Connolly 1 Since its conception, over two hundred years ago, the horror story in its many various forms has been a creation of British and American literature and is of great importance to literary history. The horror story is a fictional narrative whose main purpose is to frighten or shock the reader and perhaps induce a feeling of repulsion or loathing (Cuddon 416). Originally horror stories were concerned with ghosts, vampires and an array of foul creatures, more recently they have been concerned with murder, superstition, suicide, torture, fear and madness.
The horror story has evolved since its creation. Early writers such as Irving were more interested in people and their superstitions, relieving the story of much of its shock value (Magill 262). Today, horror stories have made a complete 180 degree turn, making a point of leading the reader one way and then twisting the story so greatly that the reader is often left at a complete loss or state of shock.
The more modern stories are often inventive and slick but rarely make any attempt to explain or come to terms with the complex nature of human personality; which, in many cases, adds to the shock value of the story. Edgar Allan Poe played a central role in this evolution. He was the first author to introduce the psychological aspect of horror, bringing the reader into the mind of the protagonist. Poe also introduced the idea of the 'domestic demon', giving his stories a realistic scariness. His influence was so great that most subsequent authors, including modern authors such as King, show the influence of Poe's work; Indick has even gone so far as to say he was the "Newton of the horror story" (Indick 24).
Every author uses his own methods to create horror but ever since...