It’s hard to find a horror top ten that doesn’t include a King title, given his prodigious output and never ending fountain of good ideas. Indeed, there are now so many titles by the horror guru that USA Today has taken to picking out random classics for their yearly literature roundups rather than trying to contend with it all. By combining futuristic fears and very pertinent current day boogeyman horror, King has set an incredible writing culture that many others now stick to and use the influence of in their own brilliant, modern works.
One of the authors most influenced by King, both in style and conduct, is Bentley Little. Some of the most famed books by Bentley Little include The Store, The Association and The House. While some authors who move into the horror genre prefer to shy away from the title, Little has been noted for how he embraces it; including by Stephen King. His books typically have short titles using the “The” signifier, and deal with a range of themes often centered on small-town America. The horror in Little’s books is so specific, and so valued, that it often doesn’t pass as easily with a mainstream audience – just as much of King’s literature does, unknowingly to some pop fans. This is one of the reasons that a recent adaptation of The Consultant has seen showrunner Amazon make several amendments to the ending, as featured by Screen Rant.
Another King-inspired author, Tananarive Due has recently branched out into teaching and lecturing, as highlighted by the University of Iowa, which is a measure of just how important her work is. Apart from being phenomenally high quality and some of the scariest literature out there, Due’s books also deal with several modern-day issues, typically concerning race, and has worked with Get Out director Jordan Peele in producing a set of lessons stemming from her work and that of the cinema horror classics. King’s books often dealt with social issues of the day and as an author he is progressive – another point in which the two authors dovetail.
Much of the horror works of the 2000s and 2010s were marked by happy endings. This was much to the chagrin of seasoned authors, who knew a happy ending wasn’t essential to a compelling horror story. This orthodoxy has recently been turned on its head with the M. Night Shyamalan reproduction of Paul Tremblay’s Knock at the Cabin, according to CNBC. Paul Tremblay speaks of the need for horror to have the ending that suits it, and for stories to follow the path they would within their constructed world. That sense of place is key in King novels and music to the ear of horror enthusiasts.
Together, these authors are pushing the boundary on horror writing and refreshing concepts. Inspired by King and the creativity that was writ large through the stories that he wrote, and continues to write, that’s a good news story for the wider horror genre.