Spooktober – Days 17 & 18

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…


SPOOKTOBER DAY #17 — Alternate Dimensions

TITLE:  Anomalies

PREMISE:  There’s a category of “unexplained phenomena” that don’t come up very often, but could be grounds for a scifi-flavored horror.  Phenomena that seem like distortions of time, space, and gravity.  “Mystery spots” with diagonal trees, heavy objects abruptly changing place without a sound, construction of improbably megaliths.  IRL I put no stock in any of it, but I’ll use it for a story.

Anomalies begin to happen with increasing frequency in Florida.  A physicist is skeptical at first, but after her truck randomly drops on her roof in the night, she gets her university to fund research.  They find there are strange particles and waves passing through the area with much greater than usual frequency and intensity – condensed gravitons? tachyons?  Whatever it is, there are distortions of time, space, and gravity involved.

Things come to a head, with people lurching from one disaster to another.  Run over here to get away from a rain of fish, explosively decompress from a random pocket of the vacuum of space.  Sections of highway turn into moebius strips.  Organisms and objects randomly age thousands of years or get teleported or disappeared to who knows where.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The hero and her wife are trying to flee the area like everyone else, but are afraid they won’t make it.  They get hoovered into a mysterious version of the world with a red sky and nobody else in sight.  Wife is in a panic because the phenomena tend to be short lived – surely they’ll get killed by something in mere moments.  But physicist says, “I think we’re OK.  I think we have time.”  Her reason?  She sees the two of them on the far side of a ravine, much older and holding hands.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #18 — Wintery

TITLE:  100% the Ice Temple

PREMISE:  To unlock his ultimate weapon, the hero must get 100% of the objectives in the Ice Temple.  This is a video game from the point of view of the character in it.  Things that would be rendered as 16 by 16 pixel sprites are vividly realistic, surreal.  It’s a way to challenge myself as an author to really bring the reader inside this fictional video game with the power of description – assuming I ever write it, which probably not.

HORROR ELEMENT:  It seems like a stock puzzle-solving temple with moderate hazards, but there’s an existential melancholy over the character’s experience.  Worse, there’s an undefeatable monster stalking the temple, causing him to flee and lose progress.  Its gory fangs and ice bladed chains are at odds with the mild chill aesthetic of the place.  Will it become defeatable in the final boss stage, or is something worse going on here?

Spooktober – Days 15 & 16

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…


SPOOKTOBER DAY #15 — Devils and Demons

TITLE:  Little Demon

PREMISE:  Down in a valley on a foggy hill rock, stood a crazy little demon blowin’ his top.  Fire in his eyes and smoke from his head, you gotta be real cool to hear the words he said.  (OK I stop doing Screamin’ Jay lyrics now.)

I’m recycling an old idea because not feeling creative this morning.  I had an idea for a low budget monster once, that could be done with simple puppetry for cheap movie production.  I had two plot ideas with it, so I’m going to mash them up.  Girls having a sleepover summon a tiny demon with a ouija board or whatever.  It possesses you by literally scooping out your brains and piloting you like a mecha.  It works its way through all the girls but one.  She gets a grip on it and chucks it out the window.

It goes to a nearby college campus to wage mayhem.  A nerdy girl realizes something supernatural is afoot when she finds tiny bloody footprints.  An evil faerie?  She follows the path with a magnifying glass and a deerstalker cap.  I had no ending in mind for this.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Brains scooped out, little demon crawling in people’s ears and such.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #16 — Little Creatures

TITLE:  Wacky Bombs

PREMISE:  A serial bomber on the run from the FBI blows himself up inside a haunted house.  The neighborhood wizened psychic crone says this will cause the evil in the house to be atomized, but not fully destroyed.  True to her word, monsters spawn from the rubble – little boglin-looking beasties that sneak up on people, snickering and cavorting, then explode.

A plucky boy with a ski vest and feathered hair must warn people about, and triumph over, the monsters.  Also win the heart of the popular girl.  There should be a scene at a mall and one at a high school.

