One of my favourite horror movies is American Werewolf in London and a lot of it has to do with the whole black humour thing.
Now one reader suggests to me that because I have a fair bit of humour in my vampire novel, Late Bite, that I shouldn’t classify it as horror.
Late Bite’s got more bloodsucking deaths than Bram Stoker had in the original Dracula but you aren’t witness to most of the blood draining. I aimed for laughs – the kind of nervous pee-your-pants sort.
I borrowed the style from 1970s TV series, Kolchak – The Night Stalker.
The less than intrepid reporter did the X-Files thing but instead of heroic Scully and Muldar, Kolchak screamed like a Valley Girl and ran like hell whenever the demon/mummy/vampire/ghost rose from the dead.
I made my vamp very personable and a social media star. He’s even charming, if you don’t mind the bad breath.
So, the reader suggested I promote it as horror for those who don’t like horror.
My thinking is this: Why do we like horror? For the same reason we like to go on a rollercoaster. It’s a safe, near-death experience. We like the dark side as long as it’s entertaining.
Our human nature demands we take risks. Getting into a thriller or horror novel, jumping on a midway ride, or watching the gore on the big screen gives us pseudo-danger.
What’s the general reaction after some creature makes us jump in a theatre? Usually it’s laughter or at least a wave of relief that it was just make-believe.
I’m also classifying my just-released novel – Gravity Games – as horror but as a secondary genre. It’s primary genre is a foodie thriller. Celebrity chef Nathan Sherlock helps the FBI hunt down terrorists on the side. The horror? It smacks of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and has a couple very dark individuals doing diabolic things to people.