Evolution of children’s horror literature
Titled “Welcome to the Dead House,” the book was an instant bestseller and became the first in the hit “Goosebumps” series. “Welcome to the Dead House” tells the story of a town called Dark Falls, a place that hides a secret – all the inhabitants are undead and need fresh blood to sustain their “life”. Every time a new family comes to the sound, they move to The Dead House. The heroes, Josh and Amanda, learn this secret and rescue their parents, send the townspeople back to their graves, and escape Dark Falls.
Author Robert Lawrence Stine has written 62 books in the series, as well as a number of spin-offs. Stine, dubbed “The Stephen King of Children’s Literature”, said many of his books were inspired by classic science fiction and horror stories, with influences also drawn from classic fairy tales. “Night of the Living Dummy” is a variation on the “Pinocchio” theme – twin sisters Lindy and Kris find an abandoned ventriloquist’s dummy, and Lindy decides to keep it. As she develops comedic routines with the model, Kris gets her own model. One night, the girls enter their bedroom and find the models lying on the floor, with the new model’s hands around the older model’s neck. Chance? No – the young model is alive and malevolent. After a series of unpleasant events, the girls manage to get rid of the mannequin, but then discover that the other is also alive.
Christopher Pike is another best-selling children’s horror story author. He includes references to Egyptian, Hindu and Greek mythology in his novels and cites authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Agatha Christie and Stephen King among his influences. His 24-book “Spooksville” series includes one titled “The Wicked Cat”, in which Adam and his friends find a black cat while out for a walk in the local woods. Strange things start happening in the town; a house burns and a tree suddenly falls. At every strange occurrence, the cat is present, watching everything with its strange green eyes. Then he returns his supernatural powers to Adam and his friends…
Another well-known children’s author is Lee Striker, the pseudonym of Australian children’s author Margaret Clarke. She chose her name after hearing about Stine’s “Goosebumps” series and decided she wanted her children’s horror fiction placed alongside her books in bookstores. She has 12 books in her “Hair-Raiser” series, which includes titles such as “The Revenge of the Vampire Librarian” (don’t forget to get your library books in time…) and “Curse of the Mummy “, where a man brings back a new wife after a business trip to Egypt. But what kind of MOM is she, because she smells weird and uses a lot of bandages and bandages, and cats behave strangely when she’s around.
Children’s horror writing isn’t a new concept, and it didn’t start with fairy tales. Originally, fairy tales were not intended to be read by children. The Brothers Grimm’s writing was aimed at adults and responded to the then-increasing demand for literature based on local folklore in the early 19th century. Anyone who has seen the movie “The Brothers Grimm” will probably support me – this movie is definitely NOT for kids! As the horror genre evolved, “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” made the average fairy tale seem somewhat childish, so the various stories were reworked and rewritten by adults to make them more suitable. to children. In Victorian times, the average Grimm fairy tale was far less graphic and violent than the original, and Disney’s handling of the stories “tamed” them even more.
As the Grimms compiled their collection of adult fairy tales, other writers were already producing children’s stories, many of which contained horror elements. “Tales Told For Children” by Hans Christian Andersen was published in 1835, and some of the stories in this book are great references for children’s horror literature:
“The Red Shoes” are a pair of beautiful cursed slippers that compel their wearer to dance continuously. A vain young girl slips them on her feet and finds herself unable to stop dancing. The problem is so bad that she can’t go to church and can’t attend her adoptive mother’s funeral because she can’t stop dancing. Condemned by and by the angle to dance forever as a warning to all vain children, she begs an executioner to cut off her feet. For the rest of the story, she is haunted by the animated shoes, which dance in front of her as she moves on wooden feet using crutches.
“The little Mermaid”, yearning to be with a handsome human prince she has fallen in love with, gives her tongue to a witch in exchange for a potion that turns her tail into legs. She must marry her prince to give him a soul, and she sets out to find his love, even though every step she takes is as painful as waking up to sharp knife blades. Even though she is mute, the prince falls in love with her and is enchanted by the way she dances for him, never knowing the agony she undergoes with every step. The course of true love never came true and the prince marries someone else. The heartbroken mermaid throws herself into the sea and turns into foam.
“The little girl with matches” sells matches in the icy streets to keep warm. One New Year’s Day, she lights her matches to keep warm. In their light, she sees wonderful, warm banquets with tables full of delicious food and a sparkling Christmas tree. Looking up, she sees a shooting star and remembers that means someone is about to die. Lighting her last match, she sees her grandmother, the only person who has ever treated her kindly. His grandmother came to take him to Heaven, and the next morning we discover his frozen little body, surrounded by burnt matches.
“The Water Babies” by Charles Kingsley features a chimney sweep named Tom, who meets a young girl called Ellie at her home. After being driven away, he falls into a river and drowns. He transforms into an aquatic baby and lives many adventures while learning the lessons of life under the guardianship of the fairies. Once a week he is allowed to see Ellie, who had the misfortune to fall into the river right after Tom. Eventually, he proves himself worthy of returning to human form and lives a full life. He reunites with Ellie, but they never marry.
Children’s horror writing is a tough genre, and although the stories have changed slightly over the years, there is still a demand for these types of books from a young and enthusiastic audience. It’s a genre that’s going to be with us for many years to come.