Whenever I do a school event, I always ask this question: “How many of you have watched films your parents don’t know about/would disapprove of?” And you know what? Every time I ask it, I get a sea of hands in the air!
Horror is kind of dangerous, isn’t it? Whether reading it or watching it, we’re scared to find out what happens next, but we can’t help ourselves. I can imagine it’s been like this since we humans first started telling stories round fires outside caves. Why? Well, if you’ve just hunted a mammoth and barely survived with your life, you’re going to tell a great story and have loads of listeners on the edge of their seat! But if you come back and say, “Yeah, well, it was easy really,” and that’s about it, no one’s really going to want to listen, are they?
We like a good tale. We also like one that’s exciting, scary, dangerous, weird, exhausting… And I’ve always preferred books that make me nervous to find out what’s going to happen to the point where I’m breathless as I turn to the next chapter.
I remember as a kid creeping downstairs in the middle of the night, so as not to wake the parents, to watch a horror movie on TV, because I really don’t want them to know that I’d just seen a head explode in full-blown technicolour, and some terrifying demon launch itself at the next hapless victim, claws dripping in blood…
So that’s why I write horror. I want to write the kind of stuff that you hope to god your parents don’t find under your bed or in your school bag because, at heart I’m still 12, sitting up watching late-night splatter fests, and hoping my parents don’t find out. And you know what? I’m just fine with that.