Do You Prefer Yours With Blood and Gore, Or Unrelenting Creepiness?

Post by Karen Blakely

I like many types of fiction.  SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, even Horror.

A couple members of the Stonehenge Writer’s Group write some excellent horror. That’s a genre that is incredibly difficult to pull off without being cheesy or letting down your readers at the end of the story. Kudos to those who do it well!

I believe horror can be roughly divided into two main groups. The first: Grab the reader’s attention by drowning them in blood and gore. The second: Rub the reader’s nerves raw, slowly, agonizingly, with an ever-increasing application of tension — knowing something bad is about to happen, perhaps when you turn the very next page…

Okay, reading that back I guess it’s obvious which type of horror I prefer.  Not that I mind well done blood and gore. I just prefer to have it as a climax to a great story, not the main reason for the story. That’s just my preference. I know there are many who will vehemently disagree. So for this post, let’s agree to disagree. For me, the best is incredibly creepy OMG-is-it-going-to-get-me-NOW horror.

So, what do you find horrifyingly creepy? Something realistic? Ghostly? Monsterous? Something tangible, like a phone call with no one there? Or the intangible, like the glimpse of a shadow where it doesn’t belong?

Is it worse to be with a group of people and know one of them can’t be trusted?

Or is being completely and utterly alone what makes it truly creepy?

Like finding your things moved, cleaned up and put away, when no one but you has a key? Would you tell yourself you must have done it and just forgotten about it?

Or the sounds of whispered conversations in your house that stop when you enter the room, even when you’re the only one there? Would you tell yourself you’re just imagining things?

Maybe it’s a ‘love’ note from someone anonymous, who claims to have been watching you for weeks and thinks it’s nearly time for you to meet? Would you report it to the police? What if they said there’s nothing they can do?

Perhaps a sudden explosive shattering of glass from somewhere downstairs? Would you go down, alone, to check it out?

Is it worse if you’re woken from a dead sleep, barely dressed, half awake?  Would you call someone and wake them up? When it’s probably nothing…

If you glimpse, out of the corner of your eye, a shadow move past your dark bedroom doorway? Would you tell yourself that was nothing?

Or hear unexplained footsteps in the hall, right outside your door? Would you pull the covers over your head and pray it goes away?

How about a scritching sound, like fingernails would make, coming from the window you can’t see behind those closed curtains? Would you open them to see what’s out there?

I’d be interested in hearing if any of these push your creepy button. Or do you have others?

What is it about a horror story that makes you say, “That was awesome!”