I have been into horror for as long as I can remember. I believe my love of the genre started when I was a little boy watching the creature double features with my dad on Saturday afternoons. He would often fall asleep on the couch while I was left watching things like The Thing With Two Heads all by my bad little self. It wasn’t until I was about nine, though, that I came upon the event horizon, so to speak, of my love of horror … and it caused me to become a horror writer.
There is a question that comes up quite often when I do interviews for whatever happens to be my latest novel. “What made you want to write horror?” I suppose it is an honest question. Why would someone write the horrific things that I happen to delve into? I’ve answered it quite a few times because it’s such an easy question for me to tackle. It was all because of The Shining.
When I was little, I happened to see a commercial for the latest horror movie coming out, which just happened to be Stanley Kubrick’s film. At this point in my life, just shy of ten-years-old, I had not yet read Stephen King or was even aware of him. I just happened to be transfixed by a trailer for a movie that looked utterly captivating.
After seeing the trailer a third time or so, I caught that the movie was based on a book by Stephen King. I then convinced my dad to take us to 7-11 for ice-cream. I knew 7-11 carried novels, and I knew my parents would rarely turn down my request for a book. Sure enough, there on the rack was the yellow-cover paperback of one of King’s best. I convinced my dad to buy it, and I started reading it the second I got home.
The book scared the living hell out of me, and after I finished it, I realized I wanted to do the same thing to people. Granted, nine was a young age to be reading that, something my mother agreed with years later when she finally read it, but I cannot deny its influence on my wee mind.
That book made me want to write. It made me understand the power of words, and it solidified how I looked at horror. Before then, horror was entertainment meant to delight me on a Saturday morning, one more obsession to go along with my love of the Amityville Horror house, the Loch Ness monster, and Bigfoot. I enjoyed it, and nothing more.
The Shining, however, made me want to study horror and how it worked, and it made me want to recreate those feelings in other people. Time will tell if I end up influencing someone in the same way I was influenced all those decades ago. I hope I do, but if not, I’m happy knowing I scared quite a few people with my books the same way I was scared back then. For a horror writer, there is no greater compliment.
We all have our event horizons. That point of no return that sets the course for the rest of our lives. And now that you know mine, I’d love to know what your personal event horizon is when it comes to horror. What moment or thing turned you into a fan or creator for life? If you have not hit that point yet, why do you think that is the case? You know mine. I cannot wait to hear about your’s.
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