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Faces Of Fear: Encounters With the Creators of Modern Horror

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Interviews with writers of modern horror, including Richard Matheson, script writer of "The Twilight Zone" and authors William Peter Blatly ("The Exorcist"), Robert Bloch ("Psycho"), James Herbert ("The Rats" and "The Fog") and Stephen King ("Carrie" and "Salem's Lot"). Interviews with writers of modern horror, including Richard Matheson, script writer of "The Twilight Zone" and authors William Peter Blatly ("The Exorcist"), Robert Bloch ("Psycho"), James Herbert ("The Rats" and "The Fog") and Stephen King ("Carrie" and "Salem's Lot").


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Interviews with writers of modern horror, including Richard Matheson, script writer of "The Twilight Zone" and authors William Peter Blatly ("The Exorcist"), Robert Bloch ("Psycho"), James Herbert ("The Rats" and "The Fog") and Stephen King ("Carrie" and "Salem's Lot"). Interviews with writers of modern horror, including Richard Matheson, script writer of "The Twilight Zone" and authors William Peter Blatly ("The Exorcist"), Robert Bloch ("Psycho"), James Herbert ("The Rats" and "The Fog") and Stephen King ("Carrie" and "Salem's Lot").

30 review for Faces Of Fear: Encounters With the Creators of Modern Horror

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jack Tripper

    I'm a sucker for "insider"-type books and articles dealing with the 80's horror fiction boom, but unfortunately there's not much out there unless one wants to dig into the horror magazines of old like Midnight Graffiti, Twilight Zone, Whispers, Horror Show, etc. I became a fan in 1989, when the market was still in full swing (though showing signs of collapsing under its own weight), but as I was only 10 I wasn't quite old enough to fully appreciate how good us horror fans had it. I just thought I'm a sucker for "insider"-type books and articles dealing with the 80's horror fiction boom, but unfortunately there's not much out there unless one wants to dig into the horror magazines of old like Midnight Graffiti, Twilight Zone, Whispers, Horror Show, etc. I became a fan in 1989, when the market was still in full swing (though showing signs of collapsing under its own weight), but as I was only 10 I wasn't quite old enough to fully appreciate how good us horror fans had it. I just thought there would always be spinner racks filled with dozens upon dozens of garish, tasteless foil-stamped paperbacks at all the grocery stores. Douglas E. Winter was sort of the S.T. Joshi of 80s horror, in that he took the genre seriously, and wrote about it eloquently, with an exhaustive knowledge of its history and its trends. Here, he interviews the top dogs of the era (unfortunately the book had to be in before he had a chance to sit with Karl Wagner), and the authors all provide great insight into the writing process, and the horror scene in general. Winter is an excellent interviewer (the questions are mostly kept off-page), allowing the writers to speak at length on various topics, including their personal life, their influences, and the reasons they got into the horror biz. The highlights for me were Michael McDowell's and T.E.D Klein's interviews. McDowell talks about his "death artifact" collection, how he feels life is pretty much a joke, and why he's proud to be the author of paperback originals. "I am writing things to be put in the bookstore next month. And I think that's important. I think it is a mistake to try to write for the ages." T.E.D. Klein, who at the time was editor of Twilight Zone Magazine, lets us know how much he hates to write (as opposed to his love of editing other people's stories): "I still find writing fiction terrifically hard. I sometimes wish I could just jot down stray little thoughts in a notebook, and that someone would be willing to publish that." This may explain the near 30-year wait for his mythical sophomore novel, Nighttown. Whitley Strieber shows signs of the crackpot, tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist he would soon become, but he provides a chilling first-hand account of his survival of the Charles Whitman shootings at the University of Texas in 1966. The rest of the interviews are all worth reading, and topics range from serious subjects like poverty-stricken upbringings (James Herbert) and religion (many of the writers are atheist or agnostic, but most are religious in some way), to humorous asides such as the Playboy Bunny waitress who wants Charles Grant's autograph (Grant's interview took place at the Manhattan Playboy Club). Stephen King speaks in his usual chummy parlance about the joys and perils of being a brand name. The only real disappointment is that the lone female author included is V.C. Andrews -- who seemed to know nothing about horror and had no interest anyway -- and not someone like Anne Rice. The interviews were done a year or two before writers like Lisa Tuttle, Kathryn Ptacek, and Melanie Tem had made a name for themselves (and Tanith Lee was still mostly considered a fantasy author at that time), so that explains the lack of equality, I suppose. Overall, though, this is a great portal into the 1980s horror boom, and a must-own for all fans of this era. 4.5 Stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Patrick

