Extreme Horror and Bizarro Horror, Beyond King and Koontz

When I first started out reading horror, it was the ’73-’83 King, then Stoker, Shelley, and Lovecraft, then Koontz, and, after that, I found Ira Levin and Shirley Jackson were the scariest. Then I discovered Gary Braunbeck before he sold out with Far Dark Fields (notables are Coffin County, In Silent Graves and Mr. Hands). And that was fine. But, years later, as an aficionado, I have a hard time finding horror that shocks.

 

Enter bizarro horror and extreme horror, two sub-genres that have kickstarted the genre, and–like the literary equivalent of Trump–have made horror great again. I’ll never forget reading Djinn by Sam West, what a yuckfest, and I consider Going Monstering by Edward Lee extreme horror, too, though he’s considered a mainstream horror author. (God knows why, after Header.)

 

Just read anything by West or Matt Shaw if you don’t believe me. Or dig a little harder and find the Barns Brothers and Crowley Barns or Adolf Lovecraft or Danger Slater or Jeff O’Brien and behold the grotesqueries. And if you’re one of those people who isn’t scared by the written word, then you’re reading the wrong books! There is such a thing as being desensitized by ambulance-chasing. You build up a tolerance, you see. So seek out the disgusting, perverted terror, and get scared again.

 

You know you want to.

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