I grew up with two younger sisters who probably owned five million dolls between the two of them. They had plenty of mass-market stuff like Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids, but also a few “lifelike” porcelain dolls. I wouldn’t say that these dolls “scared” me, but there always was something more mysterious and unsettling about them, with their stiff, white bodies and old-timey dresses.
From Child’s Play to Annabelle to the Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll,” dolls have been mined for their horror potential for a long time. What is it about dolls that makes them so freaky? Author Ania Ahlborn has some thoughts. She saw a doll-centric horror movie early on in life that left such a impression on her, she went on to write scary stories of her own.Continue Reading
Quiet horror is, to me, the most effective style of horror, especially when it comes to written horror. Shocks, gore, jump scares—when done right, those things work in the moment. But quiet horror, when done right, lingers. Stays with you. Comes back to you at the worst (i.e., the best) possible times, like when you’re just about to drift off to sleep and you hear a soft thump behind the closet door, or when you catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye that disappears when you look straight at it. Shock hits you and then wears off a second later and you’re laughing, shaking your head, saying “They got me again.” Quiet horror hangs around, and when it comes back to you, nobody is laughing.Continue Reading
Ania Ahlborn is the bestselling author of the horror thrillers Brother, Within These Walls, The Bird Eater, The Shuddering, The Neighbors, and Seed, and the novella The Pretty Ones. Her latest release is The Devil Crept In, out now from Gallery Books. Recently, Ania was kind enough to take time out from exploring the dark corners of her imagination to share a few words with us.
The Devil Crept In is the second people-go-into-the-woods-and-bad-things-happen book I’ve read this year (after Nick Cutter’s excellent Little Heaven), and the third in recent memory (including Paul Tremblay’s excellent Disappearance at Devil’s Rock). Ania Ahlborn’s latest novel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with those two—not just because of the premise, but because of the excellence of its execution. Continue Reading
Brother by Ania Ahlborn Gallery Books (September 2015) 336 pages, e-book $7.99, paperback $12.97 Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
This is the second book I’ve read this year from Ania Ahlborn, having read Within These Walls back in April and now Brother. Both works are fine examples of literary horror and each is well worth your time as a reader.
Brother is the disturbing story of the Morrow family who live deep in the heart of the Appalachians in West Virginia. This is a family that has managed to take all of the fun out of dysfunctional. There is definitely a strange family dynamic at play here, with abusive parents and siblings that are just as bad. “Folks like the Morrows didn’t have much. They got by living off the land.” This is a quote that goes much deeper than what’s on the surface.Continue Reading