Just in case anyone is curious as to who influences my work. And because I like to give credit where credit is due. So, without further ado, here are my top ten inspirations in my genre:
1. Clive Barker-My favorite writer at the moment. His imagery ranges from the repulsive to the sublime, all wrapped in stories merging mythic storytelling with the poetic.
2. H.P. Lovecraft-Valid criticisms of his prose style aside, the ramifications of the mythos he created are still chilling. The sheer scope of the horrors he conceived was completely unprecedented, as was mankind’s total lack of consequence to them.
4. John Carpenter-While he hasn’t made a great movie in years, I can’t forget just how amazing Carpenter’s work used to be. The Thing is perhaps the finest horror movie ever made (the practical special effects make the prequel’s CG look like a cheap joke), and I still break out Halloween every year when the leaves start to turn.
5. Joe Hill-I’ll admit I’m a bit late to the party. I have yet to read any of his novels (although I have a few waiting on my shelf), but 20th Century Ghosts blew me away. Easily the best short story collection I’ve ever read.
6. Stephen King-While I do have issues with some of his longer works (a self-diagnosed case of “literary elephantiasis” as he puts it), he has dozens of exceptional short stories under his belt and some damn fine novels as well. It’s impossible to be a horror writer or fan without having been touched by his work in some way.
7. Rod Serling/Richard Matheson-A dual credit here even though both of these men is hugely talented in his own right. The Twilight Zone is what I most remember them for (outside of I am Legend), and the humanity and craft they put into those scripts sticks with me today.
8. Algernon Blackwood-A criminally overlooked master of the weird tale. The man was a master of mood, able to wring unease out of mere silence. He penned Lovecraft’s favorite story. That should tell you something.
9. Guillermo Del Toro-My favorite director working today. Pan’s Labyrinth, Cronos, and The Devil’s Backbone are the best kinds of dark fairy tales. Even his pulpier efforts (Hellboy, Pacific Rim) are damn fun to watch because his love for the material always shines through.
10. John Bellairs-Kids today grow up on J.K. Rowling. I grew up with John Bellairs. I probably read over a dozen of his books as a child, never feeling as though I was being talked down to or that the child protagonists were useless. The awesome artwork Edward Gorey created for the book covers didn’t hurt either.