Meet The Writer: Iain McKinnon

20 04 2011

What first attracted you to horror writing?

Not a great question to start with, I’m not a fan of horror and I wouldn’t call myself a horror writer. But it’s not what I think about my work that’s important it’s the reader’s opinion that’s key.
I’ve never been drawn to horror as a reader or a viewer. I think because I find very few things scary. That’s not to say I don’t jump at the false scare in a horror movie but very few things creep me out. The exception being zombies. I saw Romero’s Day of the Dead on video in the eighties and that gave me nightmares for years. Romero’s zombies just touch so many raw nerves, the thought of becoming a zombie, being overwhelmed by an unstoppable force, the collapse of civilisation. Zombies had been gnawing their way through my nightmares for years. Then I saw the Dawn of the Dead remake. I’d loved the original and I thought the remake was fantastic. But I didn’t like the running zombies. I can totally understand why they were needed to up the ante, in cinema there’s a horror arms race to go that one step further (look at the whole Torture Porn genre that evolved). But unlike film where you have ninety minutes to scare your audience, I realised that with a novel you can go into more detail and build up that horror and menace of the zombie, and still have the Romero style shambling undead as a believable nemesis.
I guess it was seeing the remake of Dawn of the Dead that made me sit up and think “hey I know a shed load about zombies and I can write a believable zombie novel!”

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