Do you like to be scared? We were discussing this on messenger recently and decided that if we really didn’t like to be scared we should not watch or read stories meant to scare us. Then it came up: What movie or book scared you the most?
Of course The Shining from Stephen King is right up there on top. Both the book and the original movie are tops in the scary field. My pick for recent movies that terrified me the most is The Ring. What reminded me of this is the recent release of The Rings, which appears to be a sequel to that original of a few years back. No matter how much we try it’s difficult to define why so many people enjoy being terrorized by both books and movies. I have to beg off on Psycho. I didn’t think it was all that scary, but I did like it. And there lies the rub. I like good stories that manage to intrigue and/or scare me.
What is really scary?
Today we are supposed to be frightened by Zombies. To me Zombies are disgusting, gory and tasteless (pardon the pun) but not scary. I do admit to liking the Walking Dead but that’s because the characters and their stories are so very, very good. I often have to shut my eyes during the gorier scenes. But that’s not scary.
The worst thing about my thirst for terror is it doesn’t stop with the good scary stories. The bad ones intrigue me as well. I’ve been known to read some of the dreck along with the best as long as it’s scary. You know the kind. Giant spiders, killer tomatoes, and the like. Bad writing and acting is actually sometimes fun. There’s no explaining that, because I’ll usually throw a bad book across the room, unless there’s something supernatural, or a ghost or demon involved.
Into the Past
Edgar Allan Poe is an example of an author good at scaring me so bad I feel great. In his day Poe was a writer of all genres. He is credited with inventing the detective story in Murders in the Rue Morgue. Arthur Conan Doyle fashioned some of his Sherlock Holmes tales after Poe’s earlier works. And there were Poe’s love stories, The Purloined Letter and who could forget The Raven or Anabelle Lee?
On the other hand, The Tell-tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher were so creepy they were not popular with the readers of his time. They are two of my favorites for that very reason. I get the shivers reading them.
Twisting of Poe
A few years ago I decided since my brand is sexy, dark, and gritty I would write a mystery series. I needed an idea for a theme and settled on titles twisted from Poe’s works. I could sneak in a few scenes or characters harking back to that fantastically talented writer. I began with a twist of The Purloined Letter thus The Purloined Skull was released; I went on to steal The Tell-Tale Heart by titling the next mystery The Tell-Tale Stone; This was followed by The Pit and the Pendulum my title being The Pit and the Penance; and due out in May, 2017, is The Masque of the Rising Moon twisted from The Masque of the Red Death. In the works and due out in May of 2018 is a twist on The Fall of the House of Usher with no title as yet. None of these are in any way copies of Poe’s works, just that twisted title and the ambiance in places that might remind readers of Poe. Look for them all on Amazon as ebooks or print, and let me know if you enjoy them.
Actually, all the Poe twists are set in fictional Grace County, Arkansas. The stories revolve around my experiences during the ten years I worked and wrote for The Washington County Observer. The books are fictional, as are the town, the characters, etc. But I do include some fabulous personal experiences and twist them all around into these suspenseful tales.
If you like horror, check out A Savage Grace, no connection to Poe, but set on top of the Boston Mountains in Arkansas. Demons in the Ozarks? Hmmm.
Curious about Edgar? Check here.