Horror Movies and Writing

The coexistence of books and movies goes back to the first time our theaters began flashing out the black and white films of yesteryear. Being a horror movie fan myself, I find that watching those movies, the old ones to the new, that they all have their own story to tell no matter how similar they may appear to the average or casual viewer. Within those stories that are portrayed on film, are the written works that inspired the acting, producing, and directing. Whether a screenplay, short story, or a novel inspired the movie, the movie becomes what the viewer digests and takes home with him or her. The impression from that can be good or bad and in that two or so hours of watching, the viewer forms an opinion about the movie and all involved, from the actors to the movie staff and crew. Hidden behind the scenes in all of that are the writers; the ones who penned the script, either in book form or from their own original screenplay. This is where the two connect.

As a writer of horror I have found that many ideas for my stories come from deep and dark places in my mind as well as seeing things that inspire a thought and then turn it into a twisted form of horror. When I take those thoughts and begin the process of writing my stories; many times those ideas turn into its own sort of movie in my head, and thus the story plays out on paper, or in digital form on a computer screen.

Everyone who writes has their own ideas of how writing a story should be done. Some say there should be an outline made, then the plot, and then the body of words will fill the page. Some say you should never play your story as a movie in your head as you write. “That is not how it’s done!” they scream. All of these are just opinions of course, with some having a good basis and foundation for consideration by this author. But as I write, I see the story taking place in my head and if the reel starts spinning and the lights hit the screen, I seem to hit the keyboard faster, the words flow, and the story is told through my mind’s eye.

Horror is something that can be told in many forms. When watching a horror movie you get to see what the writer and director intend for you to experience. The blood, guts, and gore are all part of a visual that can be achieved excellently, if done right. There is nothing like a well-made horror movie, but it’s much more than just the visual. The plot, and setting up each scary scene can be done through good writing. The so-called build up of a perfect, horrifying moment on screen can be crafted through the writer’s own movie playing in his or her head. For horror movies as well as for my writing, I feel that works well.

After a few disappointing efforts on the big screen based on some of Stephen King’s novels, King began to change his new agreements or contracts with the movie studios that approached him wanting to make the next big hit. He wanted more control of the presentation of his work to the big screen. What it really came down to was simple. The vision he had in his mind as he wrote his horror was not being translated over to the movie side of the projects. He felt that the movies lost the message, but more importantly, the artistic vision of the movie playing in his own mind.
Of course that is only one example, but Mr. King is a major player in the horror market. Undoubtedly there are many more who feel the same way he does and we are seeing a lot more involvement form the authors who pen a project to be played in movie theaters or on television. This topic will continue to evolve as the working relationship with writers and movie makers grows closer.

Going back to my earlier point, I like to write my stories by seeing the movie, playing the movie, and telling the movie in my head. Correct or not, that style of writing works for me and that has always made me aware of how and why horror movies and books are, and will always be connected. ~ALJ~


  1. Cool post, and very timely for me, since I just compiled a list of Stephen King stories that involve haunted cars or deadly drives. If you happen to know of any fiction that involves similar themes, please let me know!

    1. Thank you for reading. Very timely indeed. I will look through my collection and see what I can find. But for now I can tell you that in my book Purgatory, two of the thirteen stories involve a haunted car and driving a dead body through two states in the other. The names of the short stories are Prized Possession and Road Trip.

      1. Thanks for responding. And thanks for letting me know about your book, Purgatory. Those stories sound great, and I look forward to picking up a copy. I’ll be sure to start checking for it!

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