What Knife?! 6 Things You May Not Know About Horror Novels

Anne Marble
5 min readJun 14, 2022

Horror novels often get a bad name. Misperceptions abound. Assumptions are made. Fingers are pointed — at reader and fan alike. As if the world needed more finger-pointing.

Horror can be spooky. It can be gross. Or sad. Or funny. Or all of the above. Just like any other genre.

On the left, bare tree branches form a stark contrast against a foggy background and a spooky light.
A Foggy, Spooky Evening. (Photo by the Author.)

Horror can be found in classic works like The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis; Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley; the works of Edgar Allan Poe; Dracula by Bram Stoker; and Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James.

1) Horror Novels Are Not All Like Slasher Movies

In fact, most horror novels aren’t like slasher movies. While there are bloody horror stories with slasher elements, the most popular ones aren’t like that.

Yet misperceptions still exist. Even for authors as famous as Stephen King. People who don’t know any better believe he’s all about blood and guts. Yet he has written mainstream stories and thrillers and noir and mysteries (not just horror) for years.

A head-and-shoulder of Stephen King, showing him from the right side. He has graying hair and wire-rim glasses.
Stephen King at the 2007 New York Comicon. (Source: Wikipedia; photo by Pinguino Kolb — Flickr, CC BY 2.0.)

During a broadcast, a local sports talk announcer made an offhand remark about how Stephen King’s books were just “torture porn” or something. What in the world?! Where did he get the idea that this highly acclaimed author was writing bloody books full of torture?

Let me guess… He had never bothered to pick up a Stephen King book. It was easier to be a judgmental asshat.

Reader, don’t be like him.

2) For the Love of All That’s Holy, They’re Not All About Satan and Demons.

Years ago, my former sister-in-law saw me reading a horror novel. She gave out a weird laugh and the whole plot would be taken care of if someone just said something like, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus!” Then, the monster would have to give up and return to Hell. Or something.

But this would not have worked because … The novel I was reading was not about demons! It was about crazy humans! I didn’t bother pointing this out to her. She would have just chuckled, ignored me, and…

Anne Marble

I’m a writer and a copy editor with experience in editing science and engineering articles. Click Lists to find my most popular articles. And hidden gems.