This Month’s Question: What Is The Future of Horror?

My new feature called “The Question of the Month” over at FEARnet is a mix of “The Final Question” from Cemetery Dance magazine and also original content.

The feature has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of the genre’s authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In theory, this should give you some insight into how these authors think and where their work comes from.  Each month you can read the answers here on this blog or over at FEARnet.com.

This month’s question is: What is the future of horror?

Writers in pain. Their wounds, unconscious or otherwise, define the genre.
— R.C. Matheson

I don’t know what the future of horror will be, but I always live in hope that whatever it is, it’ll be a bit more subtle, quietly disturbing, surreal, and otherworldly than a lot of the trends we’ve recently seen. Something that instills genuine dread rather than aiming to shock or gross out. Not because I dislike accessible, splattery fun, but just to shake things up a bit. I’m loathe to use the word “cerebral,” but something with a bit more depth would be nice. Can we rewind to the ’80s and welcome Clive Barker as the future of horror, please? That would be grand.
— Brett Alexander Savory

The future of horror is the past–the sins of the past, that is, repressed and otherwise, which have been at the heart of virtually every horror story since Horace Walpole wrote the first gothic novel way back in 1764.
— Dale Bailey

The great thing about horror is that it doesn’t give a crap about the future or the past. It’s immune to trends. Humans will never lose interest in sex or death.
— Scott Nicholson

My hope is that horror will blaze a course through this present fascination with extreme violence without any subtext or meaning—simple shock and brutality—and start re-exploring the concepts that make the genre so powerful. Without a human element to these stories, the characters are just so many pieces of wood waiting to be hewn and chopped into kindling. If horror is to have a future beyond revolting people and making them scream with cheap scares, writers, readers and moviegoers alike need to rediscover that the best horror is about bad things happening to characters in whom we have an emotional investment.
— Bev Vincent

The future of horror is…assured.  The arc of expression seems to be following the media arc as a whole: less attention to print, more to video games and movies, but horror reinvents itself to fit.  Horror will prosper as long as people get a frisson down the spine from things that go bump in the night.
— Holly Newstein

The future of horror? The past. As always.
— Glen Hirshberg

People (or Soylent Green, if you prefer the packaging). Us.  With our capacity for feeling and inflicting pain, our reaction to mystery and the unknown, our appetite for the world and each other, we’ll be drawn to horror like lemmings to a cathartic sea for a while.  The Greeks dug it, we dig it.  However the source medium may evolve, as long as there are people, there will be both the inspiration and audience for horror.  Horror will truly be dead when we’ve split angel from demon and cast off the monsters inside us.  And we’re a long way off from that feat of genetic engineering.  Or exorcism…
— Gerard Houarner

It’s vampires who sparkle in the sunlight, like David Bowie in his sequined androgynous glam-rocker phase, or maybe it’s werewolves who crap strawberry scented sprinkles.  I’m pretty sure it’s one of those.
— Gary Raisor

What is the future of horror? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS? But I betcha we’re about to find out! (P.S.: The future of horror starts right… about… now.)
— John Skipp

7 thoughts on “This Month’s Question: What Is The Future of Horror?”

  1. There will be more of everything; good and bad. But the good news for aspiring writers is that every day there are more opportunities, more online magazines that will take a chance on new writers. How many good writers would have given up in the old days, after mailing their stories to the few publishers out there? And as for video games. There is nothing like playing Resident Evil 4 on a dark windy night.

  2. Good question BJF —

    Horror, yet…really grip Horror, will vacuum the guts out of humanity; as if every sack of bones where enemies, as if civil behavior never existed, Like we have become, as Skipp says, right now. With a little enigmatic love thrown in.

  3. It’s up to die-hard horror fans to demand vampires that don’t sparkle and werewolves that don’t crap strawberry sprinkles. Catering to thirteen year old love-sick girls is ridiculous. I want my vampires to act like real vampires and my werewolves to be the same blood-thirsty beasts we’ve always known and loved. Just say no to Stephanie Meyers and all the other writers who want to sissify the horror genre.

  4. Good question with many, many answers. I’ve written about a few of them, as I am sure many others have, as well. Hopefully, our minds continue to flourish with such thoughts. Great post.

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