Adam Cesare on What Makes a Horror Fan

Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen, Bone Meal Broth, and Video Night wrote a great post last week about the what gets most people into horror and the split of the horror fiction fans and the horror movie fans. Here is a sample of what he has to say:

Horror fans are a diverse bunch, but every one that I’ve ever talked to has a single commonality: their obsession started when they were young.

We may keep our eyes glued to the news sites, downloading the newest trailers and demanding up-to-the minute word on our favorite creators, but our interests always loop back around to what hooked us as kids. In this way, we’re a nostalgic bunch and I hope you’ll indulge me I wax nostalgic for a minute in this post.

Notice that I didn’t say horror movie fans. I just said horror fans, which I feel is an important distinction. Well, actually I think it should be the most unimportant distinction of all, a non-existent distinction, but sadly it is one.

Confused yet? Sorry, let me try again.

It was the movies that hooked me. Browsing the video store, I was both attracted to and terrified of the horror section. I wanted so badly to enjoy these films that I begged and bartered with my parents.They were pretty permissive and let me have what I wanted. The thing was, when I was that young, I could only take about five minutes of Halloween, and the closest I got to Freddy was errant glances at his videotape covers. So I started slow, stuck with the classic monsters. Great as they are, the films of the 1930s,’40s and ’50s didn’t quite hit the same “instant terror” nerve for me as their color counterparts.

This was how I became a monster kid, which is a term that outdates me by a few decades, but still one that’s applicable to a select group of young people today. Some would claim that it’s only applicable to those who were around for the ’50s-’70s, but to hell with that. The few, the proud: the monster kids.

Continue reading “Adam Cesare on What Makes a Horror Fan”

Guest Post: Summer of Zombie Interview with Todd Brown

The Non-Horror Reader Survey is taking part of the Summer of Zombie Blog tour. We have a Guest Interview of Horror author Todd Brown (Dead series, Zomblog). We haven’t touched much on the subject of zombies here at NHRS because while it is a sub-genre, it is a large sub-genre. Many books have built the mythos of this undead creature. Just as many, if not more, have analyzed them. Whether you love them or hate them, zombies speak to a part of the human condition. If you enjoy the interview, please check out the Facebook Page of the blog tour and check out all the other posts going on.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Summer of Zombie Interview with Todd Brown”

Year of King: Carrie

Here is the book that started it all. Carrie will always have a place in the history of the horror genre as a turning point akin to Stoker, Poe, and Lovecraft. The debate will go on, I’m sure of if it was a good thing or a bad thing. But that is more about taste, no matter how academic the reasoning. The fact is, with Carrie, King starts to add ideas not only into the horror genre, but about how to write it.

Carrie is one of the first horror novels that doesn’t rely as heavily on the traditions of Gothic literature. Yes, there are elements, but many stories up to this point use them to the point where they seem otherworldly because of the settings, themes, and characters. Carrie really brings everything into modern setting and re-imagining or re-inventing what the Gothic would be today. Carrie White’s telekinetic ability is the supernatural element, but through out the story is developed in a scientific outlook. The monster is more anti-hero than villain. Instead of a dilapidated castle, we have a rundown house. It shed the mysticism and occult that helped defined the horror genre up to this point and sought to build a foundation in the current reality the reader lived in.

With these changes, it also allowed King to heavily focus on the characters of the book. Characterization is King’s strength, and it is the characters that invoke the terror then the supernatural elements that is common in Gothic literature. From the locker room scene where the the girls attack Carrie to the encounters Carrie has with her mother, it is the interpersonal situations that build the tension of the upcoming terror of Prom Night. In fact, the story would be just as strong and just as horrific if the telekinesis was taken out and Carrie did everything by normal means.

Today, it brings up an interesting discussion: Who is this aimed toward? Back in the mid 70’s, when it was published, most likely it would be considered an adult book. Especially with the Chicago Tribune calling it “Gory and horrify,” I can’t see too many kids getting a hold of it. The truth is, it is not that gory except for the the procurement of the pig’s blood. Also, most of the characters are teenagers. So is it still an adult book? I would say it one of those books that walks the line of YA and adult. I would even say that because of the themes of bullying and social outsiders King explores, this is more of YA read, albeit towards the older range, than it is a adult read. Not only that, but it is as much a book for young women as much as, if not more so, a young men.

By no means a perfect book, Carrie does so much in just a short amount of time that will be expanded upon through out King’s career, that this “big bang” in modern horror is an essential read.

Horror Reader Level: Beginner

Start The Countdown

It’s been a while since anything has been going on here. I meant to get a post about Anthology 2011, but got busy and haven’t had a chance. But I did want to let you know that I’m getting ready to start things back up come the new year. So here are some of the things that will be coming your way:

  1. Stephen King: 2012 with be the 35th anniversary of the publication of The Shining. While that may not matter to most people, it was the first King book I read. So, as a special series, I plan to highlight some of King’s books and look at his effect on the genre of horror through his career.
  2. Forgotten Masters: Now that I have an e-reader, I have better access to a lot of authors that shaped the horror genre. Many of their books and stories have been out of print for a decades, but many of them are now in the public domain allowing publishers and sellers are making ebooks of them. It is a great time to get into the horror genre because of this.
  3. Women in Horror Month – Year 2: February is coming up and that means it is time again for Women in Horror Month. This year, I’m going to let you in on a part of what is planned. I have a number of books to choose from. Until January 20th, comment on this post if there are any that you want spotlighted from that list. The top 4 that have the most recommendations will be used. Here is the list:
    • The Book of the Damned by Tanith Lee
    • The Gentling Box by Lisa Mannetti
    • Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel
    • Threshold by Caitlin R. Kiernan
    • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    • A Twisted Ladder by Rhodi Hawk
    • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
    • Spellbent by Lucy Snyder
    • Morbid Curiosity by Deborah LeBlanc
    • Suicide Girls in the Afterlife by Gina Ranalli
    • The Keeper by Sarah Langan
    • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
    • Unwelcome Bodies by Jennifer Pelland
    • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    Pass along the word. Check Amazon if you haven’t heard of any of these books or women. Vote for the books you want to know more about.

  4. Survey Down: I’ve thought hard about this and now is not the right time to do an actual survey. I’m not giving it up completely, but there is simply not the traffic to keep it up at the present time. I hope this changes, and I will be working on the side on a revised survey. For now, the site will be more about the verb survey than the noun

And all that is just a taste for what is to come next year. Have a happy holiday season and I’ll see you all in about a month.