    My well-worn copy adorns my writing desk. Even though it's terribly out-of-print and out-of-date, it's an window into the lives and minds of some of the greatest modern horror writers(circa 1985). Anyone wanting to know the fears and motivations of some of the best horror (or any genre) writers around should find this book. Combine the often clear threads that link each of them with the tantalizingly distinct origins of their own styles and stories, and you'll find find a glimpse into the mind o My well-worn copy adorns my writing desk. Even though it's terribly out-of-print and out-of-date, it's an window into the lives and minds of some of the greatest modern horror writers(circa 1985). Anyone wanting to know the fears and motivations of some of the best horror (or any genre) writers around should find this book. Combine the often clear threads that link each of them with the tantalizingly distinct origins of their own styles and stories, and you'll find find a glimpse into the mind of horror and the mind of the writer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    The main reason I wanted to read this book is because I had recently finished Blackwater by Michael McDowell, and I saw he was featured as one of the authors interviewed for the book. McDowell wasn't a public figure during his lifetime, and what I found about him online was slim, so I thought this would give me better insight into his life and his writing. Sure, there were other authors in there I've read, but it was McDowell who was the anchor for me. Winter interviewed seventeen authors for the The main reason I wanted to read this book is because I had recently finished Blackwater by Michael McDowell, and I saw he was featured as one of the authors interviewed for the book. McDowell wasn't a public figure during his lifetime, and what I found about him online was slim, so I thought this would give me better insight into his life and his writing. Sure, there were other authors in there I've read, but it was McDowell who was the anchor for me. Winter interviewed seventeen authors for the book, ranging from the masters (Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson) to the new kings (Stephen King and Clive Barker) to the popular (V.C. Andrews and William Peter Blatty). The interviews provide some insight, but, similar to any other anthology, the result is a mixed bag of personalities, some of whom are more interesting than others. The book was published over thirty years ago, so almost half of the authors profiled here are dead, and the other half are made up of authors who even at the time didn't write horror anymore (Blatty and John Coyne). When I think of who I was thirty years ago, I'm embarrassed, and I wonder if the still-living authors look back at these interviews without cringing. Clive Barker's interview struck me as the most removed. He exudes this kind of excitement over the perverse, giddily showing Winter a book of autopsy and medical photos and reveling over Winter's disgust. Barker's fiction at the time reflected that excitement, but his later and more recent fiction is a departure from that kind of splatterpunk. I'm not sure if he wishes to distance himself from who he was then, but I've seen him in interviews where he's more constrained and less effusive about the dark, so it's interesting to see him that way. Conversely, I found myself annoyed at the authors who spoke negatively about horror and tried to distance themselves from the genre. Andrews, Coyne, Blatty, and Dennis Etchison all wanted to paint themselves as above the juvenelia of horror, even though their success depended on it. Even now, I look at what horror was and is, and find myself wanting more than just graphic violence, so I get it, but it put me off that in a book about horror, they want to wave their hands and present themselves as being too good for it. Winter noted in his foreword that he didn't ask a pat set of questions of the authors, but he did seem to want to learn more about the authors' childhoods and their views on religion. Some of them, if you know the authors, is expected (Matheson's revealed his woo-woo beliefs, and Whitley Strieber's were such that it's no surprise he went on to believe he was abducted by aliens), but others downplayed the role either play in their fiction. Ramsey Campbell's story, though, is a clear influence on his fiction; his foreword to The Doll Who Ate His Mother would make an outstanding horror novel all on its own. The big stars (Barker, King, and Peter Straub) were likely the draw for most readers, but even by the time the book was published, King was a huge public figure. He had filmed his American Express commercial, directed Maximum Overdrive, and starred in Creepshow by then, so most people already knew his story. Winter's interview seems superfluous and redundant, but at the same time, he couldn't have done this book without including him. The most telling part of the interview, though, is when he jokes about taking cocaine, since we now know that this era was when he was almost constantly coked up and drunk. Another highlight for me was Charles L. Grant, who I've rediscovered and appreciate. It's sad, though, to realize how much of a lech he was. I had an idea he was like that through his stories, but a large part of his interview is a rant against feminism where he embraces his own sexism without recognizing it as such. Yes, it's partly the era and time of the interview, but it was held at the Playboy Club, and he even notes how other people will criticize him for going in just to look at the pictures and the women. It's even more disappointing when you look at his fiction and see all the strong women there. I can appreciate this book for giving me more of an insight into the authors I admire, but it still serves as a reminder to never meet your heroes. Few of the authors in the book are ones I would consider heroes (only one, Alan Ryan, was a complete unknown to me), but the arrogance and dismissals I found in a lot of the interviews put me off. This is an important book for fans of '80s horror, but it should be read with a grain of salt. At the very least, readers should look at the interviews as products of their time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Originally published in 1985 and revised in 1990 (the edition I read), this is a good collection of interviews/essays (it’s not a strict Q&A format) with the leading horror writers of the day (a couple of whom have since dropped out of sight and, curiously, V C Andrews is included but Anne Rice isn’t). It’s a solid gathering of talent, with each writer allowed the space to discuss their career, goals and inspirations and Winter keeps everything ticking over nicely. Well worth a read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Whitehead

