What scares you? What makes you wake up screaming in the dead of night? Write about your fears. Sometimes adrenaline junkies need the rush of a good horror story. Satisfy their needs. I have a creature I love to write about called a demon wolf. It is the size of a man-eating Bengal tiger but isn’t as cuddly and nice. It is a four-legged killing machine that is next to impossible to kill.
In my book Tales From Newgate I wrote three stories about demon wolves. In the first one, the son of the general that was captured outside Newgate on July 4, 1777 took over 1,000 men overland toward New York City from Montreal in 1814 with the intention to burn the city and Philadelphia down to the ground during the War of 1812. But he camped about an hour’s march from Newgate and that night, demon wolves shifted from their dimension into this one and killed most of the soldiers including the commander while he was plunging his sword into the chest of one of the monsters. Newgate, New York, and Philadelphia were spared destruction thanks to demon wolves.
The second story takes place on Thanksgiving day in 1941 when a Nazi general has the intention of getting the United States involved in WW II by taking his men in trucks to Niagra Falls to destroy the hydroelectrical plants there. The title of the chapter is “Demon Wolves Versus the Nazis”. If SyFy produced the story I would love to have the actor who portrayed Red Skull in “Captain America” play General Schenkel. His second-in-command could be the cigarette smoking man from “X Files” or vice versa. Both men have played hated men who deserve to be killed by demon wolves that are shifted into this dimension to attack the convoy of trucks ahead of the vehicles. The last thing the commander says is, “We’ll never defeat the Americans. Even their animals fight for them.” He puts his gun up to his head and blows his brains out. It was either that or be ripped to shreads by demon wolves.
The third story in the book is about two of the galleries in the Art museum in Newgate. In one of the galleries are statues that come to life like in the “Night At the Museum” movies. Some burglars try to steal diamond encrusted items in the diamond gallery and a couple stainless steel demon wolves from the statue gallery rip some of the burglars to shreads. The blood stains are left on the claws of the demon wolves to deter anyone else who wants to steal items from the museum.
In October last year I wrote a version of Little Red Riding Hood who drives toward her grandmother’s house in the woods outside Newgate with brownies. She picks up a lumberjack fleeing for his life from demon wolves and arrives at her grandmother’s house as the dimensional rift wave arrives bringing in demon wolves. She mans one of the gun placements in the top floor while her grandmother mans the other on the opposite side of the house. The lumberjack needs to prevent demon wolves from coming up from the basement where the ammunition for the guns is kept and the ground floor. I can picture the action in my mind as if I’m watching it on TV. The three people manage to survive the night and after the remaining wolves are shifted back into their dimension, the carcasses are placed in a pit, burnt, and buried.
A literary agent told me I write in a way that my stories would make good TV shows or movies. A writer needs to put mental pictures into the minds of readers. When Mary Shelly wrote about Frankenstein’s monster around two centuries ago, she based some of the story on actual scientific research that was done in Europe in using electricity to bring the dead back to life. In her story, Dr. Victor Frankenstein manages to give life to a man that was dead. His intention was to conquer death. What he later found out was that the man he brought back to life had not only lost his life before regaining it, his soul had departed and could never be restored. That is why in my book “The Russian Madhouse” the men who are brought back to life and sustained by micromachines lose their souls when they die the first time and they are never restored.
I find some of the best horror stories are based on what could be true or at least frightens people into thinking it could be true. In my Mr. Amazing book I wrote about a man who brought his dead girlfriend back to life. It wasn’t exactly a horror story. But it was written to remind readers that dead people that are artificailly brought back to life may appear to be alive. But they would be like the dead cat I wanted to electronically stimulate for a science fair experiment in high school but feared would get me thrown out of school for doing. Formerly dead living creatures will keep deteriorating and smell like they are dead until they physically fall apart. If I had stimulated the muscles of a dead cat to make it walk, I feared the judges would be creaped out and I might have been arrested for animal abuse.
“Pet Cemetery” written by Stephen King was about a cemetery where what was buried there could be brought back to life. But there were consequences. Once a person loses their soul, they act instinctually like an animal. Survival is the main reason for reliving. If it means killing someone who might mean you harm, you do it because you don’t have a conscience to stop your actions. Having a conscience gets in the way of horror. That is why the holocaust was allowed to happen. The Nazis were taught to consider Jews and other “undesirables” little more than animals that had to be butchered in order to keep them from breeding with the “master race.” When the holocaust was recognized as a true horror, the common phrase was “Never again.” The problem is that according to the Bible in the book of Revelation, there will be another holocaust of Christians during the Tribulation period of seven years perpetrated by the Antichrist and his people. I believe the rapture of the Christians that will happen before the tribulation will remove me from Earth and spare me the beheading that would happen to me if I were to become a Christian during the tribulation.
There are common themes in horror stories. I might not get them all. But here are the ones I am familiar with: (1) MONSTERS. They can be creatures or beings that frighten people. Werewolves, vampires, zombies, and people who act like monsters are common characters featured in many horror stories. Godzilla and the dinosaurs that are based on real and imaginary creatures pack the movie theaters.
