Almost Horror, Not Quite

Have you ever read a story that, although it had the right elements to be a horror story, didn’t feel as though it fully fit into the horror category? I’ve had that experience many times while searching for content for this website and what convinced me to do this article was Maurice Leblanc’s The Secret of Sarek (aka Coffin Island). When I first started reading it, it seemed like it was going to turn out to be a 1920’s version of The Wicker Man (or maybe I should cite the film’s literary inspiration instead), but the ending of the novel proved me wrong. Don’t get me wrong; it was a great read. It was just not what I originally expected it to be. Here are all of the stories I’ve come across over the years that fall into this unique situation:

“The Open Window” by Saki
“A Ghost Story” by Mark Twain
“A Predicament” by Edgar Allan Poe
The Secret of Sarek by Maurice Leblanc
“The Birth-mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Mummy’s Foot” by Théophile Gautier
“The Bottle Imp” by Robert Louis Stevenson
“John Mortonson’s Funeral” by Ambrose Bierce
“Trilby and the Ghost” by Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw

As you can, see the majority of authors noted above are known for their horror stories, so their work here is even more interesting as a result. Poe’s story, which was originally published as “The Scythe of Time,” is notable for its companion piece “How to Write a Blackwood Article,” another humorous work by Poe that mocks the generic horror yarns that often appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine. Twain’s tale is based on the events noted here (NSFW) and Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw is also responsible for “Zero Punctuation” and the story has a loose connection to his “Chzo Mythos.” I should also note that while most of the works above are in the public domain, Mr. Croshaw’s story is copyrighted and won’t become PD for a looooong time.

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  1. […] readers of the site should be very familiar with the humorous work of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. However, what they might not realize […]

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