The Fear Factor

A revisit to an old blog post from years passed...

As written in last week's post, my fictional viewpoint has changed to more of a focus on horror and dark fantasy. Bless you, Stephen King, for enlightening me with DUMA KEY.

I must confess, there have been other factors that have guided me this way. I have always been afraid. Afraid of things that go bump in the night, shadows on walls and even car grilles from the 1950s and 60s. The ones that come at you in the night with their glowing eyes and evil grins. 

Of course there was numerous other things that scared me, especially after watching a scary movie. There's the one particular movie I remember for my childhood which involved a violent transformation of society by a Satan-like creature. 

I don't remember the name, but do remember one particular scene where people with "disabilities" (eye glasses, wheelchair bound, etc) were being attacked by other more "perfect" people and fire (brimstone?) was everywhere. In the end, or at least at the point where I was scooted off to bed, a red figure with horns rose from the brimstone. I still remember that movie to this day...

Maybe maturity and education have changed my attitude toward  the fear factor. Or maybe it's just that in recent years I'm not so inclined toward a belief in the Bogeyman nor in the age old concept of a man in red tights. And so armed with an open mind and new ideals, I have descended into the nether realm, horror fiction.

After DUMA KEY came King's BAG OF BONES, my first horrific love story, and Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE. Nicely done, Anne.

I admit a certain fear and anxiety before my next two cutting-my-teeth novels, S.K.'s  'SALEMS LOT and PET SEMETARY. The movies totally freaked me out, couldn't finish them, but the books were another matter altogether. Maybe it's because books can be put down if they too overwhelming? 

No, I don't think that's it. Actually, for me, there's nothing like great writing. I love a good story where the author takes the time to entertain your mind and captivate your senses all at the the same time. 

Movies just can't give you what a book can.

The imagination is by far the most thrilling and provocative instrument the reader and writer possess. I was there in Jerusalem's Lot walking the streets with Ben Mears. I felt the confusion of each witless victim before they succumbed to the vampire, Kurt Barlow.

I have also found that there is a certain literary requirement to writing horror. The writer must not only tell a good scary story, but he or she must also follow the age-old traditions of writing well. Let's face it, if the Stephen Kings, Anne Rices and Dean Koontzs of the world couldn't write worth a crap, no one would read them...or would we? Would you?


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