quiet horror today
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I see for example here on this forum that the most notorious horror writers nowadays apart for Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice... are Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Daniel Pyle, Bryan Smith... authors that tended to more graphic and gore horror, mostly from the Leisure books line, but what about quiet and psychological horror? what are the names that writes that type of horror nowadays? is there quiet horror in the Leisure books catalogue?
There are a few fans of quiet horror on this board. I'm not one of them myself and my name is blanking on current authors right now. But I have heard good things about a few.
I do wonder if the lack of variety in Leisure's catalog helped push them over the cliff.
I would never consider Stephen King (or even Dean Koontz or Anne Rice) as notorious. Not in the way that Ketchum, Bryan Smith and Richard Laymon are.
Phil Rickman. He's not Leisure. I think Leisure kind of specializes in a gorier style....
I am not sure exactly what you mean by "quiet horror". I am just not familiar with the term. Does that mean books by authors like Mary higgins Clark? Or are you talking about some of the more cerebral horror stories like Julia by Peter Straub? There are a lot of authors out there writing stories that are horrific without being graphically violent, but I am not sure if that is what quiet horror means.
And I have to agre with jseger that the authors you initially mention are hardly notorious for graphic violence.
He's not generally considered a horror writer but I still think of The Collector by John Fowles as one of the best 'quiet horror' books I have ever read.
I would second Gary Braunbeck. Great writer, but he can also tug at the emotions pretty drastically.
You can also look for Douglas Clegg for quiet, psychological horror.
I highly recommend Greg Gifune for quiet horror. You often finish wondering how much of the supernatural was just in the mind of the character.
hey I'm from Spain, I hope you excuse my poor english, I thought notorious was a sinonym for famous
with quiet horror I mean the psychological and literary one with authors like Charles L Grant, Dennis Etchison, Steve Rasnic Tem or others you have mention like Ramsey Campbell
by the way what about Little Bentley, is he such graphic as Jack ketchum, Richard Laymon or Bryan Smith?
Your English is fine. Notorious is a close to being a synonym for famous but isn't (even native speakers sometimes think it is). In this case it just means 'generally known'. It can also mean 'widely and unfavourably known'.
Yes Charles L. Grant was a master of the form but unfortunately he died some years back. Etchison is still going though but I never seem to read much of his stuff for some reason.
Bentley Little (I think you've got his name backwards) isn't as harsh as Jack Ketchum, but I wouldn't usually call him "quiet horror" either. On the quiet-to-graphic scale, I'd put him around Stephen King. When he's good (which is about 50% of the time) Little has a nice slow build to his books, but once he hits the climax, things can get bloody.
#13 Completely agree about Dark Matter - a really spooky little book.
i've read good things about Siren by John Everson, Bloodstone by Nate Kenyon and Ghost road blues and Dead man's song by Jonathan Maberry, have you read them? are these novels closest to King or Ketchum?
Bloodstone by Nate Kenyon was really good and steered me toward reading more of his books. Which are good as well.
I haven't read Siren.
You need to pick up anything written by Jonathan Maberry. Given that we are entering Halloween season, go ahead and start with Ghost Road Blues and finish his Pine Deep trilogy. Then move on to his Joe Ledger series with Patient Zero and his YA zombie series with Rot & Ruin. He's really, really good. At least in my opinion.
I would align these more closely with King than Ketchum. Not to be confused with comparing them to King, just more closely aligned.
I agree with timdt regarding Jonathan Maberry and his Pine Deep trilogy being a good, fun read, especially with Halloween approaching. As far as alligning with King, I think that is somewhat accurate too. I wouldn't say the writing styles are that much alike, and I am not sure Maberry is as good a writer as King is when he is really on his game, but certain aspects of his writing, for example the frequent use of music and lyrics in the story, are similar to King's.
I can't comment on Ketchum because I haven't read any of his stuff.
#15, 16 - But Kenyon, Maberry and Everson are not quiet horror, right? Neither is Bentley Little, though I highly recommend him. Just be careful of which book you pick up. He has some stinkers.
I've had very little experience with quiet horror and have not liked what I have read, but I can see the appeal. (I wonder if I am just too desensitized to appreciate it?)
My experiments so far have been Charles L. Grant's Hour of the Oxrun Dead, Ramsey Campbell's Midnight Sun, T.E.D. Klein's The Ceremonies (now that one was excellent) and Gary Braunbeck's In Silent Graves and lots of Lovecraft.
Ollonois, I would suggest T.E.D. Klein if you can find any of his stuff. He hasn't written much and what he did put out is 20+ years old, but I hear nothing but good things about him and he has written the one quiet horror novel that I have enjoyed.
You might also check out Thomas Tryon (Harvest Home or The Other).
There's a guy, Carlos, who posts on here from time-to-time. He's a quiet horror reader and I remember him praising Thomas Ligotti (already mentioned in #5. Sorry for the duplicate!).
