terror in the viewer.  I think monster movies should build tension and dread before slapping you in the face with the scary monster. You should be worried about every shadow the hero passes, every creak in the haunted house. When that monster finally appears you should have such a dire image in your head that it takes all your will power to peek between your fingers to see just how horrid it really is. Slashers can’t do that in my book, they just have you on edge waiting for the jump scare when they pop out and stab/bludgeon/choke/etc. someone.

I think in future posts I’m going to visit some of my favorite monsters and  figure out why they intrigue me and why they should intrigue you.

So, what do you think? Monsters or Slashers? Both? Neither?   I would love to hear your comments as to what you consider the best horror material



Deep One Rising


#picturefiction #flashfiction

The surf pounded in the distance as Jenna and Bill crested the hill. A low mist obscured the boundary between sky and Earth. The day was chilly but that  would ensure they were alone for a romantic walk on the beach.
A shape, indistinct in the mist and spray, surfaced and began to move onto the rocky shore.

Surely a surfer or swimmer; but who would be out on such a cold autumn morning in surf so cold and with visibility near zero?
The form moved ashore and a swirl of mist revealed its misshapen limbs. Hands like paddles and legs shaped like those of a hoofed beast. The creature’s head was spongy with yellow-white nodules that roved across its entire surface. The nodules appeared like soft pustules. They roamed as if attempting to spread their corruption across the mass of the head.

Jenna gasped. The nodules stopped their roving and shifted to the front of the beast to face the gape mouthed humans. Bill shuddered, the milky, egg shaped nodules were the thing’s eyes.

A slit formed in the thing’s head beneath the clustered eyes. The gash opened to reveal a slime filled maw from which a trumpeting note emerged.

A thousand other spongy heads surfaced in the ocean and Jenna began to scream.