Extract From Wikipedia
..Le Fanu worked in many genres but remains best known for his mystery and horror fiction. He specialised in tone and effect rather than “shock horror”, and liked to leave important details unexplained and mysterious. He avoided overt supernatural effects: in most of his major works, the supernatural is strongly implied but a “natural” explanation is also possible. The demonic monkey in “Green Tea” could be a delusion of the story’s protagonist, who is the only person to see it; in “The Familiar”, Captain Barton’s death seems to be supernatural, but is not actually witnessed, and the ghostly owl may be a real bird. This technique influenced later horror artists, both in print and on film (see, for example, the film producer Val Lewton’s principle of “indirect horror”). Though other writers have since chosen less subtle techniques, Le Fanu’s best tales, such as the vampire novella “Carmilla”, remain some of the most powerful in the genre. He had enormous influence on one of the 20th century’s most important ghost story writers, M. R. James, and although his work fell out of favour in the early part of the 20th century, towards the end of the century interest in his work increased and remains comparatively strong.
This image has inspired me. I have always had an interest in horror novels (and movies), particularly those that expose the readers imagination to cause the horror effect. I remember reading the shining by Stephen King when I was around 11/12 years old and then going on holiday with my dad were the hotel had hedge creatures! I spent a large amount of the holiday keeping an eye on the hedge animals for suspected movements, the slightest breeze putting me on high alert and holding onto my dads hand (something that was very uncool at that age).
For me, James Herbert was the modern master of this type of writing. I raced through his novels soaking up every word and loved the feeling of falling asleep with the lamp on in case something made a noise in the middle of the night. Both “the magic cottage” and “the secrets of crickley hall” being particular favorites’ and I love re-reading these every few years.
I love that this type of creepy horror and it is coming back into fashion with writers such as Susan Hill and Jonathan Ayecliffe recovering this genre from neglect. I’m sure most readers of horror will agree imagination beats gore every time.
Time for some more horror reading…and maybe a little bit of writing too.