Topic: Where's the horror?
(I originally posted this on a writing forum but wanted to get your thoughts)
So the other day I pick up an anthology that’s titled something like “Best new horror of 2009.”
The cover has a dark gargoyle/demon/angel thing on a ledge looking scary and promising me I’ll find scary in the book.
The first two stories I read were not horror. This is a problem I find too much.
One was about a school reunion that had some odd but definitely not scary doppelgangers in it. Just because Poe did a story involving Dopps doesn’t mean you can throw them in any story and its horror.
The next story involved a little girl pressured by her parents into donning a zombie costume that resembles her dead grandfather and then encouraged to get it on with her grandmother. Now just having a “zombie costume” does not make it horror. This story tried to be disturbing at least. But it tired through incest and child abuse which doesn’t inspire horror in me, more like anger.
Both of these stories were well written and the little bio at the beginning of each showed the writers had a long list of credentials. I think it was those credits that got the stories in and not the stories themselves.
Let me get to the point of this rant:
A lot of times especially with the short story, pieces get labeled horror just because they have a dark element, or a traditional monster (vampire, werewolf, etc..) This doesn’t make them horror stories. We get these stories all over the book shelf mislabeled and all due to either great writing and or the writer’s name. To me “genre” more so then any other type of fiction must have story in equal amounts to the good writing, if not more so. And that story needs to attempt to be “Spine-chilling, or blood-curdling” like the cover says.
Maybe I am just a boy in a man’s body chasing in vain those first feelings of delightful fright I felt when I was child staying up late to watch the midnight movie. But when someone says you can’t write scary for adults who know the real horrors of the world, I call BS. I want creaking doors, I want bloody disembodied heads, I want sounds coming from the cellar, and I am a reader with money to spend at the book store and or Amazon.