History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

29 October 2010

In Honor of Halloween: What Scares You?

I'm not a fan of horror movies---you know the chase-em and chop-em up kind of scream/shock movies that are just violent for the sake of being violent. Hate em in fact. Boring, abusive, and I admit I've never seen a whole one.

I do, however, enjoy a good Gothic romance, with a big old haunted mansion and ghostly dead (or sometimes not so dead) first wife in the attic. I also like the spooky grave side scene in Wuthering Heights (poor, crazy Heathcliff), and I even quite enjoyed the oldie "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." Truly, a love story like no other.

I am also always interested in the history, the ghostly history, of battlefields, old houses and castles, maybe because the ghosts are from long ago and there is a human element to the story I can relate to as a historical writer---great loves and losses, tragedy and triumph, with heroes and heroines who were real. Civil war ghost stories draw me in. Civil war and Victorian ghost and sightings are so sad (particularly of women and children), but often not scary.

So what does scare me? I think Stephen King said it best (paraphrased): To walk into an empty room and find a rocking chair rocking...

And I would add finding that rocking chair rocking when you assumed you were alone in the house...now THAT is scary. THAT is also why I don't read some of Stephen King's stuff. It keeps me up at night. But, damn he is good. I just wish he'd write a Gothic romance (keep wishing, Kathrynn).

How about you? What makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Ever read anything that scary? Do you have a favorite scary passage from a romance?

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Blogger Isobel Carr said...

My little sister (who is a a HUGE horror buff) doesn't like King. She refers to his stuff as " . . . and then the aliens arrived." (I think that's a Tommyknockers reference).

Me? I like spooky, but not slasher (which I think is what you're saying you're attracted to as well). That said, I'm a Supernatural addict, so I'm not clearly not opposed to blood and gore and action with my spook, LOL!

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Lynna Banning said...

The Ghost & Mrs. Muir is one of my all-time favorite romance tales! Something about it "speaks" to me, and I think maybe it's the ghost...

10:55 AM  
Anonymous kathrynn dennis said...

Isobel, me too....I can tolerate a little gore in the name of supernatural...but not much. Gimmee romance, please!

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Kathrynn Dennis said...

Hey, Lynna! Wow, another person who's a fan of Mrs. Muir's Ghost. I like the old black and white 1947 movie especially. Pure fantasy, of course, because if I was Mrs. Muir, I would have been shaking in my lace-up boots and gotten the heck outa that cottage!

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Karen Rose's books. Even the gore works.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Susan/DC said...

It's now post-Halloween, but I wanted to mention an old horror movie that I found frightening, romantic, and sad: Cat Woman (1942). It's about Irena, a young Serbian woman who has married an American. She's afraid that if they are intimate she will turn into a big cat and kill her husband, whom she loves very much. You never see her as a cat, and at times you wonder if she is a bit crazy. The movie has a number of scenes that are quite frightening, such as one where one of her husband's coworkers is swimming in an indoor pool one evening by herself. You hear the cat but don't see it, and the light and shadows on the tiled walls is shot in a way that is off-balance and claustrophobic and you wonder how the woman will escape, or even if she will escape. In another scene Irena is herself frightened of the monster she may become and afraid of losing her husband's love; she moves her hand along a sofa pillow and you see that she had left claw marks. It's all rather subtle and you feel sympathy for her as well as frightened for her and the other characters.

7:40 PM  

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