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Horror Writers

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Horror Writers

Cindy Tse, Staff Writer

A horror story can be appreciated at any time of year. They are both timeless and exciting, offering a way for readers to lose themselves in thrilling situations with protagonists who are often as ordinary as can be. But while the horror story template seems pretty set at this point, there are authors both old and new that challenge the typical monsters and mayhem that is commonly attributed to the genre.

Edgar Allan Poe

Perhaps the most recognizable name in horror literature, Edgar Allan Poe was both an author and a poet who touched on the darker aspects of life. During his life, he struggled financially and emotionally, often going through periods of depression, especially after the death of his wife. Much praise was given to his short stories, which often covered dark and unsettling topics. “The Black Cat”, for example details the descent into madness of an alcoholic, culminating in the murder of his wife and his capture after his pet cat alerts the authorities. Poe’s poetry covered similar territory. His best known poem, “The Raven”, is about a man haunted by the death of his lover and a raven that only tells him “nevermore”.

H.P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, better known as H.P. Lovecraft, is an author who is widely referenced but not widely read. His works walked the edge of horror and science fiction, often about unknown cosmic entities unsympathetic to the plights of man. The terror lay not in knowing there was something in the dark, but not knowing what it was or what it wanted. Many of Lovecraft’s stories invoked a feeling of vulnerability at possibly being at the mercy of unfeeling creatures who controlled our worlds. For example, his most famous work, “The Call of Cthulu”, describes the discovery of an otherworldly island which harbors a kraken-like creature called the Cthulu, rumored to be capable of destruction beyond imagination. Lovecraft and his creations have often been tied to occult culture, as many who read his stories feel that there is a very real though minute possibility that the dreadful gods are real.

Stephen King

Lauded as one of the best modern horror writers, Stephen King has also experienced criticism as being an entertaining but largely superficial writer who indulges a little too often into his own tropes. But there is no denying the huge influence that King has had on modern horror fiction, inspiring artists from other writers to filmmakers. Most of his best-known tales have had elements of the supernatural, such as the main character’s telekinetic powers in Carrie and the monster in IT. However, King has also proven he can write stories where the “monsters” are just people, terrifying and insane as they might be. Gerald’s Game and Misery are both examples of where the horror laid in the awful things people are capable of doing to each other. King is not only skilled in his writing, but his work is also accessible to a large audience who wants to be thrilled.

Each of these authors have had a huge impact on the horror genre because of their abilities to scare readers through unconventional methods. Whether it is fear of the unknown or just the awful things that some people are capable of, these stories show that sometimes, there are things much scarier than monsters under the bed.

Graphic courtesy of SUNLITFESTIVAL.BLOGSPOT.COM

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Horror Writers