HORROR ELEMENT:  About as scary as Critters – not very, but should be a good time.

Spooktober – Days 13 & 14

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…


SPOOKTOBER DAY #13 — Doppelgangers

TITLE:  Mitosis

PREMISE:  Street pharmacist Xylofon finds Dr. Jekyll’s original formula and comes up with her own variant for a designer drug.  When she tests it on herself, she starts undergoing a horrible transformation whenever she has a darksided urge.  She hustles into a hiding place and her body divides into two identical versions of itself.  The one most like original Xylo passes out from pain, while the other – whose most overwhelming desire is the sinful motive du jour – runs free into an unsuspecting world.

She has to hunt down the extra Xylos to prevent them from doing crimes.  But not all urges are created equal.  Some are unlimited in scope – like hurting everyone in the world – and others are one-off deals.  She gets an urge to kill one specific annoying dog, while genuinely not feeling animosity toward any other dog in the world.  Clone Xylo gets away with the act – and then calms down.

Original flavor Xylo rolls up to kill her.  Calmed dogkiller Xylo cries no, she’s reformed, she’ll never kill a dog again, but original Xylo can’t stop herself.  Was her clone killing about covering her tracks, or was it an uncontrollable evil urge of her own?

HORROR ELEMENT:  She attacks, but dogkiller Xylo kills her in self-defense.  She takes over original flavor’s life and considers the circumstances.  As a clone, will she have the same affliction as original Xylo?  Will she also sprout darksided clones?  Will she have an overpowering urge to kill them?  She doesn’t know.


SPOOKTOBER DAY #14 — Cryptids

TITLE:  Barrens

PREMISE:  Nobody else took the Jersey Devil, OK it’s me.  There’s a theory that the sighting that inspired the Jersey Devil legend was of a sandhill crane.  I’m running with that.  In the tradition of The Bear, the story follows a main character that is an animal.  Our crane loses track of its kind, finds itself alone in an environment where it would normally never dare to tread.  A creature of open land, it is confused by the tree cover, and feels too scared and stressed out to fly away.  It wanders the woods suffering, subsisting on small rodents and becoming increasingly ill.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Life’s pretty freaky when you don’t understand anything, and you hit a bad patch of luck.  Weird monkeys spot the crane and spread rumors of a devil.  Adventurers stalk the woods.  At the end, one kills our hero for food, and says to a friend, “good snack for our day out.  Hope we find that devil.”

Spooktober – Days 11 & 12

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…


SPOOKTOBER DAY #11 — Cyber’d Punkes

TITLE:  Laserboys

PREMISE:  Do you remember the plot of Max Headroom?  I sort of barely remember it.  There was some kind of special new TV broadcast that was very stimulating to viewers but occasionally made their heads explode.  When a reporter is about to find out he hits a “maximum headroom” sign on his motorcycle.  Yadda yadda, his brain is uploaded and turns cartoon, he wakes up and hijinks ensue.  Anyway, cyberpunk.  It’s punk, but also cyber.

I think… Laserboys. Laserboys ride around on cool motorcycles like that guy in Akira, do cyber drugs, and get into dust-ups with rival gang the SeedyRoms, and also the cops.  Everything is copacetic, in a sort of nihilistic way, until Shiny Torso gets abducted for medical experiments.  The gang’s lieutenant Jackson Smackson realizes he does believe in one thing in life – love.  He’s gotta rescue his boy.

This is too similar to Akira so far, now that I think about it.  So…  The medical experiment gives Shiny a new laserplague.  When the gang bails him out, he starts to get symptoms – and infect other people.  His fever is hot enough to melt steel, he’s barfing up boiling photons, setting the world on fire.  The Laserboys can’t help but cause destruction everywhere they go.  They fight their way back into medical facility to look for a cure.

