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Horror Writers Association: Interview with VP Lisa Morton

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The Horror Writers Association (HWA) can help authors not only with their determination to produce an effective work, but encourage them to take risks and examine approaches to techniques with encouragement coming from masters of the field such as HWA member Stephen King.

Stephen King

Stephen King supports HWA writers and readers with a “Horror Selfie”

Horror writers have a difficult task. In order to accomplish their goals—to scare people—they must incorporate all other genres into their narratives. For instance in order to suspend a reader’s beliefs, a horror novelist will use elements of romance, mystery and drama into a character’s story. A romance novel need not require the spice of horror to gratify its readers, neither does a dramatic piece nor a comedic one.  But the burden of a horror writer is to explore human nature and adjust it believably to give credence to the characters living inside it.

Bugs2Through the centuries there have been many names that are synonymous with horror: Mary Shelly, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allen Poe. Today, with the help of technology, many writers can publish works on their own, create blogs or post in social media. But there is one organization that is committed to bringing excellence into the world of horror literature no matter what medium a writer wishes to display his or her talents.

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is a non-profit organization that encourages writers to explore their interests, hone their craft and publish their works. With over 1200 members, this group encourages and affords authors and readers to connect with their dark sides and express them by way of good storytelling.

Horror Writers Association

Horror Writers Association

In 1985, Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon and Joe Lansdale created the HWA, forever giving horror writers a place to connect, share their works with others who seek to do the same.

In an exclusive interview with iHorror.com, Lisa Morton, Vice President of HWA, says that the non-profit organization places a lot of effort not only on existing authors and works, but also those that are interested in the genre.

“In addition to its primary goal of promoting the horror genre,” she says, “it also offers many other programs and services, including writing scholarships, library outreach, mentoring for new writers, hardship loans for established writers who need a helping hand, and much more.”

Morton also explains that some authors can submit works for consideration into the HWA’s published works, “For its writing members, HWA offers numerous ways to promote new releases, and also offers members the chance to be included in exclusive anthologies – we just, for example, announced our upcoming Young Adult anthology SCARY OUT THERE, to be published by Simon and Schuster, and we’re now accepting members’ submissions for that book,” she says.

Anthology BloodLite with contributing HWA members

Anthology BloodLite with contributing HWA members

In the 1980’s, horror literature exploded across the market. Horror writers such as Stephen King, Peter Straub and Clive Barker; all HWA members, filled bookstore shelves with bestsellers. It was then that modern horror literature was accepted as more mainstream, and a lucrative market was born.  “While I’m not sure HWA can claim to have been a real influence on the genre, there’s no question that HWA has had a major impact on the careers of many popular horror authors who have shaped the genre.” Morton told iHorror.

Anybody with an interest in the genre can join the HWA. There are different levels of membership, active or supportive, but the benefits that come with being a member at any level are worth the cost. Morton encourages writers who may not truly understand the power of their gift to join HWA.

“All members receive our fantastic monthly newsletter, may recommend works for the Bram Stoker Award, and may submit to our various publications (which also include things like our highly-publicized seasonal “Halloween Haunts” blog). In addition, Active members may vote on the Bram Stoker Awards or serve on award juries, receive assistance in resolving publishing disputes from our Grievance Committee, or serve as officers in the organization. For more information on joining, please visit https://www.horror.org .”

Bram Stoker Award

Bram Stoker Award

The Bram Stoker award is given out to an exceptional pieces of work each year as voted upon by the Association in specific divisions. Morton explains: “They’re currently handed out in eleven different categories – including First Novel, Screenplay, and Graphic Novel – and are presented at a gala banquet held in a different city each year (they’re also streamed live online). A work may appear on the preliminary ballot by either receiving member recommendations or being chosen by a jury, and HWA’s Active members then vote to select the nominees and, finally, the winners.”

Horror writers are committed to their craft because it allows them to tap into the darkest natures of the human spirit. Creating worlds of terror and uncertainty are places that readers can go, but know they will emerge unharmed and satisfied. The HWA can be a support system that embraces a writer’s potential without prejudice, and therefore feel free to manipulate their created world in which a reader might become uncomfortable. “Horror is primal and intense. It forces us to peer into our darkest corners, and yet allows us to return safely. The 19th century Gothic writers believed horror (or, as they referred to it, terror) could even provide a transcendent experience.”

HWA supports horror writers

HWA supports horror writers

As for the future of the HWA, there are many plans to continue the support of horror writers and their craft. The Association is looking to produce local chapters, and from there work to reaching to social networks and other forms of media.

