Today we have a guest post by horror author Edward Lorn, author of Bay's End, which we reviewed earlier this year. His latest book, Dastardly Bastard, is one of the first releases from small press Red Adept Publishing and will be reviewed next Friday. Don't miss the chance to enter the giveaway Red Adept Publishing is sponsoring on the blog tour in celebration of Edward's new book.
I don't write horror because I love the genre, but because, to me, it is the only genre. What is horror, other than a delivery device of fear? Any story worth its salt, has an element of horror hidden in the wings.
Here are some examples:
Of Mice and Men tells the story of a man—George—traveling with his mentally challenged companion, Lennie. If the end of this John Steinbeck masterpiece is not horror, I don't know what the term means. If you don't know how the books ends, skip to the next paragraph because I'm about to spoil it for you. Lennie, a hulking form of a man with the mind of a child, accidently kills a young woman. George, trying to save his friend the repercussions of his actions, kills Lennie. It's an act of love, but it's also an act of murder. The themes of Steinbeck's tale and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein are astoundingly similar. Both Lennie and Frankenstein's monster were misunderstood by society. Neither one knew his own strength. These are fears we all deal with in our daily lives. The terrifying part is that we can relate.
One of the greatest tragedies ever told, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, has a kicker of an ending. Forget that these two lovebirds are mere teenagers, and focus in on the shocking conclusion. Thinking his love dead, Romeo kills himself. The reader knows Juliet isn't dead, and therein lies the fear. The tension builds, hopes soar, you're sure she will open her eyes at any moment and stop Romeo from drinking the poison, but alas, she awakens too late. Juliet kisses Romeo with the hope the poison will transfer to her, but it doesn't work. What's a girl to do? How scary must a world without Romeo be, for Juliet to stab herself in the chest? That is a horrifying concept.
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest was one of the scariest books I ever read. Nurse Ratched actually terrified me more than Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery. The book gave me that cold, all-encompassing fear when you know there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop the monster because it has complete control. Not to mention, McMurphy getting lobotomized, and then smothered to death. Still makes me shiver just thinking about it.
Don't even get me started on Frank Baum's monster-filled LSD trip, The Wizard of Oz. You have flying monkeys, mindless soldiers hell-bent on following the orders of their mistress, and a witch so murderous and cruel, she would not only like to see Dorothy dead, but her little dog, too.
I'd like to close this diatribe with an oldie, but a goodie: The Bible. Never has one single piece of literature scared so many. If you look up the meaning of the word fear, one of the definitions is “reverential awe,’ as in, the fear of God. Compounding that fact, you have nightmarish tales of being swallowed by a whale, being turned into a pillar of salt, fire and brimstone raining down to smote an entire city, betrayal, crucifixion, seven-headed beasts, and the end of the entire world as we know it. And trumpets. Nothing's scarier than trumpets.
In summation, I would challenge you to tell me one specific book, or movie, where horror is absent from the overall plot of the story. I like being right, but I love being proven wrong.a Rafflecopter giveaway