Friday, October 2, 2009

Things I've Noticed #7: The 5 Reasons Horror Fiction Rocks

A couple weeks ago I spent almost an entire post explaining why I hated Scott Smith's The Ruins. As we have now entered October, I figured it might be a good idea to explain some things I love about Horror Fiction.

1. It's pretty much the only genre that allows you to kill off your main character - yes, I know, people die tearfully in dramas and often in action and mystery books, but for the most part, your main character is a guaranteed survivor - unless you're reading horror and then all bets are off.

2. Shorter is often better - Short Stories seem to be a natural place for Horror, I think it's easier to ramp up the tension and really get the fear going when the story is less than 50 pages. Even when I think of my favourite horror novelists, Stephen King and Richard Matheson, both of them excel at the short story.

3. It can even work when you know how it will end - case in point, I read Psycho by Robert Bloch two years ago - and even though I had seen the movie and knew the entire story, the book seriously gave me a case of the heebie jeebies.

4. Horror is not often considered literature - and sometimes that suits me just fine - I read a lot of books that are good for me, but every once in a while it is nice to just read something that has an incredibly high "Cool" factor. Also, since it is not considered literature, more people are willing to talk to you about it.

5. Horror is an emotion - so it can show up in any genre. I've read horror westerns (Track of the Cat), Horror Fantasy (Night's Master), Horror SF (The Sheep Look Up) and tonnes more. Unlike other genres, horror can easily sneak up on you anywhere - and when it mixes with comedy (my personal favourite), you get something very cool!

I think the reason I love horror is simple; I like getting an emotional reaction from the stuff I read, and really good horror can leave you a little scared for a long time.


  1. Hmm ... I agree with your points, but I tend to stay away from reading or watching horror. The only exception I've made is for Stephen King's books because some of his books feels more Fantasy than Horror. Among my favorites are the first few books in his Dark Tower series.

  2. Robert Bloch- the most underated author ever!

  3. I've actually never read anything else by Bloch - any recommendations?