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Articles Tagged “horror”
Oct 17, 2018 Blog

This essay was written by Josh Malerman and originally appeared on Unbound Worlds. Josh Malerman defines the new generation of horror writers as only he can in this inventive essay. Unbury Carol is out now, and Inspection is coming in April 2019.


Oh, poor horror, misunderstood.

Mother says you’re made up of witches and woods, brutal bloodletting, slashers in hoods. But I know better, having eaten my share, saved some for later, stashed under stairs.

Mixed ‘em and matched ‘em and made new pairs.

Mother doesn’t like you. She says you are trite! I try to convince her night after night. I beseeched her, “Dear Mother, open thy mind. Horror is no longer a word you will find so neatly packaged with stuffing and twine.”

“Leave me, dark child, with a full foamy stein.
And take your common monsters, speckled with teeth
Used so often they put me to sleep.
Take your old bones lying out in the rain
While I read something compelling and sane.”

Oh, poor horror, misunderstood.

I continued with Mother, as well as I could. My argument expanded to include books she deemed good. “Some say Jane Eyre is as much of a fright as Tanith Lee’s Dreams of Dark and Light. And some cite Melville as a man of such tales, for what could be scarier than a giant white whale? But never mind the classics, fuddy mother of mine, horror no longer grows on the vine Here, let me show you one of mine.”

Here I showed Mother Inspection of mine.

She huffed and she hawed until halfway she knew it, she lifted the book and she almost threw it, then brought it back down to the yarn on her knees, and read the second half at her ease.

“But this isn’t horror, rotten child of mine, for it has no vampires or inverted nines.”

“But Mother, you see! The word is elastic, and all us new writers are made of new plastic! We’ll write of such things, but not cause they’re gaudy, we’re interested in both the mind and the body. We thrill but we think, we’re intellectually naughty. We’re interested in both the mind and the body.”

Dear Mother then frowned and dismissed me again. But she hadn’t yet thrown the book in her hand.

“What does your kind know of the ways of the soul? Coming of age? Quality control? Leave me, braindead child, and take with you your trolls.”

Oh poor horror, misunderstood.

I took leave as she ordered but for only so long, and returned with a stack of new songs.
A tower of books, a stack of new songs.

“Horror has changed, Dear Mother it’s true, it’s not the same now as it was for you. The genre is present as the ice in your drink, it’s come up through the pipes and the sink.”

Here Mother looked to the kitchen, to the sink, and I felt I’d made progress, had got her to think.

“The genre has fled from the castles of yore and is no longer steeped in bones and gore–though we love such elements, we love them, it’s true! But did you know the color blue could be as much monster as the thing in the brew? Did you know we see monsters in even baby blue?”

“The way you talk, it’s as if you see scares everywhere.”

“That’s it! That’s right! Even over there!”

I pointed to a corner where nothing was there.

Mother shook her head and pointed, too, a long wrinkled finger and said, “You, oh you. Do you think me so vulgar to believe such a thing? That your genre might be found on a butterfly’s wing?”

“But what better place–do not make a face–for your likeness may match the pattern of lace in the curtains of this room in which we debate, or the pattern indeed of the butterfly’s mate.”

“Oh!” Mother said, shaking her head. “Leave me, gross child, and take your undead. You speak as though you’d marry Dreary and Dread.”

Oh poor horror, misunderstood.

“I’ll leave you, Dear Mother, I’ll go up to my bed. But not without repeating the things that I’ve said. For horror has risen from the graves of yore and can be found now in places never heard of before, or perhaps even the corners of this very room! A brand new monster in this very room!”

She looked to the corner and I felt I’d scored, but I’d need to describe what stood where the walls met the floor.

“Do you see it, Dear Mother? The crown of its head? Why, it’s not even a ghost, it’s not even dead. Nor is it invisible, as you’ve read of before. What stands in this room is More.”

More as a monster?” Mother laughed at me so. “But what sort of horror does More have in store?”

I crossed the room then.

“The livers are living but they still want More.
The lovers are loving but they still want More.
Mothers are presented with examples but they still want More.
Do you see, Dear Mother, we’ve made a monster of More?”

Mother seemed to consider, but did not look resigned.

“I told you,” I said, “the body and the mind.”

She set down my book, took the yarn from her lap, rose to a standing, and clapped a lone clap.

“Bedtime for me, ugly child of mine.” And she made for the staircase of antique pine.

Her opinion, I thought, as hard as the wood.

Oh poor horror, misunderstood.

But as she took the first step, and the step did shriek, she paused without turning to speak: “The way you see it, stairs could be horror. And a person who takes them, an explorer.”