Only Jackson and Shiny get the cure, the other guys all dying in dramatic ways.  By the time they get out of the facility, other laserplague victims are blowing up the city.  Can true love survive the laserpocalypse?

HORROR ELEMENT:  Where does the flesh end and the laser begin?  All matter must become energy once more.



TITLE:  The Passion of Adonis

PREMISE:  A medium sexy guy with no scruples and a knack for getting his way starts a sex cult.  It begins with a MLM about juice cleanses or something, but he realizes by fronting like he’s some kind of perfect specimen of humanity, he can get all his followers to sexually service him for magic points.

It’s all cool for him, until his high priestess starts making prophesies that he did not conceive – ones that involve him making some kind of supreme sacrifice.  It stirs up the followers so he runs with it at first, but as the hour of his crucifixion nears, he’s like… nuh.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Get thee on the cross, beautiful man.

Spooktober – Days 7 & 8

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

SPOOKTOBER DAY #7 — Killer Animals

TITLE:  Knife Goat

PREMISE:  In honor of a certain absurd piece of Silent Hill concept art that never made it into a final game and is rather hard to dig up on internets at this point, I make a story concept about a goat walking on hind legs, holding a knife.  A modern small city is having modern problems.  Sex scandals, murders, drug issues, whatever.  Suddenly a knife goat appears and publicly murders somebody.  Everything goes berserk, everybody scrambling for explanations, conflicts spill over.

But sense prevails – nobody believes in that kind of stuff these days.  A theory takes hold – it was this or that person in disguise.  Things get back to normal.  Then knife goat appears even more publicly and kills somebody else even more inexplicably.  Conflicts and fury last a bit longer this time, but still sense must be maintained.  People collect their wits, blame somebody specific and do a good job convincing themselves.

Then knife goat appears again, killing multiple people on live TV in broad daylight.  Chaos engulfs the city and it quickly destroys itself.  Knife goat wins.  I’m sure there’s some fun way to depict that triumphal moment of reflection but it escapes me at the moment.

HORROR ELEMENT:  Knife goat kills.

Concept Art for Silent Hill 4

Concept Art for Silent Hill 4

SPOOKTOBER DAY #8 — Holiday Horror

TITLE:  Nach Weihnachten

PREMISE: In honor of the song “Kling, Glöckchen” which invloves Baby Jesus acting like the floaty kid outside the window in Salem’s Lot, this tale would feature das Christkind floating outside people’s windows, begging them for an invitation.  The children have been told that Baby Jesus won’t give them presents if they try to catch a peek, but what should they do if he shows up and asks to be let in?  It would be rude to let him suffer in the cold.  But they soon discover you should never invite a supernatural being into your home, even if he’s the infant incarnation of your savior.

HORROR ELEMENT:  I don’t know, maybe he’s a vampire or something.  His victims have to go to Elf Practice.


Spooktober – Days 5 & 6

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…

SPOOKTOBER DAY #5 — Body Horror

TITLE:  Hot-Handed God of Beasts

PREMISE:  Body horror as a genre is about hitting us in the feels over our own frailty, shocking out sensibilities.  Like, oh snaps, that would suck to experience that.  But I think the genre can also be about the more abstract feelings underlying life, death, and injury.  What are bodies?  What is the soul?  What is the boundary between the living and non-living matter of the world?  Of course, if you’re going that way, it should still be violent or viscerally bitter.
I had this idea once for a sort of homage to John Woo’s movie Hard-boiled, as a series of paintings.  I’m going to appropriate that for this, turn it into a movie idea.  There’s fighting factions in a shabby-looking neighborhood of HongKong, visually evoking the teahouse shootout from the beginning of that movie.  But one side is bird-heads and the other side is rodent-heads.  Why are they shooting each other and hacking each other with machetes?  Nobody knows.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The emphasis will be on their pain and horror at their own deaths.  A body hits the floor and the camera lingers on it – a birdhead not quite dead, blood pouring out of his mouth like a pitcher, blooming into the spilled tea on the floor like ink in water.  A mousehead has eyes wide open and squeals in pain while he’s held down and his body cut up.



