Tag: horror

  • Fun Childhood Things Subverted For Horror

    Here’s the thing about horror: It can so easily turn into accidental comedy. Watch the original 1960s Twilight Zone series and what was once genuinely scary now offers a family-night laugh. An inverse is also true: What we once considered fun, innocent, cosy and child-friendly will morph over time into something sinister. In the second […]

  • Creepy Carrots by Reynolds and Brown Analysis

    Creepy Carrots book cover

    Creepy Carrots (2012) is a picture book written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown. For anyone wondering how to create a scary book for the very young reader without keeping them awake all night, this book is our masterclass in the horror-comedy blend. First of all, the story is about carrots — a […]

  • The Haunted Dolls’ House by M.R. James Short Story Analysis

    Ralph Hedley - Real Antique

    “The Haunted Dolls’ House” (1923) is a short ghost story by Montague Rhodes James. Being out of copyright, you can read it at Project Gutenberg.

  • Haystacks In Art and Storytelling

    'Every trapdoor must have a lid and a railing' Illustrator unknown, 1930s barn hay

    Haystacks and haybales are multivalent symbols in storytelling, utilised in horror as well as in cosy pastoral stories. The Thing That Stalks The Fields is a supernatural story about haystacks. It is also an example of a creepypasta. A creepypasta is an urban legend for the Internet age: a paranormal story that has become a […]

  • What Is Cosmic Horror?

    Do humans see reality as it really is? This is a fundamental question behind cosmic horror and is one philosophers and deep thinkers still ponder today. If H.P. Lovecraft had been born 100 years later he’d be fascinated with theories such as proposed by Donald Hoffman — that humans have evolved to see only a […]

  • Clowns in Art and Storytelling

    'Hippodrome' (4 Clowns) - Poster by Jules Chèret, 1882

    Once upon a time clowns were an un-ironic take on the jester archetype. Storytellers could make use of clowns to lighten a mood. Shakespeare did it. Toon. A comic relief character generally intended to be recognized as such — Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are toons (most of Shakespeare’s comic relief characters are toons). Toons have a limited […]

  • Monster Pet! by McAllister and Middleton Analysis

    Monster Pet! is a 2005 picture book written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Charlotte Middleton. The story is designed to get young readers thinking about the responsibility of caring for a sentient creature. A body swap plot is used to that end, though I suspect more empathy derives from the facial expressions on the poor little locked up mouse than from the body swap experience, which in a picture book, challenges the adult book-buyer’s ideas of what a picture book should do; This one is slightly creepy. The School Library Journal had this to say:

  • Disorientation And Spatial Horror In Fiction

    I’ve been thinking about ways in which a storyteller creates a sense of unease for the audience, but spatially. We might call this spatial horror. I’m talking about disorientation, dizziness, light-headedness, fear of falling, and various senses outlined in the graphic below. A visual representation of disorientation can be seen in an M.C. Escher painting. […]

  • The Creepiest Body Parts

    The human body is a grotesque, meaty thing. Storytellers can make use of our squeamishness by breaking the body into parts for horror or for comic effect. In his autobiography Going Solo, Roald Dahl takes a voyage to Africa. Onboard the ship he meets all sorts of weird and wonderful characters, as Dahl was inclined […]