The History of Horror

Sometimes, we just love to be scared. Especially this time of year, when Halloween has us ready to meet some monsters and explore that flimsy boundary between life and death. But fear is only fun when you’re not in any real danger. That’s why horror fiction is so popular and enduring. But how did this tradition start? Today, I want to take you through the history of the horror genre.

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash

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Back to School Reading List: Short Story Edition

This time of year will always make me think of getting ready to go back to school, despite the fact that I’m no longer a student. One of my favorite things about the beginning of the school year was looking over the syllabus to see what new books and stories we’d be reading in English class. Last August, I wrote up a basic primer of five Gothic novels you might find on a high school syllabus. This year, I want to do the same for short stories. If you’re heading back to school this fall, check your reading lists for these stories to see if you’re in for a treat! And if your school days are long behind you, see if you missed out on any of these great reads. It’s never too late to read a classic! Continue reading Back to School Reading List: Short Story Edition

Review of One Was Lost–YA Survival Horror

To me, a three-day camping trip in the middle of the woods sounds like a nightmare under the best of circumstances. But in One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards, Sera’s senior experience field trip takes a far more sinister turn when she and three of her classmates wake up to find that someone has drugged them, been in their tents, destroyed their things, and left ominous messages written on their skin. Just reading the premise of this book, I knew it was going to be the kind of thing to keep me up at night. Continue reading Review of One Was Lost–YA Survival Horror

Review of Hide and Seek by Splatterpunk Author Jack Ketchum

hide-and-seek-coverA couple of months ago, I met author Jack Ketchum at the Morbid Anatomy Museum where he was giving a lecture on his books and film adaptations as part of the American branch of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies lecture series. As Ketchum spoke and showed clips from his films, I realized I’d been missing out on a rather significant aspect of the horror genre. Jack Ketchum has been credited as one of the major influences in bringing elements of slasher horror from film to books, creating a genre that some have referred to as “splatterpunk.” Generally, an excess of gore is not really what I go for in my horror, but the Miskatonic Institute talk had me intrigued. I decided to pick up one of Jack Ketchum’s books. Unfortunately, none of his big-name works—Off Season, The Lost, The Girl Next Door, The Woman—were immediately available from my library. Instead I landed on the audiobook of one Ketchum’s books that has not yet been made into a movie, Hide and Seek. Continue reading Review of Hide and Seek by Splatterpunk Author Jack Ketchum

10 Literary Horror Films to Watch This Halloween

Halloween is looming closer and closer, which mean it’s time to start prepping your Netflix queue for a spooky movie marathon! Of course there are the fun classics like Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, and The Nightmare Before Christmas (which has a few literary references of its own). But if you really want to get in the mood, you might want to opt for something a bit darker. Grab some popcorn, a buddy, and nightlight because I’ve compiled a list of book-based horror films that will make you scared to close your eyes at night! Continue reading 10 Literary Horror Films to Watch This Halloween

Review of Ashwood–A Haunting Debut Horror

Ashwood CoverEvery time Willow falls asleep, she wakes up back in the twisted world of Ashwood Asylum. Her haunted dreams are the subject of Ashwood, a young adult horror novel by debut author C.J. Malarsky. I requested a copy of this book many, many months ago, shortly after it was first published in 2015. Now the book is being re-launched by Fantasy Works Publishing this week! The new paperbacks will be available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble starting on September 7, and you can even find some signed copies at Kinoyuniya NYC. The ebook will be available at Amazon, iTunes, Smashwords, Kobo, and Nook. Continue reading Review of Ashwood–A Haunting Debut Horror

Bird Box Review: From Fear of the Unseen to Fear of Seeing

Bird Box coverWhat if the most dangerous thing you could do was to look outside? This question is the premise of Bird Box, a horror novel by Josh Malerman. I’ve been on a real horror kick lately and am loving getting back in to the genre. This book in particular was such a new and unique example of the genre for me, and it reminded me just how much is out there that I haven’t read yet. Bird Box blends elements of horror, thriller, post-apocalyptic survival, and sci-fi/fantasy. It takes the fear of the unseen to a whole new level: the fear of seeing!
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Review of The Graveyard Shift–Stephen King Short Stories

Graveyard Shift coverI’ve been really trying to make good, lately, on my goal to expand my reading and get back into genres I used to enjoy. As you saw from my Bourbon Street Ripper review, I decided to start by trying my luck on a detective thriller series from an author I’d never heard of before, with mixed results. Having finished that, I was struggling to decide what direction to go in next when I remembered my general reading philosophy: when you don’t know where to start, start with the classics. Now, this usually means I go digging through my collection of literature from the Romantic or Victorian era, but a book doesn’t need to be centuries old to be a classic! Some authors become classics in their own time, like the father of contemporary horror and suspense, Stephen King.

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I really haven’t read much Stephen King before. I decided the easiest way to start would be with a collection of his short stories. So while doing menial tasks at work last week, I downloaded and listened to the audiobook of The Graveyard Shift which seems to be a small made-for-audio selection from King’s larger short story collection Night Shift, read by John Glover. The audiobook contains five of King’s short stories that showcase the versatility of his writing and the range of emotions he can evoke in the reader. Here are my impressions of each story: Continue reading Review of The Graveyard Shift–Stephen King Short Stories

Horror vs. Terror and the Gender Divide in Gothic Literature

Horror. Terror. They’re synonyms, right? Actually, they’re similar, but their meanings are slightly different, especially in the world of Gothic literature. In fact the terms represent two different schools of thought that early writers of Gothic literature divided themselves along. And at the beginning, this division occurred loosely along gender lines, as Matthew Lewis and Ann Radcliffe were held up as the representatives of each camp.

Radcliffe and Lewis
Ann Radcliffe (Terror) and Mattlew Lewis (Horror)

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Winner of the ALL Hallow’s Read Giveaway

Overbite giveaway prize copyCongratulations to Stephanie on winning the All Hallow’s Read giveaway! Stephanie, who has been contacted by email, will be the proud new owner of the humor/horror anthology Blood Lite II: Overbite, edited by Kevin J. Anderson.

Thank you to everyone who entered! I hope you all have a wonderful and spooky Halloween! And maybe this year, consider giving out some books with your candy in honor of Neil Gaiman’s brilliant tradition.

If you enjoyed this giveaway, be sure to let me know. And tell me what kind of books you’d like to see given away on this site in the future!