I’ve got a bit of travel on in the next few weeks, which means there will be some articles coming – and I’d love to tell you about my start to finish resources that I use as an author (from AppSumo to ZZZZZ), Five essential author tools (including Evernote), and Sleep Hygiene for horror writers. […]
Welcome to Shaun Allan’s Darker Places tour. Today, Shaun is sharing some of his favorite horror TV shows!
What if you could steal the final moments from the dying? What if you had the darkest secret, but couldn’t think what it might be? What if you entered the forest in the deep of the night. Who is the melting man? And are your neighbours really whom they appear to be?
So many questions.
To find the answers, you must enter a darker place. Thirteen stories. Thirteen poems. Thirteen more doorways.
Darkness and madness
“There is Darkness and Madness in each of us. We must do battle with our own demons”
I think that the greatest horror comes from within – we do battle with our fears and the demons that live inside us daily. That’s why horror speaks to us – it’s the things that, deep inside, make us tremble, or repulse us. The best horror reaches into us and squeezes all of the primal bits that make us feel…alive.
But, I think there’s another kind of darkness and another kind of horror. One that comes from things that are so big, they consume us. It’s a bit of a renaissance in some ways; we have some of the most amazing, chilling and outright crazy horror in the last few years, so I thought I’d talk about some of the shows that I’ve been enjoying lately, and ask you what you think.
How TV shows play on our greatest fears
When you look at TV now, it’s pretty obvious that shows are getting smarter, slicker and the narrative quality is designed to suck you in. And when you’re sucked into a horror show you experience it in a different way from books. Your imagination is given a rest in some ways, but in others, you’re given more fuel to enjoy, relive or scare yourself with later. I’ve spent the last few months binging on horror – on Netflix and Amazon, and I have to say, if you’re a horror fan, there’s an amazing variety out there!
Supernatural and Grimm
I have to admit, Supernatural and Grimm aren’t traditional horror, but both are great series’ using elements that also appear in horror. Supernatural has turned from a story about monster hunters, taking on the traditional tropes to something that’s smart enough to make fun of itself, while telling a story of angels, demons, monsters and more.
Grimm is another story that takes the traditional pieces and twists it on their heads. Grimm is another monster hunter – one that can see monsters that normal humans can’t. And while it’s more ‘family friendly’ (or at least teen friendly!), it’s still got some really clever storylines, designed to make you really think. And the Hexenbeasts…
From appearances in other shows, to The Strain, Hemlock Grove (with Werewolves and other supernatural creatures) and True Blood (random Triva – Bill and Alexander Skarsgård are brothers – Roman plays a vampire in Hemlock Grove, Alexander in True Blood. And their Dad (Stellan) is the scientist in the Thor/Avengers movies!), to name but a few, there’s a dearth of vamp shows out there that are worth people’s time. And some that aren’t. My favorite so far has been ‘The Strain’, but I’ve got a soft spot for most vampire stories that don’t use tropes as crutches.
Gothic and revival horror
One of the biggest standouts from last year for me has to be ‘True Detective’. It was an incredibly slick, gothic horror story that crept along instead of jumping out and scaring the life out of you. I’ve also enjoyed American Horror Story and Penny Dreadful. But I’ve also quite enjoyed both Whitechapel and Ripper Street – there’s something about the retelling of stories that have no clear resolution that makes them especially terrifying.
I’ve tried to use all of the shows I’ve been watching recently to influence my stories – directly when I wrote Mr Composure, but indirectly too – I enjoy my down time and use stories to both test my deductive skills (and try and guess what’s going on!), and to see what others are doing, where the fresh takes are and what they inspire in me. Reading and watching a variety of media is the only way to feed our imaginations. But, given it’s horror, it’s also led to a LOT of sleepless nights!
What are your favorite shows?
A writer of many prize winning short stories and poems, Shaun Allan has written for more years than he would perhaps care to remember. Having once run an online poetry and prose magazine, he has appeared on Sky television to debate, against a major literary agent, the pros and cons of internet publishing as opposed to the more traditional method. Many of his personal experiences and memories are woven into Sin’s point of view and sense of humour although he can’t, at this point, teleport.
Follow Shaun on his Social media accounts!
And of course, we’re running an event today on Facebook!