I enjoy a wide variety of entertainment. I like books, TV and movies. Hobbits, Jane Austen and space ships. I like stories in foreign countries or with politics or with complex family relationships and where everything doesn’t necessarily come out okay. I like two pretty people falling in love. I like vampires.
I like horror but I scare easily and gross-out even easier so my consumption is not extensive. Some horror is criminally stupid but other times it can be pretty interesting.
I read a book called The Ruins by Scott Smith. If I told you right now what the big bad was, you’d probably roll your eyes. I was a little disappointed when I figured it out. But the way the story is set up, you meet these 4 people traveling in Mexico together and you are introduced to their personal quirks and their relationships to one another and you can relate to them. One of them convinces the group to go off on this side trip to find a fellow traveler’s brother and one thing leads to another and the horror begins.
I liked the story because it was creepy-disturbing-impossible-to-put-down. But I also liked it because I felt like the people were acting like real people would act (well, except for this one thing) and trying to solve their problem by being smart and using common sense. Yet, the horror went on and on.
I read another book called Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol which is another conventional, yet unconventional horror novel set on a remote island in the Antarctic. I’m going to give spoilers but all this stuff happens in the first 25 pages of the book so it’s not like I’m giving away the whole thing. The protagonist arrives to work at the weather station and the person he is supposed to replace has disappeared. There’s another man working the lighthouse who seems to be insane. As soon as the sun goes down, the hero finds out that scary creatures pour out of the depths and would like to get their cold claws on him.
The fact that this all happens in the first 25 pages of the book should alert you to the notion that the big bad is only a small part of the horror happening on this island. Another disturbing and hard to put down book that lingers with you.
But here’s the point I wanted to bring up. I always wonder about horror stories where there are scads and scads of beasts that all want to eat the 2 or 3 humans that are stuck as the victims in the story. Like in Cold Skin there were legions of creatures chasing down these two men on the island. They must have had another food source. With only two people, each creature would get like, one bite — it would seem hardly worth the trouble.
It’s like if everyone in your neighborhood was starving and rioting and fighting over the last hamburger at Burgerville.