You’ll notice that the tagline of our site does not say “horror fiction.”
That’s because here at the Library have an appreciation for non-fiction as well. Hell, we even like poetry. The good stuff anyway.
But for today’s installment of 31 Days of Halloween, we’re pleased to add a more academic voice to the discussion.
Jess Peacock is the author of Such a Dark Thing: Theology of the Vampire Narrative in Popular Culture from Wipf and Stock Publishers. He has contributed to ReligionDispatches.org, Rue Morgue, and Famous Monsters of Filmland, is the former editor-in-chief of Street Speech, a social justice publication produced by the Columbus (OH) Coalition for the Homeless, and regularly writes on everything from religion to pro wrestling to the horror genre at Such a Dark Thing: The Blog.
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31 Days of Halloween… with Jess Peacock
Describe a time when a scene in a horror novel really unnerved you or caused you to turn on all the lights.
There were several scenes within Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot that were not just scary, they tapped into a primal fear, that prehistoric or reptilian alarm system that warns us to venture no further or risk losing our grip on reality. For me, it was when schoolteacher Matt Burke climbed the steps of his home, knowing that some thing awaited him in the upstairs spare room. Susan Norton sat downstairs, trying to rationalize the sounds she heard as Burke confronted the undead Mike Ryerson, but the nightmarish truth was thrust upon her as she saw that ring on the upstairs carpet.
In your opinion, what is the all-time scariest horror novel or short story?
Salem’s Lot without a doubt. I had the honour of commemorating the 40th anniversary of the novel for Rue Morgue magazine last year, and named it the greatest vampire novel of all time in my book Such a Dark Thing: Theology of the Vampire Narrative in Popular Culture, where I wrote that it is “one of the scariest novels of all time, casting a long and ominous silhouette over all other vampire narratives before and after its publication, a veritable Marsten House of literary power. While set in the 1970s, the chills that King weaves throughout his dark tapestry are timeless and effective, an abiding fairy tale of ultimate evil basking in the pastoral mosaic of an imagined ‘real’ America that has never really existed.”
Top three fears?
* The death of one of my children.
* Sharks. I love the ocean, but I can’t help feeling nervous while swimming in it.