“We have several big goals we’re working on right now,“ Morton says, “one is to organize regional chapters for all of our members – chapters in Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York have proven how effective our members can be when they participate in local activities. Another major goal is publicity – for the first time we have a team of hard-working pros who are exploring new ways to promote the genre and HWA. Our “Horror Selfies” campaign – which has generated literally millions of hits on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and our own websites – is just the tip of the iceberg. And we want to continue to expand our scholarship offerings and our involvement in literacy programs.”

Prime Cuts by HWA member Jasper Bark

“Stuck on You” by HWA member Jasper Bark

Through the centuries, the horror genre has transformed and grown in many different directions, from poetry to graphic novels, from plays to motion pictures. The HWA embraces those artists that wish to seek out an avenue for their works and understands that any one or more of those budding writers could quite possibly become the next major contributor to the genre.

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‘Children of the Corn’ Adaptation Headed to Theaters and Shudder

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It’s been almost 40 years since Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton got into it with “He who walks behind the rows,” in Fritz Kiersch’s Children of the Corn, based on a story by Stephen King.

Today, Deadline reports that director Kurt Wimmer’s film will finally get a theatrical release on March 3, with a Shudder streaming release on March 21. But don’t get too excited, because this isn’t a remake or even a reboot. Wimmer has said this version has “almost nothing to do” with King’s original short story or the ’84 movie.

“We went back to the story and free-associated from there,” the director told Variety.

You may also notice the dateline for production is 2020. It was big news at the time that Wimmer was going to shoot his movie in Australia during the height of the COVID pandemic. Through safety protocols including social distancing, they managed to get through it.

Producer Lucas Foster said at the time, “You can theorize all you like about safety protocols, but until you get on set, you don’t really know. But I can now tell you it is impossible to keep a camera crew 1.5 meters apart.”

This updated take on King’s short story doesn’t appear to involve a married couple on a road trip at all. Instead, it is an origin story about how all the adults in the small town met their murderous ends.

Children of the Corn follows a 12 year old girl in Nebraska who is possessed by a spirit in a dying cornfield. She recruits the other children in her small town to go on a bloody rampage and kill all the adults and anyone else who opposes her. A bright high schooler who won’t go along with the plan is the town’s only hope of survival.” — Deadline

Make sure to keep checking back to iHorror for the trailer once it drops. And let us know whether you like the concept of moving away from the original story, or if you would have liked it to follow King’s short story more closely.

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Drew Barrymore Welcomes Allison Williams By Dressing Up Like ‘M3GAN’

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M3GAN

Allison Williams star of the breakout hit, M3GAN. The film has brought in a huge and unexpected amounts of money and continues to climb. Right now it is sitting at $125 million and counting. In order to welcome Williams, Barrymore got in full M3GAN gear and served up some dance moves, and acted out other qualities the doll brings to her home.

Barrymore hilariously begins to have technical difficulties with her contact lenses leading to a moment that rivals the contact lens malfunction in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and that is saying a lot.

The synopsis for M3GAN goes like this:

“M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a lifelike doll that’s programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by Gemma, a brilliant roboticist, M3GAN can listen, watch and learn as it plays the role of friend and teacher, playmate and protector. When Gemma becomes the unexpected caretaker of her 8-year-old niece, she decides to give the girl an M3GAN prototype, a decision that leads to unimaginable consequences.

M3GAN is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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Wes Craven’s ‘Red Eye’ is Getting a 4K UHD Release

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Red Eye

Wes Craven is a true master of horror. He gave us A Nightmare on Elm Street and a few other timeless classics. Right around the time he dove into Scream he also took flight with a big thriller that scored well with audiences who were all on the edge of their seats. Craven’s Red Eye did well at the box-office and had that word of mouth that kept it in theaters for weeks. Red Eye is now coming to 4K UHD and it is coming with some rad special features.

The synopsis for Red Eye goes like this:

“In the wake of her grandmother’s funeral, hotel manager Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is waiting to fly back home when she meets charming Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) at check-in. She thinks it luck that they’re seated together on the plane, but soon learns otherwise. Jackson hopes to assassinate the head of Homeland Security, but to do so, he needs Lisa to reassign the official’s room number at her hotel. As insurance, Jackson has kidnapped Lisa’s father (Brian Cox).

The special features for Red Eye break down like this:

The special features for Red Eye goes like this:

New 4K Restoration of the film

Dolby Vision/HDR Presentation of the film

NEW Audio commentary by editor Patrick Lussier

NEW Filmmaker Focus – Wes Craven and Red Eye

NEW Wes Craven: In His Own Words – Featurette

Audio commentary by Wes Craven, Producer Marianne Maddalena, and Editor Patrick Lussier

The Making of Red Eye – Featurette

Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller – Featurette

Gag Reel

Optional English SDH, English, Spanish, and French subtitles for the main feature

Collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments

Are you excited about Red Eye coming to 4K UHD? Paramount Home Media Distribution releases Craven’s classic on March 21.

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