She did turn then, and gave me a wink, nodded her head as if to rethink, then climbed the stairs and called over her shoulder, “Interesting child, you simmer and smolder–do all you new writers think this way? Horror in all things, every day?”

She stopped outside her bedroom up there, perhaps pondering a brand new scare.

“Yes, Dear Mother,” Dear Mother, I swore.

And she whispered, “Not bad,” before closing the door.


Photo by W A T A R I on Unsplash

Oct 28, 2015 Random Notes

The verdict is in! The scariest books have been narrowed down to just one.

We’ve enjoyed these weekly show-downs between our creepy favorites, but now that Halloween is upon us, it’s time to announce a winner!

In an extremely close final round, a modern horror masterpiece won out over a classic of the genre. Stephen King’s The Stand has beaten Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and is officially the ULTIMATE SPOOKY HALLOWEEN READ!

Will you be picking up The Stand this Halloween? Was Shirley Jackson robbed? Were there classic horror books that you think should have made it onto this bracket? Let us know what you thought of our Scary Sixteen tournament using #scarysixteen.

Congratulations to our sweepstakes winner: Jessica, from Costa Mesa, CA.  She’ll receive a Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror

Scary Sixteen - WINNER

If you’d prefer to buy from an independent bookseller, check out IndieBound to find a bookstore near you.

Oct 20, 2015 Random Notes

Welcome to Week 5 of The Scary Sixteen!  

The Penguin Random House team has come up with sixteen spine-tingling, spook-tastic contenders in four classic book categories that’ll make you sleep with the light on. Vote every week in a new round to determine the ultimate terrifying read!

Each week, there will be a drawing to see who wins a set of the Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror

Meet this week’s kickoff contenders: vote for one of each of these match-ups, and enter HERE for a chance to win the prize. Follow on social media and share your thoughts with the hashtag #scarysixteen.

WEEK 5:

The Stand vs. The Haunting of Hill House

The classic post-apocalyptic tale from the modern-day master of the macabre takes on the mother of all haunted house stories in this WINNER-TAKE-ALL battle for your nightmares.  Which creepy read deserves to be crowned the scariest of them all?



Scary Sixteen - FINAL TWO

If you haven’t read the books mentioned above, check them out here!

If you’d prefer to buy from an independent bookseller, check out IndieBound to find a bookstore near you.

Check back next week to see who’s made the cut!

Oct 13, 2015 Random Notes

Welcome to Week 4 of The Scary Sixteen!  

The Penguin Random House team has come up with sixteen spine-tingling, spook-tastic contenders in four classic book categories that’ll make you sleep with the light on. Vote every week in a new round to determine the ultimate terrifying read!

Each week, there will be a drawing to see who wins a set of the Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Kristi from Chambersburg, PA! 

Meet this week’s kickoff contenders: vote for one of each of these match-ups, and enter HERE for a chance to win the prize. Follow on social media and share your thoughts with the hashtag #scarysixteen.

WEEK 4:

The Fall of the House of Usher vs. The Haunting of Hill House

Could you survive the night in either one of these HAUNTED MANSIONS? From the ghoulish HILL HOUSE to the menacing home of USHER, both of these terrifying tales will leave you saying, “You know what, forget buying, I think I’ll just keep renting this apartment.”

Dracula vs. The Stand   What’s more terrifying — blood sucking ghouls or pandemic-inducing flus?


Scary Sixteen

If you haven’t read the books mentioned above, check them out here!

If you’d prefer to buy from an independent bookseller, check out IndieBound to find a bookstore near you.

Check back next week to see who’s made the cut!

Oct 6, 2015 Random Notes

Welcome to Week 3 of The Scary Sixteen!  

The Penguin Random House team has come up with sixteen spine-tingling, spook-tastic contenders in four classic book categories that’ll make you sleep with the light on. Vote every week in a new round to determine the ultimate terrifying read!

Each week, there will be a drawing to see who wins a set of the Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Jake from Greenwich Connecticut! 

Meet this week’s kickoff contenders: vote for one of each of these match-ups, and enter HERE for a chance to win the prize. Follow on social media and share your thoughts with the hashtag #scarysixteen.

WEEK 3:

The Road vs. The Stand

Two books set in our world, but after devastating events that have annihilated the population.  Each pits a few who cling to love and compassion against those who are driven by the darker side of human nature. Which made you consider becoming a prepper? What haunted you long after you finished reading?

Frankenstein vs. Dracula  

Mary Shelley’s scientist and his infamous monster take on Bram Stoker’s dark Count and the heroic Van Helsing. One eventually inspired Young Frankenstein and the other eventually inspired Twilight. Which original monster came the most alive for you from the pages of these classics?

