I started working with a friend to help encourage me to write because, although I love writing, I was getting stalled by plots with weak endings and not making my writing a priority. In one of our discussions when we were reviewing each other’s work, she asked me about mine, “What makes your story horror?”
My only answer was, “There’s murder in it and a killer who creates suspense and fear.” Not the strongest answer. So, after our meeting, I did some research to see if I could find a resource to help me better define what could make my story a horror story.
I stumbled upon a great webpage, Secrets of the Horror Genre. In most other resources I could find online, the information was vague and did not add anything to what I already knew about the genre. This webpage, in contrast, precisely outlines what is expected from a horror story, and it provides alternatives so that you can pick and choose what type of horror story you want to write. I highly recommend it if you are looking for some direction in your horror writing.
In 1975, Diane and Peter Berthelot along with their 12-year-old son visited the Worstead Church in north Norfolk, U.K. Peter took a photo of his wife sitting and praying on one of the church benches, and when they reviewed the developed photos some months later, a friend of Mrs. Berthelot asked, “Who’s that sitting behind you, Di?”
The figure in the photo behind Mrs. Berthelot appears to be wearing light-colored, old-fashioned clothes and a bonnet.
The Berthelots returned to Worstead Church the next summer with the photo and showed it to Reverend Pettit, the church vicar. He explained to Diane the legend of the White Lady, of whom she had never heard. It is said that the ghost is a healer who appears when someone near is in need of healing. When she visited the church at the time of the photo, Diane was in ill health and was taking antibiotics.
Reports of the ghost date back well over 100 years. According to one story, on Christmas Eve of 1830, a man boasted a challenge to the White Lady. He said he would climb to the top of the church’s belfry and kiss her if she would appear. So up he went. When he failed to reappear after a time, friends went to search for him. They found him in the belfry, cowering in a corner, terrified. “I’ve seen her,” he told them, “I’ve seen her….” And then he died.
For a time, Mrs. Berthelot said she felt a calming tingling sensation whenever she looked at the photo, but that feeling has since subsided. Today, the church has been remodeled into a pub.
Anna Göldin was the last to be sentenced in Europe as a witch. She died decapitated on 13 June 1782 in Glarus, Switzerland.
Forty-six years old, she worked as a maid for a renowned physicist, Johann Jakob Tschudi, a married man and the father of five girls. He accused her of putting needles in his daughter’s bowl of milk and bread after his daughter fell ill. The alleged witch ran away, but she was eventually imprisoned by the authorities and subjected to torture.
In her confession, she admitted to seeing the Devil in the form of a black dog, who presumably ordered her to mistreat the girl.
In 2006, a journalist uncovered previously unpublished evidence and the truth was revealed: Anna threatened to reveal that Johann Jakob Tschudi had been sexually attacking her. He accused her of witchcraft to shut her up. In 2008, the Swiss parliament found Anna Göldin not guilty of witchcraft.
The working title for David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers was “Gemini.” The studio did not like it, and the working title was updated to “Twins.” This was changed to “Dead Ringers” after Ivan Reitman, who had produced two of David Cronenberg’s early films, approached Cronenberg about purchasing the rights to use the title “Twins.” This title was then used for the Danny DeVito/Arnold Schwarzenegger film Twins (1988).
It’s hard to imagine this movie being called anything other than Dead Ringers, let alone something as plain as Twins.
Did you know that the producers of Jaws thought it would be possible to train a live great white shark for the film? Not only is it impossible to hold a great white in captivity, but marine biologists have also proven the idea of training such a fish is laughable.
With the exception of some copyrighted music they had the rights to, the soundtrack of 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre contains no sounds from musical instruments. Instead, they used sounds an animal would hear inside a slaughterhouse.