Can erotic horror be romantic?

I”m always up for a good scare. Ghosts, abandoned houses, demonic possession, things going bump in the night . . . bring it on, I say. The horror genre fascinates me because I find it interesting to consider what truly frightens people. The causes can be so vastly different. A writer who’s figured out how to scare us in an artfully told story or film deserves a round of applause. (yeah, Mr. King. I’m talking about you).

Over the years, horror and erotica have become intermingled, and nowadays there are lotsa books and lotsa movies that are scary and contain lotsa sex. And hey, you’ll hear no complaints from me. I like the smexy stuff just like the next gal. But I did start to wonder whether it’s truly possible to scare the panties (oh my!) off the reader, make her tingle with arousal, and have a satisfying HEA or HFN to boot. Hmmm . . .

A quick Google search of erotic horror gives me results that I expect: references to dungeons and depravity abound. I also uncovered an excellent post by Gregory Burkart entitled Ten Landmarks of Erotic Horror Fiction. But there’s a paucity of results related to erotic romantic horror. Oh, you’ll find results, but are the stories truly scary? Like horror book scary? And truly romantic? Writer Brenna Zinn (on Keira Kohl’s blog) wrote a good piece on the subject recently. She says horror and erotic romance go together like peanut butter and bacon, except that peanut butter and bacon go pretty darn good together. She’s got some examples of what she feels are good erotic horror romance. Check it out here:

As for me, I’m still on the hunt. I want it romantic, scary, and hot, not necessarily in that order. All suggestions welcome.

Until next time,


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  • madeline iva
    September 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Fascinating! I am eager to respond — think I’ll do so on Lady Smut tomorrow. But in the meantime, not sure I’m into the “kinky dungeon gone wrong” plot line. Don’t you think that has a “you asked for it” TDTL kind of element?

    I hunger more for a “good girl in bad situation she did nothing to deserve realizes the old rules no longer apply” kind of situation. The kind of plot in which there’s a really hot, reallllllly bad boy hanging around–and we wonder (as does our heroine) if she can trust him? Or does she even have a choice? THAT kind of plot. Especially if the bad boy might actually be a part of the bad guys.

  • LizEverly
    September 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Sorry Ladies. Not my thing at all. No mixing of scary and sexy for me, or at least not in terms of “horror.” But when it comes to suspense, hellzyeah!

    • madeline iva
      September 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      I think I’m more of a suspense gal too. But I kind of see the difference between the two as a matter of time and intensity. With horror things usually happen so fast, that there’s very little time to choose who to trust, and what to do. Bad decisions are much more forgivable.

      With suspense, it seems more like time slows down, and choices are picked over with plenty of space to second guess them.

      I like both. Or, I like the idea of writing both of them. I love reading suspense and watching it. But sometimes I’ll be watching a horror movie and wonder why I chose to scare myself to death. Speaking of horror – Elizabeth, did you see The Cabin In the Woods? It’s supposed to be a good horror film. I like one of the actors in it a lot.

  • Brenna Zinn
    October 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I’m so glad someone liked my peanut butter and bacon analogy besides me.

    Here’s the deal with my horror romance. Good girl is a sub. Good guy is a Dom. Good girl and good guy enjoy some pretty hot BDSM scenes. Bad guy is a dead guy (bad, BAD Dom) now haunting the good girl’s house.

    No sex with creepy ghosts, zombies, or flesh-eating ghouls keen on ravishing young women. I’ll leave that kind of story for Steven King. 😉

    • madelineiva
      October 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      I’m so glad you cleared this up, Brenna! I had seen your book on Ellora’s Cave even before Elizabeth Shore did a quick review of it, and there was something about the description and the cover that led me to think the plot was something like: good girl finds another dom because her good guy dom is busy or something — and the new dom is a killer with ghosts of those he killed talking to good girl, who finds it’s too late to flee.

      But this is no doubt MY overactive imagination reading too much into the teaser blurb.

      • Brenna Zinn
        October 11, 2012 at 3:06 am

        LOL. I think you’re talking about another book entirely. Mine, Rise of the Dom, doesn’t come out until October 17th.


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