(2) GHOSTS AND DEMONS. Some of the most popular TV programs that no doubt give millions of people nightmares are about beings in the spirit world. The Winchester brothers wouldn’t be two of the most popular sibblings on TV if it weren’t for demons, even though demons are fallen angels that actually possess people. The movie “The Exorcist” was loosely based on what happened to a black boy with Linda Blair being the possessed subject. I met her at a Star Trek convention along with Jonathon Harris who was Dr. Smith on “Lost In Space.” As for ghosts, I have a picture that was taken of me in a Union colonel uniform in a photo studio in Gettysburg. What looks like a smudge on top of my head is an ectoplasmic emission. I told the photographer I probably reminded the person of someone. I also believe there was the ghost of a woman who committed suicide in the apartment above me in Peekskill, New York who visited me every now and then.
(3) ALIENS. I have had dreams about being aboard UFOs. They are actual crafts which can be frightening because they can appear out of nowhere. The beings aboard them can be like ET or the Predator or anything in between. You might have met an extraterrestrial and not known it.
(4) SCARY PLACES. Haunted houses are popular places for horror. I’ve had dreams about a haunted house with an old woman who died during the 30’s. She exists on the top floor where, for some reason, there are at least two black-and-white TV sets. Scary places can be almost anywhere. A reader might know what to expect. But they are still startled when they open a door and out walks a zombie or an axe murderer. You tell yourself you shouldn’t be there. But for some reason you’re compelled to enter. You hope you’re not frightened to death.
(5) NIGHTMARES. This is something almost everyone has experienced. Nightmares have actually frightened many people to death or caused them to kill themselves. I used to have nightmares when I was a child on the farm. Sometimes I would throw back the curtains outside my bedroom that separated the two bedrooms from the back rooms and out would step the Phantom from the comic strips. One nightmare that I often had was of being eaten alive by a hog. By the time it ate up to my chest I would wake up. I remember one nightmare in which a dog lept at my throat and I jammed my fist down its throat. All it could do was clamp onto my arm and not rip my throat out. I met the man who played Freddy Kruger from “Nightmare On Elm Street” at a Star Trek convention. He said that during the first day he portrayed him, he took a nap in his trailer with his makeup on. When he woke up and looked in the mirror, he scared himself.
(6) INSECTS AND OTHER REAL CREATURES. One of Charlton Heston’s first epic films was “The Naked Jungle.” He owned a plantation in the Amazon jungle that was invaded by army ants. He managed to release a flood that washed them away but lost his plantation in the process. Army ants are things that frighten lions because they can attack and eat them alive. Sharks might be thought of as monsters. But they exist and are deadly. I was just thinking of a movie that was based on something that happened in South Africa when a railroad was being laid down. It was “The Ghost and the Darkness.” Two lions were hunting humans and killing them. Michael Douglass played a big game hunter that found their lair and eventually killed them. His dad Kirk would have done the movie if it had been filmed 40 years before.
(7) NATURE. The weather can be frightening because we can’t control it. Falling from a plane or off of a cliff is frightening thanks to gravity. “Twister” is based on storm chasers that go after tornadoes. I’ve had dreams about them. They are awesome. I’ve also experienced earthquakes. The movie “2012” was based on the prediction that the earth would be destroyed in December of that year. When the Tribulation happens, God will unleash the horrors of nature gone insane. I’m glad I won’t be here when that happens.
(8) PHYSICAL CONDITIONS. “Coma” was based on the harvesting of organs from patients that are placed in comas. Knowing that it can happen if you go to a hospital can make you unwilling to go there just in case you fall into a coma. Job in the Bible had boils and some doctors believe he developed elephantitist. If he looked like the Elephant Man, it’s no wonder his three friends didn’t recognize him from a distance.
(9) CURSES. One or the first curses was made in the Garden of Eden when God cursed the ground and made it harder for Adam to grow things in. Egypt was cursed by God because the Jews weren’t allowed to leave and travel to the Promised Land. We know of curses cast by witches and those who practice the dark arts. I wouldn’t mess with a gypsy for fear she would cast a spell on me.
(10) BEING VULNERABLE. Being trapped in an elevator or buried alive can be a horror to many people. People have been unearthed that were buried alive. They are often found with a look of horror on their face and the inside of their coffins would have scratch marks on them because the occupant tried to get out of the coffin. Women fear rape while weak men fear being abused by stronger people. If you can’t control your surroundings or the people around you, the horror of being vulnerable can happen as it has to most people.
(11) OBJECTS. Dolls, chairs, cars, gemstones, almost anything can be frightening.
(12) THE UNKNOWN. This is a a catch-all that can frighten people. The unexpected can either prevent someone from leaving their bed or compell them to explore jungles.
Stephen King became a millionare thanks to writing horror. If you like to frighten people or have a demented mind, horror might be what you should write. I’ll stick with science fiction. I don’t know if I can scare up some readership if I spend my time trying to scare them with my stories.