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Horror fiction is a genre of fiction in any medium intended to scare, unsettle and horrify the audience. Historically, the cause of the "horror" experience has often been the intrusion of a disturbing supernatural element into everyday human experience. Since the 1960s, any work of fiction with a morbid, gruesome, surreal, or exceptionally suspenseful or frightening theme has come to be called "horror". Horror fiction often overlaps science fiction or fantasy, all three categories of which are sometimes placed under the umbrella classification speculative fiction.

Haunting is sometimes used as a plot device in horror fiction and paranormal-based fiction. Legends about haunted houses have long appeared in literature. For example, the Arabian Nights tale of "Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad" revolves around a house haunted by djinns. The influence of the Arabian Nights on modern horror fiction is certainly discernible in some of the work of H. P. Lovecraft.

Achievements in horror fiction are recognized by numerous awards. The Horror Writer's Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror novel Dracula. The Australian Horror Writers Association presents annual Australian Shadows Awards. The International Horror Guild Award was presented annually to works of horror and dark fantasy from 1995 to 2008. Other important awards for horror literature are as subcategories included within general awards for fantasy and science fiction in such awards as the Aurealis Award.

Zombies are a popular feature in many horror works.

Selected horror profile

Author William Peter Blatty inside of his home office in 2009.
William Peter Blatty (January 7, 1928 – January 12, 2017) was an American writer and filmmaker best known for his 1971 novel The Exorcist and for the Academy Award–winning screenplay of its film adaptation. He also wrote and directed the sequel The Exorcist III. After the success of The Exorcist, Blatty reworked Twinkle, Twinkle, "Killer" Kane! (1960) into a new novel titled The Ninth Configuration, published in 1978. Two years later, Blatty adapted the novel into a film of the same title and won Best Screenplay at the 38th Golden Globe Awards. Some of his other notable works are the novels Elsewhere (2009), Dimiter (2010) and Crazy (2010).

Born and raised in New York City, Blatty received his bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown University in 1950, and his master's degree in English literature from the George Washington University. Following completion of his master's degree in 1954, he joined the United States Air Force, where he worked in the Psychological Warfare Division. After service in the Air Force, he worked for the United States Information Agency in Beirut.

Selected horror work

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a 1982 American horror film and the third installment in the Halloween series. Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and starring Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin and Dan O'Herlihy, the film is based on an original screenplay by Nigel Kneale and focuses on an evil scheme by the owner of a mask company to kill the children of America on Halloween night through a series of popular Halloween masks: a witch, a jack-o'-lantern, and a skull.

Season of the Witch is unrelated to the previous films featuring the character Michael Myers, and was intended to begin Halloween as an anthology series, releasing a new Halloween storyline every year. The only connection this movie has with the others in the series is a scene where the trailer for Carpenter's original 1978 Halloween is airing on a TV. Besides wholly abandoning the Michael Myers plotline, Halloween III departs from the slasher film genre which the original Halloween spawned. The focus on a psychopathic killer is replaced by a "mad scientist and witchcraft" theme.

Produced on a budget of $2.5 million, Halloween III grossed $14.4 million at the box office in the United States. In addition to relatively weak box office returns, most critics gave the film negative reviews. Where Halloween had broken new ground and was imitated by many genre films following in its wake, this third installment seemed hackneyed to many. One critic twenty years later suggests that if Halloween III was not part of the Halloween series, then it would simply be "a fairly nondescript eighties horror flick, no worse and no better than many others."