TITLE:  Something is Mummy in the State of Denmark

PREMISE:  A shitty racist village in Denmark is temporary home to a British Indian anthropology student.  A bog mummy comes back from the dead to kill all descendants of the man who accused him of crimes he did not commit.  Problem – the way population genetics work, every last person in Denmark and many beyond are descended from the guy.  It looks like he’s killing indiscriminately, but he isn’t attacking Vishal.
Vishal figures out that if the guy could take direct revenge on his wrongdoer, his wrath can be allayed.  He saves the surviving racists by figuring out how to necromancy up the mummy’s foe and they have a huge battle of mummy fu.

HORROR ELEMENT:  It’s not genuinely scary, more of an Evil Dead 2 thing.  Still in genre.

Spooktober – Days 3 & 4

I’m doing a thing with some people to do 31 horror story concepts within October…


TITLE:  Draw Down

PREMISE:  Korean and Japanese gangsters are both looking to take over a financially vulnerable casino in Las Vegas.  The mob bosses know a shootout in the city is a bad look, and strike a weird gentleman’s agreement.  They rent a touristy “Wild West” town for a weekend and take all their men there.  Then they hole up in a bulletproof lounge with a view of the streets and order their men to gunfight to the death.

HORROR ELEMENT: The violence is hyper and suffering real. No medical help for the fallen. The survivors decide their bosses gotta die for putting them thru that, team up to kill ’em nasty.


TITLE:  Bear Trap

PREMISE:  A trapper tries to build a cabin.  The setup can be for a historical/educational look at how cabins are built.  Until…  One disaster after another holds up his progress.  He’s left in the rain, barely surviving, too weak to finish the job properly.  That’s when bears get interested in eating him.  He has to convert the unfinished cabin into an elaborate bear trap.

HORROR ELEMENT:  It’s Saw for bears.  Time to repent that they didn’t cherish pic-a-nic baskets when they had the chance.



Spooktober – 31 Horror Concepts

Content Warning:  Horror Content.

I’m doing a thing where we vote for a horror sub-genre each day of October, then come up with a concept for it.  I’ve been turning in my entries at the last minute, so I’ve resorted to gritty reboots as a creative shortcut.  My concepts thus far:


TITLE:  The Turbo Teen

Premise:  Gritty reboot of that 90s cartoon where a teenager transforms into a hot rod.  He comes home one night unable to remember where he’s been, clothes kinda ripped up.  He lays off the booze but his friends are all peeeer pressure.  Then he starts to have random attacks where parts of his body violently transform into machinery.  An older woman at a bar he used a fake ID to get into seduces him and while they’re about to do it, her pelvic area turns into a motor that tries to rip off his junk.  (She’s the “Scarlet Woman” from The Cult’s song “Love Removal Machine.”)
He hops away and she’s like awooo and turns into a car.  Then he turns into a car to fight her and she realizes he’s the victim of her hit and run on the last full moon.  She takes him under her wing and teaches him how to be a horrible werecar.  But he rebels because he wants to be a good werecar instead, and they fight.  All the while his personal regular life is falling apart because of body horror hijinx.

Horror Element:  turn into machines plz



PREMISE:  Gritty reboot of The Velveteen Rabbit, which is already pretty effin gritty, bear with me.  All the other toys that had to get burned because the kid had Generic Victorian SIckness?  Back from the dead, and Velveteen has to fight them.  This would be staged as a play with dancing, singing, and wirework kung fu.

HORROR ELEMENT:  The burned toys will be played by actors in black clothes with gritty chunks of toy stuck to their extremities.  They’ll dance fight with Velveteen, who will be played by a bunny-eared actress in Milla Jovovich from Resident Evil mode, and at the end she’ll realize she was meant to die as well.  She’ll do a big song/dance number with them and fall into their arms.  The closing curtain will be black velvet.