In keeping with the spooky season, the Beauregard Parish Library presents for your consideration...

History of Horror

This feature is limited to the month of October with each Thursday's article containing information about the evolution of horror and items that you may be interested in checking out to learn more. Read on for the conclusion of our history of horror series.

In 1957, Ed Gein, a Wisconsin farmer, was arrested for the murder of Bernice Worden. When authorities searched Gein's home, they discovered the remains of at least fifteen women. Once captured, Gein admitted to exhuming bodies and cannibalism. The story of Gein inspired Robert Bloch's screenplay Psycho; it also created the serial killer archetype which has become a mainstay for horror literature.

This concept of an undetected killer at home was in stark contrat to another popular trope of the time. The concept of external threat, evidenced in the communal fears regarding The Cold War, were reflected in novels and screenplays with possession and abduction themes. Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist are two of the most popular examples. Stephen King's Carrie and Peter Benchley's Jaws rounded out the 1970s with monstrous tales. While the monster tale has always been popular, cinematic versions of short horror stories saw a heyday in the 1970s with increased public interest. This also provided an opportunity to create gritty killer-themed flicks, and the slasher film was born. In this resurgence of horror-philia, the vampire mythos was resurrected with the publication of the intensely popular Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. This, too, was later made into a very successful movie.

In the 1980s and 1990s, horror saw a comedic turn with screenplays and short stories that had fun with classic fear-inducing concepts. Movies like Dracula: Dead and Loving It and the Goosebumps tween horror series brought a lighter side to horror, growing its mass appeal and forming a solid base of horror fans who grew up loving the genre.

More recently, graphic novel-inspired television shows like The Walking Dead, I, Zombie, and Preacher, combine traditional horror aspects with philosophical and cultural nods. These horror television series pay homage to classic tropes but sink their characters in modern ethical and philosophical quagmires.

Horror fiction is seeing a revitalization through web series, podcasts, blogs, and forums. One of the most popular subreddits is, in fact /NoSleep, a sub dedicated to individuals telling their "true" accounts of terrifying experiences and a space for the suspension of disbelief. In fact, horror fiction has come full circle: tales told on dark nights around a dying fire to shared stories on web forums.

Where might the next dark tale rise? We don't know, but it will be crouched, waiting with dripping fangs at your local library.

You can check out short story collections, e-books, and watch movies related to science fiction and horror by utilizing your library card. Some recommendations are , Rags and bones : new twists on timeless tales, Draculaby Bram Stoker, The Vampire Book : the Encyclopedia of the Undeadby J. Gordon Melton.

We know that not every horror pick will appeal to every patron, but not to worry! If you need help selecting something, we have online tools like Book Browse and our Online Catalog, or you can ask one of our friendly staff members to help search for you.

Be sure to watch our website next Thursday to learn all about 20th century horror fiction and receive great recommendations for spooktacular reads.