The Haunting of Hill House vs. The Turn of the Screw

What’s scarier? The notorious Hill House that arouses your paranormal curiosity while gathering its powers to make unsuspecting visitors its own? OR A ghost story that needs no chains and demonic voices. A novel that creates an atmosphere of tingling suspense and unspoken horror and has been a masterpiece of the supernatural for a century.

 

Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre vs. The Fall of the House of Usher In the last round of the Worst Fears category two of horror’s biggest names face off for the right to move on to the Frightening Four – Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft, who is the true master of fear?

Scary Sixteen

If you haven’t read the books mentioned above, check them out here!

If you’d prefer to buy from an independent bookseller, check out IndieBound to find a bookstore near you.

Check back next week to see who’s made the cut!

Sep 29, 2015 Random Notes

Welcome to Week 2 of The Scary Sixteen!  

The Penguin Random House team has come up with sixteen spine-tingling, spook-tastic contenders in four classic book categories that’ll make you sleep with the light on. Vote every week in a new round to determine the ultimate terrifying read!

Each week, there will be a drawing to see who wins a set of the Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Ashley from Massillon, Ohio! 

Meet this week’s kickoff contenders: vote for one of each of these match-ups, and enter HERE for a chance to win the prize. Follow on social media and share your thoughts with the hashtag #scarysixteen.

WEEK 2:

The Ruins vs. Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: The Best of H. P. Lovecraft
 A book which will cause you to fear your garden takes on an author whose stories will haunt your dreams…It’s the book Stephen King called “the best horror novel of the new century” versus the author King hailed as “the 20th Century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”

  Haunted vs. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings In Haunted, eighteen wanna-be writers set off on a retreat but instead are trapped in an abandoned theater by a mysterious benefactor with unknown motives – the result is twenty three of the most disturbing, stomach-churning stories you’ve ever dared to read. Beating hearts, swinging pendulums and speaking ravens all haunt the definitive collection of short stories from the master of the genre–Edgar Allan Poe–in The Fall of House of Usher and Other Writings. Which collection of haunted tales make you want to sleep with the lights on?  

The Winter People vs. The Haunting of Hill House

Where’s the worst place to spend a night? In an old house in a small Vermont town with a history of ghosts, sightings, and altogether creepy occurrences over the last 100 years or the notorious Hill House that arouses your paranormal curiosity and while gathering its powers to make unsuspecting visitors its own?

   The Turn of the Screw vs. The Little Stranger   In these two novels, Henry James and Sarah Waters explore the nature of evil – and the apparently inevitable creepiness of English country estates. Which epically haunting masterpiece makes you jump at every bump in the night – the gothic classic or the 2009 Man Booker nominee?

Click the image below to see the full-size bracket, and check back next week to find out who survived the first round!

Scary Sixteen

If you haven’t read the books mentioned above, check them out here!

If you’d prefer to buy from an independent bookseller, check out IndieBound to find a bookstore near you.

Check back next week to see who’s made the cut!

Sep 22, 2015 Random Notes

What’s the best creepy read to curl up with on a chilly fall evening?  The Penguin Random House team has come up with sixteen spine-tingling, spook-tastic contenders in four classic book categories that’ll make you sleep with the light on. Vote every week in a new round to determine the ultimate terrifying read!

Each week, there will be a drawing to see who wins a set of the Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror

Let’s get started! Meet this week’s kickoff contenders: vote for one of each of these match-ups, and enter HERE for a chance to win the prize. Follow on social media and share your thoughts with the hashtag #scarysixteen.

WEEK 1: 

The Road vs. World War Z
The apocalypse in World War Z is a busy and bloody chaos — the terrifying spread of two hundred million zombies devoted to consuming all life on earth is realistically recounted for us in every gory detail. The apocalypse in The Road is barren and cold – the Pulitzer Prize winning book follows father and son as they travel through the abyss, dodging unknown perils at every turn en route to their only hope: the coast. Which post-apocalyptic tale has you running for your panic room?

The Stand vs. The Handmaid’s Tale The forces of Good and Evil clash in a world ravaged by disease in Stephen King’s massive, magnificent The Stand. In her masterpiece, The Handmaiden’s Tale, Margaret Atwood exposes a woman’s terrifying existence under a brutal totalitarian regime. Which book best imagines a horrifying future of humanity on the brink?

Frankenstein vs. Infected
What’s scarier? Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation of an anguished monster or an alien disease that turns ordinary Americans into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, their own families, and even themselves?

Dracula vs. Salem’s Lot The King of Horror takes on the king of all vampire novels – which is scarier? Vampires in small-town Maine or THE vampire in 19th Century London?  



Click the image below to see the fullsize bracket, and check back next week to find out who survived the first round!

Scary Sixteen - All Titles

If you haven’t read the books mentioned above, check them out here!

 

 

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