Dark Fantasy

Horror, romance, comedy, action...

Dark Fantasy is a well-established subgenre, though you might not recognise the name. It is seductive, thrilling and sometimes down right cheeeeeesy. What is it? Vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, demons and all manner of  nasties hiding in the dark. But, it’s not just scary stories… It comes in the form of horror, action, comedy, romance and more.

Most recently, the world has been abuzz with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Half the fanbase is violently upset and revolted by her take on vampires and the other half (most of which has only recently discovered this genre) are rabidly fanatic about it.

The basics are (usually): The story is usually set in the present or (starts off) in recent history; the basics of history and reality as we know it sets the background; and vampires, werewolves and all the other things that go bump in the night are the flavour that draw in the readers (and viewers) of this subgenre.

Some authors seduce their readers with the grim (and sometimes rather watered down) aspects of a romantic relationship with a dark lover. Some authors prefer to stick to keeping these dark creatures the Threat. Some authors pick at all the possible flaws in the myths and legends surrounding these beasties to make us laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

Examples you are likely to have encountered include: Anne Rice’s vampire and witch novels, inlcuding Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned; Brahm Stoker’s DraculaDawn of the Dead (movie); H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulu and other novels….

Often, all the different nasties and beasties come together in the same stories…think  Underworld (movie); Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Vampire Diaries; TruBlood; this list really does go on and on…

A Dark Encounter

Her feet plunk-plunk-plunked sullenly on the metal stairs to the basement. They always sent her. Every time. She stood on the step in front of the door for five breaths and then flicked on the light switch. Not that it would help. She heard the tink-tink of the light warming up inside. Not that it really mattered if the light was on, though. It was always the same in there.

She counted another five breaths.

Her skin started crawling in earnest as she pushed the door open and the fluorescent light spilled out. Though the basement was really just a small, dusty study with stacks of boxes along the walls, it exuded a level of menace that is generally reserved for childhood nightmares.

Just get the photo album, Millicent Antoine, she thought to herself. Just–

Something cold and wet slithered up her leg. She felt a shriek building up in her throat before she could get herself to look down. It was already just over her knee. She forced her eyes open. The whole floor was a churning mess of eyes, teeth and slimy brown tentacles, one of which was wrapped around her leg. The scream tore loose and then the light flickered and died.

When she opened her eyes again, she was curled into a foetal position. The light was flickering on and off, still tink-tinking. There was a patch of warm wetness spreading from her crotch.

I need to see my shrink, the flashbacks have started again.