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Horror/Scary: September 26, 2018 Issue [#9138]

 This week: Psychological Horror Or Graphic Horror?
  Edited by: Fangus
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

What frightens you more? Knowing your fear, or your fear of the unknown?

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

~H.P. Lovecraft~

"The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn't real. I know that, and I also know that if I'm careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle."

~Stephen King~

Word from our sponsor

Letter from the editor

'Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror and psychological fiction that relies on mental, emotional and psychological states to frighten, disturb, or unsettle readers, viewers, or players.'

I was introduced to horror at a relatively young age. My 'sweet' oldest sister took me to see the movie Jaws when I just ten years old (15 years younger than she was), and it had quite an impact on my life. Just like Stephen King’s quote above, for the next six months I was scared to death to put my foot over the edge of my bed because I was certain there was a shark down there just waiting to gobble me up.


So you’re probably asking why would a kid who was so traumatized at that tender age grow up and want to write horror. The answers are 1: I love to write. 2: I like to scare people. And 3: a friend loaned me the first horror novel I ever read, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.

I first started writing horror about 15 years ago, and many of my early stories had blood, guts, and gore (BG & G) in them. Having watched movies like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, and Friday the 13th (to name just a few), I thought that’s what people liked. Sick as I am/was, it was I liked, anyway. But I’ve grown some as a writer, and in the last few years I’ve realized that there’s a lot more to horror than just BG & G.

Let’s get back to Jaws. In the opening scene we don’t see the shark (nicknamed ‘Bruce’ after Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Ramer), and we also don’t see any BG & G. Instead we just see a young woman skinny-dipping in the ocean (and a couple of quick underwater shots of her legs as she treads water). It's a warm, peaceful night, the water is calm, and then all of a sudden something begins tugging on her leg! Of course we all know what this something is, but the scene plays on the fears of our imaginations.

I recently watched a documentary about the making of Jaws. Other than Peter Benchley’s novel, the movie’s director didn’t have much of a complete screenplay to work with, and building a realistic mechanical shark that big didn’t seem possible at that time. To say Steven Spielberg was making this blockbuster film by the seat-of-his-pants would not be an overstatement.

In the early parts of the movie the audience only sees the dorsal fin along with the shark’s view as he scopes out his next victim, which again plays with our imaginations. Spielberg said years later, “The film went from a Japanese Saturday matinee horror flick to more of a Hitchcock, the less-you-see-the-more-you-get-thriller.”

And of course, who can forget John William’s suspenseful musical score? That simple theme is probably the most recognizable two notes in the history of horror!

There were a lot black and white B movies in the 40s and 50’s that didn’t show BG & G too, but that was because special effects weren’t nearly as sophisticated as they are now. Back then they’d show a giant scorpion or a killer octopus pick somebody up in their pincers or tentacles, but just as the victim was about to be devoured or ripped to pieces, the camera would pan to the horrified witnesses with their hands over their mouths as they watched the carnage unfold before them.

Don't get me wrong; I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with BG & G, but it’s not for everybody. In fact, it could have a detrimental effect on your writing to the point where people don’t even want to read your stories. Trust me on this! I know!

So my advice, for what it's worth, would be to use it sparingly. Or not.

Besides, psychological horror can be just as frightening, if not more so, than simply splashing blood and guts all over the pages! Or writing about somebody's head exploding. Or...oops. Sorry. *Smirk2*

Oh, and before I leave, I want to mention the new rage of graphic horror comics (and I do mean graphic). There’s a lot of very talented writers and artists out there who deserve some attention. You might be able to find some of these in your local library, but if not, here’s a link to a few of them:


Until next time, SCREAM on, my friends!

Editor's Picks

Siderodromophobia  (13+)
A trip through your phobia's
#2154693 by L.A. Grawitch

 The Hollow Keys  (18+)
Lief is sent to a monastery by his writing group to find the key to his writer's block.
#1824064 by Early

Tools  (XGC)
In what creative ways can you use a tool?
#2082447 by Shaye

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#2142760 by Not Available.

The Scarecrow Whispers  (18+)
Created for the Third Annual "Screams" Halloween Contest. Prompts: Scarecrow, Witch, Mask
#2137668 by J. Robert Kane

The Little Arsonist  (18+)
A horrifying take on an old nursery rhyme. 2018 Quill Honourable Mention.
#2149355 by Jayne

The Imperial Motor Court  (18+)
Has the ghost of Gibson Crumb returned to the trailer park?
#2157258 by James Heyward

Advice from a Friend  (13+)
One drink turns a woman's night from a fun outing to a struggle to survive.
#2113343 by Cat Voleur

The Monster Detector  (18+)
She laughed at Robert's invention -- at first. 1st Place Screams Halloween Contest Oct.'15
#2063036 by Regrettableink

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