HORROR FICTION – There are 2 main horror fiction sub genres, with further delineations and specificity. Classic slasher, serial killer and gore–undiluted by any paranormal or fantasy element–features a psychopath/s on a murderous killing spree. These always take place in a conventional world but flexibility happens at times with alternate timelines/ histories. Supernatural horror covers everything else: a creature, supernatural entity, monster, ghost, etc. These stories take place in a conventional world with the monster inserted. Or in an imagined world built from pure fantasy. Either variety (slasher or supernatural) can be told from the point of view of the killer/ monster, the victim or both. Obviously, some stories blend both elements. As part of speculative fiction (supernatural, fantasy, superhero, science fiction, horror, etc.), supernatural horror features worlds with fantasy or futuristic elements. Classic slasher is closely related to crime and thrillers, but the focus is on the act of terror itself, not the crime and investigation elements.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 1818
A scientist develops a technique to impart life into a non-living humanoid, pieced together from collected parts.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 1890
A hedonist wishes his image would age instead of himself. He experiments with every vice, influenced by a morally poisonous French novel. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker 1897
When a solicitor visits a Transylvanian castle, he soon realizes he’s the Count’s prisoner.

The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft 1928
A writer working on a manuscript discovers a cult that worships the Great Old Ones and awaits the return of a monstrous being.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson 1959
A paranormal investigator rents Hill House for a summer, inviting guests who have had past paranormal encounters.

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty 1971
Two priests attempt to exorcise a demon from the 12 year old daughter of a famous actress.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice 1976
A vampire tells a reporter about an encounter, whereby another vampire turned him into his immortal companion.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King 1983

When a doctor and his family moves into a new house, his elderly neighbor warns him about the highway that runs past them.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis 1991

An investment banker narrates his midnight murders in Manhattan during the late 80s. 

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill 2007
An aging collector of the macabre gets more than he bargained for when he buys a heart-shaped box. 



HARDBOILED FICTION – Both hardboiled and noir crime fiction are rooted in dime novels, muckraking newspapers and pulp novels beginning in the depression and eventually going out of fashion by the sixties. A hardboiled protagonist is a cynical detective caught up in aftermath of violent crime or a corrupt legal system very often portrayed as an antihero. A noir protagonist is a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator with a self-destructive streak often put in a position to victimize self or others, trapped in a losing situation. The following are some of my favorites. Enjoy! ­­­­

The Maltese Falcon (1930)
Dashiell Hammett
When a detective’s partner is shot, he finds trouble, desperate to track down a valuable treasure.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)
James Cain
A drifter gets himself caught up in a bizarre love triangle.

The Big Sleep (1939)
Raymond Chandler
A PI agrees to help a family with a case of gambling debt but once the murders begin, he finds himself in over his head.

The Black Curtain (1941)
Cornell Woolrich
An amnesiac can’t remember anything yet finds himself identified as a murder suspect.

I, The Jury (1947)
Mickey Spillane
A tough detective investigates the brutal murder of his best friend.

The Nine Wrong Answers 1952
John Dickson Carr
A whodunit featuring a series of nine incorrect answers, leading up to the final correct answer.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
Patricia Highsmith
A father gets more trickery than he bargained for when he asks a supposed friend for help to convince his playboy son to come home.