A Monstrous Evolution, or, How I Came to Love the Monster
© 2013 John Grover
My name is John Grover, I write horror and fantasy fiction and I love monsters. There, I said it. I won’t hide it anymore. Oh, who am I kidding? I never really hid that, haven’t really hidden that since I discovered Creature Double Feature on TV. If you were like me, once you saw that first show with the five hundred foot lizard breathing radioactivity over Japan or the glowing woman whose touch was death or the Atomic man with one eye running amok, or the dead come back to life to seek revenge, you were hooked.
Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s I immersed myself with the likes of Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein. I devoured books about dinosaurs, Dungeons and Dragons, and alien life until I moved onto Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker. On TV I couldn’t get enough of the previously mentioned show or the weekend matinees that often played on Sunday afternoons. My weekends were a steady diet of Jason and the Argonauts, The People that Time Forgot, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, The Giant Majin, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Attack of the Mushroom People, Them!, The Thing, The Satanic Rites of Dracula.
For the last thirty years these movies and books have fueled my imagination and gave me such joy that I couldn’t help but want to write about them. I started by drawing and writing picture books, stapling pieces of paper together into books that I would draw made up monsters into along with a story. I soon discovered I couldn’t draw for beans but I sure could write. That was all it took. My love affair with monsters led to writing and publishing and creating works that have appeared in anthologies, magazines, e-zines and even books published by some small press publishers.
Over the years the monsters have changed but my love for them never did. In fact it grew deeper… creatures such as the Xenomorph from Alien, The Cenobites in Hellraiser, The huge demon in Pumpkinhead, and the flesh-eating zombies of Dawn of the Dead only made me want more so I created them myself, and when I turned eighteen, I took this writing thing more seriously. In my book Creatures and Crypts, a book that spans my entire writing career, I’ve spawned a host of monsters straight from my imagination….from a spindly creature that lives in the walls of an old mansion to the undead dog that gets his revenge on his killer and many others… the carnivorous plant that takes over a gardener’s home, the body possessing Wights and the mouthless creatures that steal sanity.
That is but one volume of monstrous tales. In Feminine Wiles I turn my focus on one of my favorite and often overlooked monsters—the female monster. Here I take the reader on a journey filled with Harpies, Witches, Baba Yaga from Russian mythology and Medusa from Greek mythology. This book is an ode to all those women who finally got the upper hand–or claw–on their male counterparts.
In my newest book Frozen Stiff I write about one of the more classic monsters, and one that has become very popular in the last few years…zombies. People can’t seem to get enough of them now, and we even analyze them, debate about them, and try to find the social message in them. To me, it’s just another monster that makes me feel like a ten-year-old again.
I look back on my writing and the stories and books I’ve had published and smile, remembering my days growing up with my brother on a cold, winter night, watching monsters delight us on TV. Much like our ancestors that used to light candles in pumpkins to ward off the Bogies and Goblins, who used to tell tales of the lake fairy that pulled children to their death or the large wolf on the foggy moors who could carry men off into the darkness, I see myself doing exactly what they used to do. Sharing stories. Passing them from one generation to another, and that’s exactly what I hope will happen to my stories about monsters.
Maybe one day a kid will read my stuff, and with a gleam in his eye, share the love of monsters that I have never forgotten. I’m John Grover, and yes, love monsters and I’m proud of it.
John Grover is a fiction author from Massachusetts and a member of the New England Horror writers. You can find more about him on his website www.shadowtales.com or his Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/johngroverdarkfictionauthor.
His most recent books are Oblivion 6, Let’s Play in the Garden and Frozen Stiff: A Zombie Novella.