Why Do We Like Violence in Our Horror?
One classic debate is always what makes a good horror story. Some tales focus almost entirely on the psyche, while others are gruesome bloodbaths with more guts than plot. Then, there are horror tales that seem to strike a balance between wit and gore.
Today I'll explore why it is some of us might enjoy a little violence in our horror, or anything for that matter, whether it's an action flick or even a video game.
For the Fun of Fear:
Let's start with one we all know:
Stephen King stayed in Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, which inspired the "Overlook Hotel" from The Shining and quite a bit of the story itself.
King recounted, "That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. . . I got up, lit a cigarette . . . and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind."
Recently, other guests reported oddities and apparitions around the hotel--all too similar to King's stories.
This one comes from Wear Year a while back--2010. It's a quick flash fiction piece about a bloodlusting man named Garret and his search for "normality."
Originally published by Weird Year, September 2010.
With the blade already slicing through the skin of her throat, all he could whisper was, “I love you.”
Read "No-Injury Policy" for free!
the free fridays
#2 April 15th
#3 April 22nd
"Day and Night"
I travel the flooded streets of this town with Jenn at my side, window-shopping in front of bakeries, pawnshops, and jewelry shops. The jewelry stores usually capture her attention, and consequently mine, but we both know it’s beyond our reach. For the most part, we can’t even afford the pawned off jewelry. But this evening feels different than the rest and closer to being reality.
This is the evening that I had a little to spare, so we bypass the bakeries and pawnshops. Instead, we enter the real deal: Ralph’s Jewelers, home of unique cut diamonds rings and pearl necklaces. Despite their commercial claim, they are almost the same as the other pawnshops, but there’s prestige to a jeweler, right?
A sterling silver anniversary pendant necklace is the item of desire, whether or not she knows it. I think it would be something nice for a change.
Soon, I find the necklace in my hand and I’m reading the inscription. I can’t make out the words. Even though they say you can’t feel physical pain in dreams, there’s not much written against real emotions.
“It’s beautiful,” Jen says before I notice the police officer in the far corner eyeballing his gun. Nothing seems suspicious about that, for some reason.
“Down!” the cop shouts, and in a retrospective slow-motion, I recall everyone slowly dropping down to their knees; hands over heads.
But not Jen. Not at first. Her instinct involved bravery. I flashback to the day I forgot about the grill.
Flames soared high, and the lovely fire department’s phone lines are unresponsive. “All circuits are busy,” that mysterious voice said to me. Really, the fire department?
To my surprise, Jen rushes out into the yard, ABC extinguisher in hand. Probably not the best technique, but she fights every flame to its dim death.
And now she wants to save everyone in the jewelry store. Some madman dressed as a cop waves his gun, and all at once, she forgets about everything else, even the closest person to her. And I do not mean me.
Calling the excerpt longer is a bit of an understatement--it's the entire prologue. There are some fun behind-the-scenes facts about the prologue, but perhaps that is a story I will tell some other day. For now, please enjoy the new, longer snippet from Excluded:
Copyright © 2012 - 2016 C.M. Humphries
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
Raven's Crook, Chase County
I’ve done no wrong, Liddell thought. Simply justice.
The boy was an oppressor and needed to be shown his place. Liddell couldn’t take it anymore; all the pushing, shoving, and stealing. The boy never left him alone. Liddell had a small stature, yet that was not the reason the boy picked on him. It was because his last name was Douglas. In Chase County, the name Douglas represented two things: power and fear. The boy had to prove himself every day at school in front of the other kids. “But now look at you,” Liddell said to the lifeless body.
Along the edge of the knife was the blood of his enemy. Liddell was warmed by a newfound sense of pride. He ripped the sleeve off of the boy’s shirt. Cloth in hand, he wiped the blood off of the knife. He enjoyed the majestic imagery of the knife coming clean by way of cloth and rain.
He looked towards the sky. In the near distance, sunlight broke through the dark cloud cover. He smiled. Liddell took one last glance at the boy before placing the knife in his jacket pocket. He sighed and then headed for home.
While Liddell wanted to be feared, there was always someone that made him timid. He feared not making it home in time before his father. Right after he tucked his father’s collector’s knife into his pocket, he sprinted off in the direction of his miserable home. Please, let him be at work. I can’t do this again. However, he knew his thoughts would never do him much good.
There was an off-chance that Liddell’s mother, Linda, would already be at home, but that didn’t really matter. She was the most absentminded woman he had ever known during his young life. She would be oblivious to whatever Liddell would do. Sometimes he wished Linda would pay more attention to him. Maybe, he would have never lost his mind if not for her lack of care. It was doubtful.
Hope she’s not home when he is, he thought. Not again, at least.
He lifted up his jacket sleeve and glanced down at his watch. Daddy dearest always followed a similar routine after work. He estimated Richard would be home in twenty minutes.
Liddell had a half-hour walk.
The comment simply informed me another website mentioned the post in an effort to define transgressive fiction as a genre. My first thought, which probably stemmed from that underlying vanity, was "That's kind of cool," but by the time I finished reading the blog post, I wasn't too sure.
The way the author defined transgressive fiction wasn't 100% inaccurate, but it focused heavily on ideas such as "pedophilia, incest, sadomasochism which leads to death," and never once touched on the subjects of "self-identity, inner-peace, or personal freedom."
