TFFOS: Kendare Blake -- Guest Post & Giveaway

KENDARE BLAKE is the debut author of the highly anticipated ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and one of two belated TFFOS features (sorry!). But that doesn't make it any less awesome. So put your hands together for Kendare who's bringing her usual wit and humor to shed some light on the age-old phenomenon of horror villains.

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They're not just regular villains

Villains. They play a part in nearly every story. They’re the counterpart to the hero, the driving force of the plot. They are the Other. The Anti. And the good ones are either a whole hell of a lot of fun, or cover your eyes scary. The best ones are both. But let’s talk a moment about a particular breed of villain: the horror villain. Because all villains are not horror villains. Some villains just want to ruin your life. They want to undermine you in front of your peers. They want to steal your significant other. They want to cut your brake lines so it looks like an accident and then inherit your family fortune. Or maybe they just want to drench you in pig’s blood at the senior prom. Whatever. Don’t be such a baby about it.

Then there are the horror villains. What’s the difference? Well, the differences can be subtle. And there are varied opinions. For instance, here’s a litmus test. Does the villain look like this?

Hey, Clown. Close it up. Eating all those children has given you breath of death.

Because if it does, you’re probably dealing with a horror villain. That there is not just the face of madness. That’s the face of evil. Evil, people, without a cause. Horror villains kill. Why do they kill? For two reasons. One, because they want to, and two, because there is no reason. Horror villains want your fear, they want your blood, and if they’re interested in your significant other, it’s only because they want their fear and blood too. Personally, I find the lack of reason to be the most unnerving thing about them. You ask evil why it’s evil and all it does is smile at you.

Motives? Forget about it. Resolution by reasoning? Prepare to see your insides on your outside. Of course, there are ways to be a horror villain and still have quantifiable goals. How? Simple. Be dead.

If you’re a ghost, you can have an agenda. In Joe Hill’s fantastic Heart Shaped Box, the main character is stalked by an old man ghost in a black suit, with black scribbles over its eyes and a straight-edge razor hanging from a chain. He hasn’t yet been brought to the screen, but I’ve always thought he looked like the preacher from Poltergeist 2:

Remember that guy? The rest of the movie was pretty lame, but that guy is too scary to be a functioning human. Where could he work if not on that movie? If he was playing guitar in the subway station I would throw my change into his case from across the platform while screaming incoherently.

Another clue that you may be dealing with a horror villain: is the villain an inanimate object or an animal? In Caitlin R. Kiernan’s wonderful The Red Tree, the malevolent presence is the titular Red Tree. An oak of evil. In Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, the malevolent presence is the cemetery, and by extension, all of the evil cats and dogs and goldfish that keep on popping out of it.

Horror villains, unlike other villains, are evil and frightening in and of themselves. They scare you to look at them. Except for Freddy Krueger. I love him, and the concept is brilliant, but there’s nothing scary about that guy. The hat and the sweater? The Buffy-esque quips?

What is that? Jazz hands?

Thanks to Jenn for inviting me to Paranormal Week at Books at Midnight, and for hosting my love letter to horror villains. In celebration of Paranormal Week, I’m giving away a finished copy of Anna Dressed in Blood, which I’ll send to the winner as soon as they are available.


Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.



As Kendare mentioned, she's kindly offering a finished copy of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD to one lucky winner! For an extra entry, comment with your favorite horror villain and tell me what makes him/her/IT so creepy.

To enter, fill out the form below. Contest ends 8/15 at 11:59PM EST, and open internationally.