18 jseger- You are right that they are not quiet horror. Sorry got pulled off topic there.
#18, 19 - whoops, guilty as well. I just saw some authors I like and went with it. They are not quiet horror, at least I don't consider them quiet horror.
If I was put on the spot though, I would not hesitate to recommend Greg Gifune for quiet horror. He publishes almost exclusively through small press publishing companies. But he's a very good writer.
I hope I didn't come off like the genre police or anything.
You know, I have the three Pine Deep books by Maberry and the Leisure books by Everson and Kenyon (who's an LT member) and I haven't read any of them yet. Man. I need to read more.
jseger- Not at all about the genre police. It is so easy to follow a thought, forgetting the original point of the thread. Whoever starts a thread has a purpose or question or idea or whatever, and that should be respected. In some other groups I have seen the original thread completely dismissed as people get into their own interests. I, personally appreciated the reminder of the original topic.
The Pine Deep trilogy. Read them. They are good fun.
I will second jseger's recommendation of Thomas Tryon if you don't know him already. I won't say he's never gory, but I'd still call him quiet horror. He hasn't published much material, but what's there is good.
ok, they (Kenyon, Maberry,Everson) aren't quiet horror authors, but they aren't extreme horror writers either, isn't it?
could Stephen King be considered as a quiet horror author?
I have read interesting things about T.M. Wright? have you read him?
Instead of trying to identify quiet horror authors it may be easier to eliminate those that are definitely not quiet horror authors. Or to be more fun, put them on a scale.
So...up for strongly encouraged debate and to help out the OP, I'll start with grouping those mentioned in this thread that I've read. My ordering in each group has no bearing and I'll just put them in alphabetical order. It's just an opinion based on what I've read from each.
So from a scale of quiet horror to extreme/splatterpunk horror:
See, I would have Peter Straub and Bentley Little in the middle along with Stephen King. Floating Dragon, Ghost Story and Koko are not quiet horror to me (though I guess Julia could be).
I can see why you labelled Little as more extreme than King and Straub even if I wouldn't have put him there.
I have no quibbles with your Extreme section.
Fun list overall.
Having never read him, where would Graham Masterton fall?
In the sci-fi group there's a discussion about Richard Matheson. In this list I would add him in with King and company.
I can't really disagree with putting Peter Straub in the middle along with the Stephen King group. For some reason, my perception of Peter Straub is as a more cerebral and psychological horror author.
The Bentley Little books I've read build the tension and terror from ordinary circumstances but ended in a gory, bloodbath climax. But he doesn't rely on gore.
If I was to put this list together tomorrow I may not have even divided the two middle groups and may have even put Gary Braunbeck in the middle as well.
hey it's a funny idea that scale, Midnight sun by Ramsey Campbell must be the quieter horror book I've read, even more than The ceremonies by T.E.D. Klein
as pjgraham says Graham Masterton is very well in the third category more gore than Stephen King but not like Laymon
Richard Matheson although a pioneer of the modern horror and a influence over Stephen King is more a classic and I don't see him in that scale that is more for modern authors
what about John Saul, the first and quieter group? and Joe R Lansdale, the third?
hehehe... the scale is a very good idea...
Forgot about John Saul. Hmmm, perhaps the first or second group.
I'll have to look at my books this weekend and see who else isn't included yet.
What about Dan Simmons horror? I would say on the lower side of the middle. Certainly not on the bottom, he is not a gore-meister. On the other hand, his horror has never shied from the gruesome. Love the scale. Well done timdt.
I haven't read John Saul in a long, long time but as I recall I believe he would go in the second group.
Joe Lansdale's horror would fit more in the third group. But he has spanned genre's so much. His best work in my opinion is his non horror with his Hap and Leonard series and works such as The Bottoms.
Do we need a seperate category for someone like Jack Kilborn? Maybe "I need a shower with a lot of soap after reading" category. Not criticizing, just saying.
#29 - ...my perception of Peter Straub is as a more cerebral and psychological horror author.
I could see that. He is a smarter and more literate writer than all of the other popular horror writers, for sure. I was just thinking of some of the yucky details from Floating Dragon, but I guess I could see him going either way.
...I may not have even divided the two middle groups...
I like the way your list is divided. There is a difference in the gore vs. atmosphere between the writers in the two middle categories. Seperating them was a good call. I think you've done a really good job and I accept that you are right about Bentley Little. He belongs in category three, not two.
Hmm, I've noticed that if I think an author is a skilled writer, I am willing to... soften him/her up. I realize I was moving Bentley into King's category because I think he is a good writer. Also, my first instinct was to move Ketchum up a rung for the same reasons (see below).
#31 - I would say Ramsey Campbell belongs in the first quiet horror category for sure. Other guys that haven't been mentioned (but that I would list in the quiet horror category) are: T.M. Wright, Phil Rickman and Charles L. Grant (though my knowledge of Wright and Rickman mainly comes from discussions in this group).
