I received a comment from a fellow blogger, Nthato Morakabi, on my post last week about why I write horror. Nthato is a South African writer and a darn talented poet who shares a love for the horror genre like I do.
Besides having the coolest name of any blogger I’ve seen, Nthato is one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed my time in the blogosphere. When I resolved in 2018 to write weekly blog posts every Wednesday, I simply wanted to document my author’s journey for myself. However, you soon cross paths with others who are documenting their own journeys.
Anyway, in last week’s blog post, I mentioned the Magnificent Seven authors who influenced my horror writing. Nthato, a horror writer himself, commented:
“You have just opened up my horror-world tenfold! I didn’t even know these authors and I claim myself to be a horror writer. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend … that’s right, buying books by these authors. Thanks for this Lionel!”
“McCammon, Strand, Everson, Keene, Ketchum, Laymon, and Little are as good as I’ve ever read. I hope you get as much enjoyment from their novels as I have. Happy reading, Nthato!”
I was tempted to add Bryan Smith’s name to the Magnificent Seven, but I’m not sure if Nthato is ready for Smith’s brand of extreme horror. I know I wasn’t ready, but I’m still reading Smith and still loving every minute of it. It would be like recommending spicy Indian dish vindaloo pork to a 70-year-old man with irritable bowel syndrome. It may not kill the man, but it could ruin him for life.
Nthato’s comment did get me to thinking about what I was missing? Are there other books and other authors I’ve never read that I should? Probably.
I admit it. I’m close-minded and guilty of circling the wagons with regards to reading. I read about ten horror authors and about ten fantasy authors regularly. You only have so much time.
Another issue contributing to the limits I place on my reading (and movie-watching as well) is I love the stereotypes of horror. Give me inbred cannibal families roaming the woods of some rural Southern region, and I’m in. Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger are back … and they’re all in the same movie? To paraphrase Arthur Spooner, “Spank me hard and call me Rhonda, I’m in!” Home invasions. Lustful demons. Vengeful violence. Wrong turns. Now, we’re talking.
You can read your Oprah books, but I’d rather read about the psychopathic Roxie in Smith’s The Killing Kind or Levi Stoltzfus battling evil in Brian Keene’s Ghost Walk. When someone recommends I read a novel with two star-crossed lovers, a disease, and a happy ending, the one-sided conversation generally goes something like this:
Me: “Yeah, that sounds really awesome, but Bryan Smith just came out with another sequel to Depraved, and it’s set in a women’s prison … so that’s going to keep me from reading your book. Like ever.”
It’s the same with movies.
You can watch the Oscar-nominated Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I’m sure they’re great movies. I’ll watch the remakes and sequels of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. What about Jeepers Creepers 3? Paranormal Activity 4? Saw VII? I Spit on Your Grave 3? Yes. Yes. Yes. And hell yes.
Granted, I’ve seen more bad horror movies than good, but I still watched Zombeavers on Netflix. Seriously, how could I resist? We’re talking about zombie beavers in the woods! My review? It was better than Sharknado.
Anyway, I’ve dabbled with different horror authors. Say what you want about Amazon Kindle, it’s made trying other authors and books easier and much cheaper. But I generally rely on recommendations from my literary horror heroes.
For example, I listen to a podcast called The Horror Show with Brian Keene, who won the World Horror Grandmaster Award in 2014. If Keene advertises a book titled The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre by Jonathan Raab on his show, I’m getting that book. He actually did advertise that book on Episode 73, and I bought it with my actual hard-earned money. It was an insane whirlwind of paranoid conspiracies and cannibalistic violence. In other words, I loved it.
Even when I browse the Web, I’m drawn to headlines like “The Top 10 Inbred Movies of All Time,” which is on a favorite website of mine called Bloody Disgusting. Yes, even my favorite website domain names offer a not-so-subtle window into my mind. By the way, Deliverance was No. 1 on that list. No. 5 was Spider Baby. I just included that second one because I like the title Spider Baby.
In the end, I’m sticking to the authors and genres that I love because, like my Mom and Dad (I miss you, Dad), they never let me down.
However, I’m open to suggestions. And if the plot features zombie beavers or spider babies, I’ll probably read it.
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