    Douglas E. Winter serves up a collection of interviews with some of the biggest names in the horror fiction market. Or at least these folks were the biggies back in 1985 when this volume came out. Thus it doesn’t account for a lot of what’s happened in the 17 years since. For example, Clive Barker is portrayed as the cutting edge of horror, and Anne Rice is mentioned only in passing. However, overall this is a fascinating look at some of the folks who helped shape the genre.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Rigg

    My journal entry from 1991 when I read this says, "The interview with Stephen King made me laugh." My journal entry from 1991 when I read this says, "The interview with Stephen King made me laugh."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    A collection of interviews with well known horror writers. Well done and I enjoyed it a lot. I like to read about the lives and working habits of writers whose work I've enjoyed. Contains interviews with: Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, William Peter Blatty, Dennis Etchison, Ramsey Campbell, David Morrell, James Herbert, Charles L. Grant, T.E.D. Klein, Alan Ryan, John Coyne, V.C. andrews, Michael McDowell, Whitley Streiber, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, and Stephen King. A collection of interviews with well known horror writers. Well done and I enjoyed it a lot. I like to read about the lives and working habits of writers whose work I've enjoyed. Contains interviews with: Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, William Peter Blatty, Dennis Etchison, Ramsey Campbell, David Morrell, James Herbert, Charles L. Grant, T.E.D. Klein, Alan Ryan, John Coyne, V.C. andrews, Michael McDowell, Whitley Streiber, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, and Stephen King.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Clark

    I am more interested in the authors than in their actual stories. The interviews with the different authors revealed much about their early lives. Very interesting. Also a history lesson because much of this information is about books and movies from the 70's and 80's. I am more interested in the authors than in their actual stories. The interviews with the different authors revealed much about their early lives. Very interesting. Also a history lesson because much of this information is about books and movies from the 70's and 80's.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tony Entrekin

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Thomas

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lyons

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Royero

  14. 5 out of 5

    Todd Nesbitt

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mavis

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Lotfy

  18. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Walker

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Mittelman

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darren O.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adam Burton

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Pridham

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  24. 4 out of 5

    John McDowall

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matt Burns

  26. 4 out of 5

    Darryl Sloan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Baughman

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dementia Armand

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robbert

  30. 4 out of 5

    Curt Jarrell

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