MORE TO READ & MORE WAYS TO READ IT.
"And the zombies starved"
A zombie craze that sweeps over the nation, and one man can't stand it anymore.
Back then, the police were overzealous and overabundant, and they didn’t care how or why your wife was unconscious in your bedroom. If you’d hurt her, the police would hurt you. So I ran.
STILL TO COME:
- The shop is in the works. Right now, only the signed edition of No-Injury Policy is available until I can come up with a more user-friendly system for this style of website.
- I'm in the works with a new emailing system. So for those of you who have subscribed to the website, you should see one of the first emails before long (no frets, I don't send many). In that email should be a code to unlock more content on the site. Or something like that. Like I said, it's in the works.
- Updates will be added below to this post.
Thanks for reading!
When Life Gives You Lemons, Write a Book or a Song, or Film a Movie or Something!
Creative types have not only battled with stalemates such as writer's block, they have also often gone to war with the likes of depression and anxiety--Hunter S. Thompson and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to name a couple.
While on paper this sounds like a terrible thing, often a good wallop or depression--or even boredom--can be all the creative mind needs. Read 8 ways to make the most of your blues & creativity.
The Winter Blues
This blog entry is not about the differences between Seasonal Affective, various Anxiety, and Depressive Disorders. However, to briefly recap I think the following depression/anxiety meme does a nice job. And while SAD is generally a type of depression, many people who experience anxiety and depressive episodes know there are certain times of the year when things get worse. For some us, it's particularly winter like those who would fall into the SAD group (a ridiculous acronym I might add).
If you're still reading at this point (first, thank you) then you can probably relate to some of the words on your screen. Don't worry, this isn't a sappy article about depression; instead, it's 6 ideas I've put together to help get through the hellish months of winter.
Maybe you don't fit into any of the aforementioned but are just feeling the winter blues. Well then-- this is still for you. Read on.
Free Stories Rock, Right?
There's no catch except for it has to be on Kindle. If you are reading this right now, you can read my story for free on Kindle. In fact, there are instructions on how to do so for just about any device right on my story's Amazon page!
So from 11-11 to midnight on Friday the 13th, pick up the main even of my short story collection No-Injury Policy.
About the Story
Highlighting the collection is the tale "No-Injury Policy," a story set in Raven's Crook's darkest beginnings.
Nicholas Tanner finds himself working for the infamous Douglas Lumber Mill in an effort to support his new family. Despite the horrific tales he's heard from the locals, he tries to earn a living and ignore all the demonic signs around him.
As a union begins to form, the owner resorts to violent efforts to make sure his company is not controlled by any outsiders. He reveals his more sinister side as Nick is roped into the clandestine group.
Tale of the
Pages in Print: 40
Estimated Average Read Time: Less than an hour (~40 min @ 1 pg/min)
If you're anything like me, you've been told time and time again to stop being sarcastic for a multitude of reasons. Most likely, though, it was just because they didn't get whatever sarcastic joke was being made.
And if you are anything like me (you poor, poor soul), then you might rejoice in the fact there are benefits to having a strong sense of sarcasm--some of them intellectual, too! Continue reading to check them out!
Most cases of things-found-in-Halloween-candy turn out to be pranks, hoaxes, and other forms of complete horse manure. The few cases of substances and foreign objects founds in candy are isolated and really should NOT cause widespread paranoia. This goes for the few times things like drugs have been accidentally mistaken for candy. I mostly say this because it is true and people got upset and emailed me when I wrote this fun post in 2012.
Following my post in 2012, though, I wanted to construct a new list of the Worst Things Found in Halloween Candy for 2015, starting off with a real bang! That's a pun. Enjoy!
For no good reason, I constructed a list of the 5 Horror Stories that left a mark on me.
No, not literally.
These are books that stand out when I think of being creeped out. Some are rather well-known, while others are a little more obscure. I hope it either encourages you to experience a new story or to revisit an old classic.
As I work on "Lovefall" from Ashland's Asylum, I find myself hooked on the main character's ability to predict death. For Robert Strife, seeing death is rarely a gift. He sees it when it is near--and at times he can prevent or alter it--but there aren't too many patterns. It's not like he can see death exactly 5-10 minutes before it happens or anything--it can actually be days out.
When you create a character with a special gift--or a dark power for the more nefarious--you wonder if the heart of the character's concept is believable. Quite honestly, if Lovefall suspends too much disbelief, to the point it's no longer enjoyable, then it's only my fault as the writer. However, I feel a little bit better after doing some research about 3 other folks who have claimed to have insight into death.
I've constructed the a list of the Top 6 Insane Ways of Treating Insanity--in my whatever opinion--and perhaps some of you might enjoy helping me decide which pieces of equipment to include in the story ? Hey, hey?
Ever notice one of those red and white spinning polls at a barber shop (more commonly red, white & blue in the U.S. now)? It gained fame from barber-surgeons, who often recommended bloodletting as a treatment, if not cure, for any medical ailment ranging from acne to cancer to insanity. The red stripes represented the blood and the white resembled a tourniquet.
Bloodletting is kind of what it sounds like. The idea is that blood can humor certain responses, so naturally, removing some of a person's blood should help treat and him or her. Seems totally logical, right? Oh, you have cancer. Let's remove around 4 quarts of blood!
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.