The cycle horror story is comforting the same way porno is comforting: you already know how they're going to end. The actor will achieve a loud orgasm or die ...In the Guardian, Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk talks about the comfort to be derived from the untimely deaths of characters in horror stories.
What's a cycle horror story? Palahniuk points to the example of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery:
In 1948, when the New Yorker magazine first published , that one short story drew letters from readers in 25 states and six countries outside the US. People complained of losing sleep owing to nightmares, and cancelled their subscriptions.Oh miraculous internet! I found a link to the story so you can fright yourselves to death.
Or, if that doesn't work, Palahniuk's new book Haunted sounds deliciously gruesome. According to the blurb on the Random House website, it's a novel:
... made up of stories: Twenty-three of them, to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter-sometimes all at once. They are told by people who have answered an ad headlined "Writers' Retreat: Abandon Your Life for Three Months," and who are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of "real life" that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them. But "here" turns out to be a cavernous and ornate old theater where they are utterly isolated from the outside world-and where heat and power and, most important, food are in increasingly short supply. And the more desperate the circumstances become, the more extreme the stories they tell-and the more devious their machinations become to make themselves the hero of the inevitable play/movie/nonfiction blockbuster that will surely be made from their plight.Here's an extract to whet your appetite. (I'm so desirous of this book my hands are shaking, delerium tremours of the bookaholic.)
Oh, and Ms. D? I've just had second thoughts about that writer's retreat we were planning!