Author Topic: "Quiet horror." Still the darling of the horror genre?  (Read 5412 times)  

Offline Paula Cappa

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"Quiet horror." Still the darling of the horror genre?
« on: September 25, 2013, 10:05:02 AM »
Do you like to read quiet horror rather than the high violence/slasher stories? I'm more of a vegetarian than a rare-beef eater when it comes to horror stories. Who is your favorite quiet horror author or title? How do you identify a quiet horror novel from one that is the traditional horror? Is a book cover enough indication?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 03:50:04 AM by Betsy the Quilter »

 
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Offline dkgould

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 10:15:40 AM »
I think a lot of "quiet horror" isn't necessarily categorized as horror, so it can be difficult to find.  Sure, Poe is pretty obvious, but what about Kipling?  Or Joseph Conrad?  Those would be my picks.  It's hard to think of many modern authors that do this well, and I don't think it's because they aren't out there.  I think they just get lost in the louder, more garish horror or placed in another genre altogether.  Wish I could find them though, it's one of my favorite types of books to read.

Offline Adele Hutchinson

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 11:05:53 AM »
I just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane and really enjoyed it.  I had never read a Neil Gaiman book and glad that a friend loaned it to me.  I think this is a genre I will read more of in the future.  I usually stick to the typical horror, but do like Poe and a few other authors.
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Offline James Everington

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 12:15:06 PM »
Good post - Charles L Grant had some brilliant stories, although I can't pretend to know all of his work well.

Shirley Jackson and Robert Aickman maybe qualify as "quiet", I'm not sure. But they're both great, so who cares.

Offline KateDanley

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 12:25:14 PM »
There was a book I read as a kid called Wise Child which scared the BEJEEZUS out of me.  I was so terrified, I had to put the book in my closet, close the door, leave my bedroom, close that door, and sit down in the living room with all the lights on.  There wasn't anything gory or graphic about it, it was just... creepy...  I recently saw The Woman in Black on the West End and that play scared us audience members so much that we were too scared to clap and the actors had to come out at the curtain call and tell us that the play was over and it was safe.  We broke out into rapturous applause.  Again, nothing graphic or violent to the story... just... escalating thrills...  I don't enjoy horror or gore, but I thoroughly enjoy the thrills of quietly creepy.

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Offline Joel Arnold

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 12:48:32 PM »
I think 'quiet horror' can often be the creepiest, scariest type of horror. Read MR James' "The Mezzotint" for example. (I'm pretty sure you can find this for free if you do a Google search - it was written in the 1800s).

Offline beccaprice

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 12:55:40 PM »
I don't enjoy even quietly creepy books - which is giving me pause, since The Ocean At the End of the Lane is my book club's next selection.

for me it's a case of self-defense: what I read or watch (tv, movies) has a strong effect on me that can take days to shake. I'm bipolar, and the wrong movie or book can destabilize my hard-won stability.

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Offline Austin_Briggs

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 01:03:49 PM »
There was a book I read as a kid called Wise Child which scared the BEJEEZUS out of me.  I was so terrified, I had to put the book in my closet, close the door, leave my bedroom, close that door, and sit down in the living room with all the lights on.  There wasn't anything gory or graphic about it, it was just... creepy...  I recently saw The Woman in Black on the West End and that play scared us audience members so much that we were too scared to clap and the actors had to come out at the curtain call and tell us that the play was over and it was safe.  We broke out into rapturous applause.  Again, nothing graphic or violent to the story... just... escalating thrills...  I don't enjoy horror or gore, but I thoroughly enjoy the thrills of quietly creepy.

Never heard of this book but it looks awesome! So sad its only available in paper, Id have bought it in a sec.


Offline KateDanley

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2013, 09:01:15 AM »
Never heard of this book but it looks awesome! So sad its only available in paper, Id have bought it in a sec.

Sadly, I tracked down a copy at a library a few years ago and it doesn't hold up to an adult read.  But as a kid?  Oh man.  SO SCARY!

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Offline Barrymore Tebbs

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2013, 09:07:18 AM »
Thomas Tryon is the best. Harvest Home and The Other are two of the finest examples of 20th Century quiet horror.

Offline Eric C

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2013, 09:40:21 AM »
I'd never heard of "quiet horror" before, and I frankly hate the phrase. Not very descriptive, really. "Classic horror" is more like it IMO.

Offline Sophrosyne

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2013, 09:42:47 AM »
LOL. I guess I write quiet horror. I've never heard of that term before.

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2013, 09:55:52 AM »
I loved Grant's work and bounced about a dozen stories of mine over the years trying to break into one of his Greystone Bay anthologies.

Funny thing is - most of my work is pretty loud and wet.

I came closest to hitting that "quiet" horror mark with my horror-historical novel DEVIL TREE - which one reviewer pronounced as a "cross between Dostoyevsky and Poe".

