Sunday, January 25, 2015

Doing the Monster Mash

by Nancy Gideon

My first brush with the paranormal was on late night Creature Feature when I’d sneak downstairs to be scared witless watching monster movies with my older sister. Dracula, Wolfman, The Blob, Frankenstein, Swamp Thing . . . I wouldn’t sleep a wink all night sure every creak and groan of our old house meant something was trying to get in.

It wasn’t until I was older that I understood that the allure of these creatures wasn't just the fright factor. I discovered a strange affinity, not for the crusading hero, but for the tragic monster. In these poor maligned beasts, I found an appealing humanity, the want to be loved, accepted, to belong. Sorta like the wounded heroes of the books I’d begun to read . . . only with a bit more bite. Isn't it the hint of danger and potential threat that makes the dark hero one of our favorites? Isn't it the nobility of the marauding monster that makes you feel sad when it's destroyed because its intention was misunderstood or because it was only defending its own right to survive?

I’ve taken up the cause of those powerful yet vulnerable beings in my vampire and shape-shifter series, to redeem the undesirable and frightening. But it wasn’t until I was offered the chance to write about truly monstrous monsters when approached by ambitious young director Lynn Drzick in the mid-‘90s to do a novelization based on his horror screenplay for a soon-to-be filmed horror Indie that I got back to the roots of my fascination.

IN THE WOODS is a monster story. It has real human heroes— firefighters who’d stumbled upon a terrible secret trying to protect those they love and police officers tracking down a vicious serial killer to save their community. But it also has the creature factor with not just one, but TWO unnatural beings tearing up the scenery, one with a mindless instinct and the other with intelligent purpose. Bring those four separate pieces together and . . . well, use your wildest imagination. I did. And it was gloriously gory fun!

IN THE WOODS just had its 15 Year Anniversary as a classic horror film and is about to be released on Blu-ray (with a commentary track I just recorded with the director and leading man DJ Perry! Squee! Movieaholic fangirling! More about that on my recent blog post . . .) and on Video On Demand, so what a perfect time to resurrect the novelization!

Hundreds of years ago their battle began . . .

In an age of knights and sorcery, a good king must raise a monster to protect his people from the demon unleashed by a dark-hearted enemy determined to claim his kingdom. But once called forth upon blood-drenched fields, can such evil ever be truly laid to rest?

To a present day community held hostage by fear, a serial killer will soon be the least of its worries after two off-duty firefighters enter a forest and find a grave. What they dig up isn’t a victim or family pet. When they race from the woods, they bring a timeless hell with them . . .

"Horror and mystery combine to delight readers with a work reminiscent of early King." -- The Mystery Zone

"Horror at its finest and most eerie!" -- Midwest Book Review

"Horror fans be on the look-out for this terrifyingly delicious novel!" -- Vampyres

IN THE WOODS is currently available on Kindle, but will soon be released in other e-formats as well as paperback. Get in touch with your inner beast while waiting for Penny Dreadful to return to Showtime!

What monsters did you secretly cheer for when you were growing up? How about now?


Margo Hoornstra said...

Nancy. Bringing the danger and horror of the past to modern day makes the virtual trip all the more, well, horror ridden! Sounds like a fascinating story - with a happy ending I hope? ;-) Best of luck and much success.

Melissa Keir said...

Congrats on your book! Horror movies are a fan favorite and I'm sure your book will be too! All the best!

Jolana Malkston said...

Nancy, when I was younger, I secretly rooted for The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.) because he didn't ask for what happened to him. He wasn't evil. He was bitten by a werewolf while trying to help save someone else. I kept hoping the gypsy woman would cure him. Even today, The Wolfman is my all-time favorite movie shape-shifter monster because he was a heroic and romantic yet tragic figure. Because he became a werewolf, he lost the woman he loved and his life. His fate was heartbreaking.

Congrats on the book anniversary!