Jonathan Janz, one of my most favorite people on the whole planet, has a busy December, what with his beautiful family, his students, and all of his commitments, but he didn't want to miss out on being a part of my Christmas Takeover, so after some discussion, we decided that him just doing a blog post would be perfectly acceptable.
Another Reason for Horror Fans to be Thankful
By: Jonathan Janz
My kids are running around the house, and I'm eager to be with them. I say that not to annoy you, but to explain my brevity. Life is short, and as always, my children are growing too fast.
I'm a person who believes in appreciating what I have and the positive things that happen, and maybe you're that way too. I'm thankful every day of my life for my wife and kids, for my job as a teacher and my other job as a writer. I'm thankful for all sorts of things.
You know what else I'm thankful for?
What's happening in horror.
Maybe I should change the word "horror" to something else, because if you remove that word and look around you - at the worlds of books, television shows, and movies - you find something incredible occurring. Not only has darker storytelling continued to bloom inside our genre, but it has so thoroughly permeated popular culture that folks who'd never admit to liking horror are now absolutely devouring it without realizing it.
And it's only going to get better.
You're holding a video camera. You're the cinematographer of an impromptu film. You also possess magical powers.
I want you to ignore gravity, to become weightless, to unmoor from the earth and rise, helium-like, above the entertainment world. What do you see?
I see Stephen King, the best horror writer of all time, still telling amazing stories. I see his contemporaries, writers like F. Paul Wilson, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tom F. Monteleone, still telling amazing stories. Go a little younger and you'll find writers like Joe R. Lansdale and Robert McCammon and Clive Barker writing some of the best fiction of their lives. Keep going, and you see authors like Brian Keene and Gillian Flynn and Paul Tremblay and Joe Hill and Sarah Pinborough and Stephen Graham Jones and... and...
And we can go all the way down to writers in their twenties who are already doing amazing things.
Folks, we're experiencing a multi-generational boom. And that's just in the world of the written word.
What about television? Stranger Things fits as snugly in the horror section as it does in sci-fi or mystery. American Horror Story and The Walking Dead? Clearly horror. Even stories that no one would ever call horror have been venturing into darker territory than anyone would have dreamed only fifteen years ago. Watch, for example, certain episodes of Breaking Bad and House of Cards and tell me there's no horror influence there.
And what of film?
Good gravy. I can't go to a movie these days without hearing the echoes of horror. Even kids' movies understand how important it is to make the Big Bad even badder. How vital it is to make the audience experience real fear.
Take Trolls, arguably the most innocuous kids' movie released this year. How about the antagonist in that one? She's never called a witch, but she might as well be one. Ripped straight from the pages of the Brothers Grimm, the fearsome villains in that film was enough to make my kids burrow closer to me and formidable enough to make me shake my head in admiration.
Even the sweetest kids' movies understand the importance of horror.
So this holiday season, I'm thankful for many things. Though it's not at the top of the list, one of those things is the current state of horror. Popular entertainment doesn't always call it horror these days because that would be admitting the fact that most folks enjoy horror, even though they'd never admit it.
But we know the truth.
Horror is beginning to explode.
About the author:
Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows "the best horror novel of 2012." The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, "reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub's Ghost Story."
In 2013, Samhain Horror published his novel of vampirism and human sacrifice The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, "Fans of old-school splatter punk horror - Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows - will find much to relish." Jonathan's Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre. Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a "Rousing-good weird western," and his sexual to The Sorrows Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014's top three novels. His newest release is called The Nightmare Girl. He has also written four novellas and several short stories.
His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author's wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliche happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at his website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.