I took that as high praise - but I still figure that reviewer needs to clean his glasses some...  ;)

Offline christianem

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2013, 10:41:46 AM »
I'm thinking quiet horror = literary horror? Like the ones by Shirley Jackson and Lovecraft (all my fave authors)? Those kinds of books and the ones written by Koontz, Straub, and King are all no-brainer one-clicks for me still. I don't mind blood and gore but I'd rather they have the feel of The Forest of Hands and Teeths rather than a novel version of Saw (which I hate).

Offline Barrymore Tebbs

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2013, 03:30:12 PM »
I'd never heard of "quiet horror" before, and I frankly hate the phrase. Not very descriptive, really. "Classic horror" is more like it IMO.

"Quiet Horror" is usually sly and deceptive, slow to build, with a shocking reveal at the end. A number of Daphne du Maurier's macabre short stories fit into this category, as well as Shirley Jackson. I've been reading fiction since the early 70s and the style was very common in the third quarter of the century, pre Exorcist and Stephen King.  One of my stories fits the mold and I know a few of our peers who have taken a stab at it. For those of us writing today it is an exercise in restraint both in style and plot.

Ruth Barrett's literary gem Base Spirits is a brilliant representation of the style written in the past few years.

Offline Nell Gavin

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2013, 03:32:37 PM »
I recently saw The Woman in Black on the West End and that play scared us audience members so much that we were too scared to clap and the actors had to come out at the curtain call and tell us that the play was over and it was safe.  We broke out into rapturous applause.  Again, nothing graphic or violent to the story... just... escalating thrills... 

Wow. What a testimonial for a play! It sounds like the actors were used to this, if they knew what to say to the audience at the end, right?

Nell Gavin

Offline Paula Cappa

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2013, 06:08:51 PM »
Gee, thanks to everyone for such great comments! This "quiet horror" genre, which I thought was in not a popular term, seems to be getting some real traction. I think it's often hard to identify quiet horror novels until you read them, and yes, it's classic horror and literary horror too. I write quiet horror too as some of you have mentioned (Night Sea Journey and The Dazzling Darkness). I just can't handle all the blood gore that's out there. I loved Susan Hill's The Woman in Black. I've been reading the short stories by Charles L. Grant and I find them so deep. It takes a very skilled writer to go that deep. Like Poe and MR James.

 
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Offline Joseph Turkot

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2013, 06:15:23 PM »
I love it. I write in the genre, and read it--primarily Poe as of late. My shorts, House for Sale and Living Alone, fall into this genre, and so will my forthcoming full-length book.

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Offline Paula Cappa

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2013, 12:07:33 PM »
Hey Joseph, so you write and sell in quiet horror genre? Do you pitch your stories as quiet horror? I'm wondering if that's a good sales pitch or not. Any clues? I saw your BookBub post. Were the giveaways worth it?

 
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Offline Doglover

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2013, 12:53:00 PM »
Do you like to read quiet horror rather than the high violence/slasher stories? I'm more of a vegetarian than a rare-beef eater when it comes to horror stories. Who is your favorite quiet horror author or title? How do you identify a quiet horror novel from one that is the traditional horror? Is a book cover enough indication?

If that is the criteria for quiet horror, it is all I have ever read.  I do not like blood and guts or violence.  Stephen King is without doubt the master, but I still enjoy Edgar Allen Poe if I'm in the mood!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 03:50:38 AM by Betsy the Quilter »


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Offline TattooedWriter

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2013, 01:21:57 PM »
Yes. Ramsey Campbell is one of my favourite writers of quiet horror. Some his stories are genuinely disturbing.

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2013, 05:41:41 AM »
Interesting blog post, thanks for sharing. I always needed a better term for the horror stories I write, and I think this is it. I don't do the over-the-top gore stuff, but more psychological. If I ever put them back up, I'll make sure to use this category.

Always loved Poe, Ramsey Campbell, Shirley Jackson (still have nightmares about The Lottery), Roald Dahl, and others. My teachers must have wondered about me when they learned the kind of stuff I was reading in middle school. :D
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Offline TattooedWriter

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2013, 05:54:38 AM »
I just downloaded "Harvest Home" to my Kindle  :)

Offline PiiaBre

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2013, 06:23:32 AM »
Creepy is my bread and butter. I also love to read it.

Give me a mystery with something vaguely supernatural going on, and I am all over it like flannel.
My favourite trope is the haunted house. Is it really haunted or is it all in his/her head? I don't know, but I want to find out.


Offline Glynn James

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Re: "Quiet horror." Do you read this subgenre?
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2013, 06:33:31 AM »
The creepy horror has always been my favourite genre, especially with a bit of supernatural, or other worldly thrown in.
Mr King is still the King.
Such as shame that we lost some big names in the genre this year.


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