It’s 1976 and a heatwave has hit the UK. Loo and her many siblings, including her older sister Bee whom she must share a room with, are relocated to an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in their parents’ attempt to start a new life. But strange things begin to happen on Iron Sike Farm and after a series of loud knockings from the walls and unexplainable bruises on Loo, the family are terrified of what is haunting their house.
“How would a zombie really decompose in Night of the Living Dead? Are there instances of shape shifting in nature like in The Wolfman? What is the science behind the night terrors that inspired the creation of Freddy Krueger? Is there scientific data supporting ghost detection like the tools used in Poltergeist? What is the psychological drive that compels cannibals like Hannibal Lecter?”
It’s 2019, and the horror genre can often still use disturbingly careless tactics in attempts to induce fear and shock; deformities and disabilities portrayed as monstrous traits and the severe torture and murder of women being normalised are among some of the harmful tropes. It is such a refreshing relief to pick up Laura Mauro’s Sing Your Sadness Deep and find another fresh horror writer who has found inventive ways to produce said fear and shock.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has captivated minds, young, old and eternally, since its publication in 1865. From literary spin-offs to film adaptations, its influence has been widespread. 154 years has not lessened its charm, and Titan are celebrating its longevity with an anthology, simply titled Wonderland.
The past decade has seen a spike in meta-horror, particularly in film. Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and The Cabin in the Woods all bring a comedic self-referential vibe to a genre known for its tropes. But what about books? Below, find a list of some of the best in meta-horror literature. From classics to contemporary fiction, there is something to haunt everyone. But be warned, reading this list may have consequences…
Harvey Anderson is living his life as a 26-year-old busker in New Jersey when, one day, he is seized by violent men who beat him up and ask where they can find Sally Stirling, his girlfriend of five years. Only Harvey doesn’t remember Sally. The leader of this gang, “the Spider”, reveals that Sally has the ability to wipe memories and that he has been hunting her down for nine years to take back the memories she robbed him of. A well-paced thriller-esque chase ensues: Harvey tries to hunt down the elusive Sally and find out what happened to her and his memory.
Trolls is the sequel to Stallo Spjut’s previous output, Stallo, which followed Susso Myrén and her family as they confronted the reality that trolls exist, can turn into animals, and are being fed children by humans. Excited by the prospect of reading Scandi horror with folkloric creatures for the first time, I eagerly jumped in. It is clear that the novel is a sequel, as past events are immediately alluded to and discussed briefly, yet there is a sense that the reader should already be aware of previous happenings. I hadn’t read Stallo and so I found the writer’s reluctance to lay the groundwork to ensure the sequel also read as a standalone frustrating. Your first warning: it is necessary to read the first book to ensure Trolls reads more smoothly.
It is 1816 and a nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley is staying in Geneva, Switzerland, with Lord Byron, John Polidori, her stepsister Claire Clairmont and her lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley. The group engage in a task: write a horror story. Excited, Mary begins, not knowing just how much her own story and characters will haunt her.
Rebecca Wojturska speaks to David Quantick about his recent novel, All My Colors, a book which Rebecca describes in her review as a “fast-paced genre-bending whirlwind of hilarity and horror”. They also talk about what Quantick is working on next, why comedy and horror often go together, and human suitcases. Yes, human suitcases.
All My Colors follows Todd Milstead, a wannabe writer who loves nothing more than to use his eidetic memory to quote from literature in vain showings-off to anyone willing to listen (and listen they will, as he throws parties with a lot of free booze). During one such gathering, he obnoxiously begins to quote from a book entitled All My Colors, written by Jake Turner, only no one has heard of it. Confused, as he knows every line cover-to-cover, Todd goes to his local bookstore and turns his own personal library inside-out to find this book. But he can’t. Because it doesn’t exist.