As a horror author, I am constantly fascinated with what things truly frighten me. There are two different types of horror out there: the campy, sometimes funny horror that is there to make us laugh in the face of fear, and the truly creepy, gut-churning horror that gives us nightmares. Draw a line between those two extremes and pretty much all horror falls on the spectrum somewhere. I love all types, but the nightmarish ones are the more elusive of the genre.
I can name a plethora of movies that fall onto the “laughing in the face of fear” side of the line, but books have a way of sneaking up on us and causing the shivers of true horror that exemplify that other side: the darker side. When our own imaginations are asked to conjure up the visions that we’re reading, we tend to be masters at creeping ourselves out. That’s why I think that horror novels are perhaps the best example of how books can be superior to films. There’s just no way the monster on film can compete with the one I’ve conjured up in my head!
When a film tries to create a monster that terrifies us, they send their computers into overtime trying to design a monstrosity that is covered in ooze, blood, teeth, and tentacles. These monsters are fun to look at, but they don’t truly scare us. However, when I lay down in bed with a good horror book that describes the exact same type of creature, my mind goes to work instead of the film studio’s computers. My deepest, darkest fears manifest, and the monster is given new life. It’s as if my own brain has turned against me, and the book has tapped into the things that frighten me. All of the sudden my own fears are participating in the book that I’m reading, and my pulse quickens as the characters face off with the demon I’ve invented.
Think about a werewolf. Don’t allow yourself to picture a celluloid version – do the work yourself. Imagine leaving a local pharmacy after running out to fill a prescription. The shop wasn’t far from home, so you decided to walk there instead of taking the car, even though it was well past dark. The town takes on a new life at night, one that you’re not often privy to. The buzzing street lights, blaze of passing cars, and the oddly random gathering of young people whose laughter carries through the night as if they were the only ones here. A breeze catches you off guard, causing you to shiver and rub your arm. You look up and marvel at the full moon as you contemplate the stories about how hospitals are always busier on nights like this, as if some incontrovertible truth about the human condition is tied to this heavenly object shining down on us.
You notice that the laughing kids have moved far off, and there are no cars passing at the moment. The street light flickers, but you’re in no danger of being in complete darkness as the moon shines above. Your prescription rattles in its white paper bag at your side as you pass by an alley. You glance down the dark stretch that separates the buildings, and spot something moving on the ground, between two dumpsters. It could be a foot, but you’re not certain. Then comes the sound of flesh ripping, a unique noise that is wet and violent, as the foot shudders.
You’re frozen in fright, and the prescription drops from your hand as a creature reveals itself from between the dumpsters. The white paper bag hits the cement with a seemingly cacophonous explosion in the otherwise quiet night and the creature hears it. You look down at the foot on the ground and see that it is severed, with a chunk of white bone protruding from the red meat, as the creature that had been devouring it stands tall. It’s massive, with a heaving chest and long, muscular arms. Wiry fur covers it’s body, shining in the moonlight as if slick, and fresh blood is dripping from its jaw. The creature rears up, its long snout pointed at the full moon, and lets forth a deep howl as its claws tighten into fists. Then it looks back down at you and wastes no more time before running down the short expanse that separates you from it.
And there you have it. You’ve probably seen a lot of werewolves in movies, but I’d bet the one you conjured up in your own mind is far more terrifying than any of them. That’s why books will always be scarier than movies: because the reader’s imagination does all the work.
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Giveaway ends October 16, 2012 at midnight CST.
About the Author
The world of eBook publishing has allowed him to delve into the world of the written word with gusto, and the Deadlocked series is only the start of the flood of content he will begin to put out there.
He is also a podcaster, movie and music lover, owner of the Talkingship website, and long time secret writer. He decided to sit down and force himself to finally put together a story and get it into people’s hands.