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The “I” in Horror

200px-Lunar_parkMy April column for This Is Horror is now live! This month, I talk about authors of horror fiction who write themselves into their narratives. And because there is limited space in these columns, I’ve focused on two brilliant examples: Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis and the short stories of Paul Haines. Here’s a snippet to whet your appetites:

Writers of great horror don’t hold back when it comes to subject matter: nothing is off limits. Their stories go places that make readers shudder, sweat, squirm. Settings may be familiar, but somehow they are also warped. ‘Natural’ elements are inevitably of the ‘un’ or ‘super’ variety. Plots are designed to unnerve. In horror, the depths of the human psyche are dredged; dark secrets, dark fears, dark realities are unearthed, then strewn in black ink across paper. And when the tale is told, the last page turned, the best authors will leave us hoping never to meet anyone, in real life, as disturbed as the characters they’ve created. We like to pretend that such people live out there, somewhere else – that they’ll always be anonymous strangers.

You can read the rest here.

I should point out, the last few lines of this column aren’t a personal cry for help: they’re lines taken from Paul Haines’s brilliant story, ‘The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt.’ Also, as I’ve mentioned at the very very bottom of the column — and certainly worth repeating here — many thanks to Dr Ben Kooyman for sharing his insights on Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Hooper’s Midnight Movie.

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