#35 - Do we need a seperate category for someone like Jack Kilborn? Maybe "I need a shower with a lot of soap after reading" category.
Have you read Ed Lee? Author of such happy titles as Brides of the Impaler, Flesh Gothic, Bullet Through Your Face and Mother Bitchfight? Okay, I was looking for the WORST titles, but I think that Jack Killborn could happily sit next to Lee or Laymon on that gore-strewn shelf.
Funnily enough, though I do think Ketchum also *completely* belongs on that shelf, he deserves some better company. He's a better class of writer than those other guys (from my limited experience).
Karl Edward Wagner
Steve Rasnic Tem
36- jseger- I haven't read Ed Lee. From your description, I am not sure I want to. I have only read a couple of Kilburn's stories, and at the risk of being offensive, they sucked. They read like a teenage boys mastabatory fantasy. Again, I have only read a couple of his stories, so maybe I have missed some deeper message. I have a hard time believing that though.
Since I recently bought a couple of Ketchum books, I hope you are right about him being a step up.
I love the scale idea in general, and I think we could all dicker a level here or there for a specific writer, which is good and just makes for good conversation. (I don't see much difference between King and Little in some of King's books--consider Dreamcatcher, for instance.) But by and large, I think the scale is pretty accurate, and it's a great starting place if you're new to horror and looking for recommendations. Nice work!
I think the scale is great. The mischief maker in me suggests we quantify it. With Stephen King in the middle position we could start using a rating scale that would rate authors as having a "King" plus or minus number. A really, really quiet horror might be a King -5, with ultra scary being a King +9.
(Don't worry. It's just a joke. I am jesting.)
#41 - Think a slightly more mature (and more perverse) Richard Laymon and you have Ed Lee. The first book of his I read was The Backwoods which surprised me because it was better written than I was expecting and not really 'extreme' at all (in fact it was kind of slow). Then I read Flesh Gothic...
I have reviews up for both if you are interested.
#42 - "Jack Killborn" is a pen name used by mystery writer used by mystery writer J.A. Konrath for horror novels. The only non-e-book he published was Afraid which was quite popular.
From what I've heard, his Jackie 'Jack' Daniels mysteries are silly stories along the lines of Fletch or Monk, but his horror is sheer gut-bucket stuff.
I've only read Afraid, which my better half loved as a roller coaster ride, but which I thought was just okay.
Four terrific Canadian writers belong towards the quieter end of things. Richard Gavin, Barbara Roden and Michael Kelly probably belong in the group headed by Braunbeck, while Simon Strantzas probably belongs one group down. He's not really gruesome or gory, definitely never gratuitous, but there is some disturbing physical stuff in some of the stories. All four strongly recommended in this corner.
T.M. Wright = VERY quiet horror. Also check out Ordinary Horror by David Searcy. I see by the amazon reviews that lots of people hated it...but I quite liked it.
You might also check out Graham Joyce, Mark Morris (The Immaculate in particular), and Brian Lumley's short stories. He has some fantastic ones. My favorite collection is Fruiting Bodies and Other Fungi. He's not 100% quiet, but when he's not doing the pulpy, Derlethian, extreme-punctuation-thing, he's quite good.
Oh, Patrick McGrath is excellent. Modern psychological horror with a gothic twist. Oh, and Conrad Williams. I'm re-reading his collection Use Once, Then Destroy.
Who else...well, there are more, but I can only stay up so late looking through my shelves. Lol.
Ha! Lol - I think that's the first time I've seen Ed Lee described as "mature". I know you said "slightly more mature", but still.
Edward Lee can produce some surprisingly mature work. Titles that come to mind are Dahmer's Not Dead, The Innswich Horror and Portrait of the Psychopath as a Young Woman. I think something people lose sight of is that he is writing for a specific audience with his 'pulpier' material but I think the fact that he can go beyond that has always been apparent in his fiction. Anyway, those three titles are the ones I recommend checking out if you want to see what Lee is like when he shows restraint.
On the topic of quiet horror, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Ray B. Russell's book of ghost stories, Ghosts. http://www.librarything.com/work/book/83021303
I'm looking forward to reading it.
The limited run of 250 copies is already sold out so you may have to rely in e-bay if you want a copy.
It was a great event with Ray reading one of his stories. A very gentle kind of horror.
I would add authors such as Ira Levin to the quiet horror category, with books like The Stepford Wives, Rosemary's Baby, and Sliver.
One earlier author who runs the gamut from quiet to loud is Jim Thompson in The Grifters and The Killer Inside Me. Both of these have been made into film; The Grifters quite successfully. I haven't seen The Killer Inside Me yet.
Roald Dahl is another great quiet horror author (altho he's not known primarily for his horror writing. Lamb to the Slaughter and Man From the South are classics
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