Danse Macabre by Stephen King and the Introduction to Dark Descent, ed. by David Hartwell

The introduction to Dark Descent talks more specifically about short horror fiction than Danse Macabre src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=storyofdance-20&l=as2&o=1&a=042518160X” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” /> does. Where Danse Macabre wanders all over the horror-scape, from movies to novels and occasionally to short stories, Dark Descent (naturally, being the introduction to a volume of short stories) talks about short fiction and suggests the best horror stories are stories, not novels or movies.

I don’t have much of an opinion on that; I’m afraid to watch or read most of what I consider “horror.� At the same time, I love the Alien series, which King calls horror but I have always thought of (or maybe ‘rationalized’) as science fiction. I also enjoy thrillers, and reading King’s book and Hartwell’s introduction has me wondering whether I might be playing the same psychological game my grandfather did when he said he didn’t like chocolate, but loved Devil’s Food cake. A rose by any other name might be less frightening, in this case?

I wish Danse Macabre had been written more recently, and so commented on movies more recent than 1980. That might give me a better chance to compare, and see if perhaps I’ve liked some horror all along. Would The Sixth Sense be horror? It scared the bejeesus out of me… What about Dead Again, which I love, or Kalifornia, or the very recent Altered? I’m pretty sure Altered would qualify as horror, although – like Alien – it also has science fictional elements.

I guess I’m still wondering where the line is between a horror story and a story that has some frightening parts in it. Not every story that has some romance in it is a romance story, so I would assume not every story with a little fright in it is horror. But where’s the line? My dad found The X-Files too scary to watch, but I never considered them horror. Or are they?

One section I really found interesting in Danse Macabre was his discussion of the three types of monsters. Because of that, I now think I’d like to read Dracula, and that it might be a very good idea to do so. Not that I don’t know the story; I’ve seen the movie. But to read it for all that the movie left out, for all the nuance and ambience. Plus, it seems only right, considering I’m writing a novel about vampires myself.