Yet when I thought about it there is a definite correlation between horror and my beloved crime fiction. Horror terrifies the reader or viewer with scary beings that may or may not be exist, (I’m a bet hedger by the way) while crime fiction deals with events which are real and can be found in almost any daily newspaper.
Okay I’ll admit that some books in the crime fiction genre are a bit fanciful, but they all play on the fears of the reader. Take the Bond books by Ian Fleming as an example, they all seem to have a megalomaniac who wants to rule the world or are a battle against Russians. While this may be a bit clichéd in today’s world, we must remember that they were mostly released during the late fifties and sixties when the cold war was at its most Arctic and the thoughts and fears of the populace were very different than they are today.
On the other hand there are some fantastic novels which could claim to be in either camp. Take The Shining by Stephen King, King is known for his out and out horror novels which have petrified millions of people over the decades, yet I feel The Shining is more of a psychological thriller than a straight horror tale. When you examine the story and observe Jack’s descent into madness you genuinely feel afraid for him and his family. There are no supernatural creatures whatsoever in the book or the film but who can forget Jack Nicholson’s face poking through the shattered door panel?
Another film and book which shocked was Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs. Boiled down to its essential story Silence of the Lambs is a police procedural with an informer called Hannibal Lector. However anyone who has ever read the book or seen the film will know it is so much more than that. Lector is a truly terrifying character who, when teamed up with the young and vulnerable Clarice Starling takes on an even more sinister role.
These crossovers work for me as they do for millions of others but I have tried reading and watching horror only to find myself underwhelmed. I have read a John Connolly book which was technically very good but too supernatural for me and I fell asleep in the cinema during Hellraiser 3
So which camp are you in, Crime or Horror? Answers on the back of a £20 note or in the comments section if you prefer.