Scared stiff: give it the old fist pump if horror makes you hot….

by Daniel W. Kelly

If you’re like me, you know there’s nothing like a good bump in the night to get the heart racing and the nerves tingling. The thrill of it causes your pulse to pound, starts the adrenalin flowing, leaves you saturated in sweat, and has you looking over your shoulder to get a good glimpse of the seductive devil who’s back there, about to slip inside your soul….

Isn’t it amazing how one paragraph could be describing either an incredible sexual encounter or a horrifying experience with the supernatural? While the psychological ramifications of exposure to one or the other are totally different, the physical responses are virtually the same. So is it any surprise that the horror genre has always crossed the line between titillating and terrorizing?

For starters, the monster is most likely to desire the innocent and virginal—while preying on the promiscuous and sexually active. Also, horror imagery often takes the sensual and perverts it with disgusting twists: demons with slimy, puss-squirting tongues they insert between supple human lips in order to possess the unwilling; creatures with grotesque, phallic appendages they use to savagely penetrate and poison beautiful human bodies; alien species with gaping, oozing, teeth-lined orifices resembling pulsating vaginas and anuses, which need to fill their void by sucking on flawless human flesh.

And possibly the most important reason sex is almost obligatory in horror? We are most vulnerable when we’re naked: in the shower as the knife-wielding masked killer stands just on the other side of the curtain; skinny-dipping in the middle of the night, unaware of the man-eater swimming just beneath the dark surface; making love in the backseat of a car at Lover’s Lane as the hook hand latches on to the door handle. Well, all that, and because of, you know, the obvious: sex and the satanic are often linked and are both considered taboo. So how better to draw in an audience than by serving up a whole lot of bare boobs to the beast?

Ironically, when I was an impressionable teen in the 1980s, there was a disconnect as I was bombarded by visions of curvaceous, scantily clad women being sacrificed to vicious specters on the covers of the plethora of horror paperback books and VHS boxes that lined my local bookstore and video store shelves. Upon digesting the media, I was never particularly upset when the lusty busty babe got the axe—I was too busy hoping her boyfriend would be the last man…um…‘standing.’

The horror genre is marketed to the straight man—particularly straight male adolescents. But this isn’t simply sports or cars we’re talking about. There’s something incredibly metaphorical about horror. It’s the big bad monster trying to punish those who partake in the natural acts of lust and love. And who better to relate to a relentless outside force trying to stop their desire for instinctive, impulsive passion than gay men?

In my time as a writer of gay erotic horror fiction, I’ve discovered something the heterosexual male horror community doesn’t fully comprehend: many gay males are voracious devourers of horror books and films. We’re not merely the prissy, disposable first victim or the psychosexual-woman-hating-cross-dressing killer they’ve always presented us as (hint hint: toss in a little hairy man buns now and then!).

Thanks to the niche communities the internet creates, I’ve been contacted by readers who are just like me. They love men, they love sex, and they love horror—but are generally required to subject themselves to woman parts in order to get to the scary parts (I know, there’s a gay joke in there about how the woman parts are the scary parts). As if the feedback to my gay erotic horror stories isn’t sign enough that there is an audience for it, I’ve found another very interesting gauge. On my personal website, I have a page called Stud Stalking. It’s a detailed list of every horror movie I come across that features even the slightest glimpse of scrumptious man epidermis. The response to the section has been overwhelming from gay horror fans like myself, from requests for more recommendations to other titles I need to add to the list.

I love writing erotica. I love writing horror. My first published strictly erotic stories appeared in jerk-off magazines, and I told myself this was just a way to get my foot in the door and that eventually I’d be able to get mainstream horror stories published. Then I began to realize that every time I went to write a horror story, it was with a gay man’s perspective. I didn’t want to write about women in peril (the market is flooded with that approach), and it didn’t make sense to try to put on the straight man beard. Sure, those options would sell more books to more people, but I really wanted to write horror I would like to read myself. I’d simply enjoy writing it more, which would most likely mean better, more genuine storytelling.

So, I began penning horror stories ‘starring’ gay men. I say starring because when I write, I try to make the story feel and flow like a horror movie. I want the read to be fun and fluid, not bogged down by excessive ‘smart’ prose and philosophical thought. That’s just not the kind of horror that grabs me by the throat and squeezes until I can’t breathe.

And because horror has always gone hand-in-hand with sexual content, and because the only thing that truly distinguishes gay characters from straight characters is that they—to put it bluntly—love and lay others of the same gender, it felt so natural for me to go balls-to-the-wall with the sexual situations (often literally). But to be clear, in the world of my characters, I don’t want all my men to be raped and ripped apart by heinous monstrosities (Although, it does happen occasionally. What can I say? It’s a classic horror convention). I want them to be happy, horny men who find love, score some ass, and find themselves in ungodly situations they must survive in one piece so that they can live another day to score some more ass.

My stories and novels are not intended to be what has become known as ‘torture porn,’ where the implication is that the consumer is getting sexually aroused and stimulated by gore and extreme violence. I’ve simply combined two of my favorite things—scares and sex—with each having its own place in my stories. The horror is there to give readers the willies, with the erotica as the tension relief—a chance to get off. Basically, an emission intermission. I guess you could even call it the horror-gasm.

And that’s the way the fun and fear unfold in Combustion, my first full-length ‘gothrotica’ novel. Those who have been reading my stuff for awhile will get satisfaction from my usual playful approach to the erotic horror genre, and are sure to recognize some of the names and faces (and asses, and cocks, and balls, etc.) from my previous stories. And if Combustion is the first book of mine you pick up, you’ll soon be getting very cozy with the boys, beasts, men, and monsters—and hopefully staying up all night to reach the graphic climax….

4 Responses to “Scared stiff: give it the old fist pump if horror makes you hot….”

  1. 1 Kim April 24, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Sounds like a good read for anyone interested in a scare!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 Patty G. Henderson April 24, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    I don’t agree that the horror or supernatural genre has always been connected to sex. Nope. Not at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 3 Daniel W Kelly April 24, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Reblogged this on The DAN ZONE and commented:
    Check out my first post on the Bold Strokes Books Authors’ Blog!


  4. 4 Joel Gomez-Dossi April 24, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I loved your post, especially the line “horror is there to give readers the willies”. Personally, I like willies in my erotica, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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