Nightmares, ghost stories and Kolchak: The Nightstalker

kolchak

Early Inspiration

I developed a love of horror at a very early age. My mother was an avid reader and she loved what she called “Booger Movies.” They terrified me as a child, but I found that I really loved it. The fear of what was happening, the unknown, the different monsters that would be featured. I loved them all.

As a child in the 1970’s, horror was very prevalent in my family. My mother, aunts and grandmother used to tell me stories of local legends from the Ozarks, hauntings and the times they went what they called “spooky hunting” when they would go to old haunted houses and creepy places to see if they could see anything. I loved those stories and they inspired my young mind.

There was a series that debuted in the mid-seventies that really struck a chord with me. Kolchak: The Nightstalker starring Darren McGavin. He was the perfect choice for that role and I seriously doubt I would have enjoyed it quite as much with anyone else playing the irascible Carl Kolchak. Yeah, it was the seventies, so the special effects were super-cheesy by modern standards, but it was the writing and originality that really sold that show for me.

McGavin gave a spectacular performance in each episode. There were two made for TV movies that also went with the series. Great stuff and still thoroughly enjoyable. If you watch the series, just go into it remembering that they had a 1970’s TV budget for special effects. It’s the writing that will hold out. Pound for pound, I’d put that show’s stories up against pretty much any other TV show, of its day or beyond.

They attempted to remake the series in 2005. Don’t get me started on that show. It was terrible. The similarities to the original began and ended with the title and the names of the main characters. I won’t hold that against the original show. I’ll always love the original.

TV shows and movies aside, it was a culmination of these things that instilled a love of the horror genre in me. It made me want to become a horror writer. I read a lot as a young boy. Many different genres from fantasy to action/adventure to thrillers. I have a rather eclectic taste in books. However, at my core, I’m most partial to horror.

The tales I heard from my family about legends and hauntings in the Ozarks only added to that. I set out to create horror stories that were set in and around my beloved Ozarks. I set my debut series here and except for my Sci-Fi project, will likely continue to do so with new projects. I’m working on one now that is set against the backdrop of the area where I was born. It’s a unique pleasure to walk the paths of my boyhood memories and create horror stories in the places I know and love.

This area is steeped in local lore, from Native American tales to stories of the early European settlers to hauntings to bigfoot sightings. As a writer, it’s given me years and years of inspiration and sources for stories. I will always love the horror genre because its limited only by what we find scary, and that covers a lot of territory. As a writer, I may find myself branching out from time to time into other areas, but I’m certain that creepy tales and terrifying stories will always call to me. It’s ingrained in who I am, at this point.

The hills and valleys of the Ozarks have deep, dark woods, abandoned houses, old cemeteries dating to the days before the Civil War and many other amazing places. It’s a rich tapestry from which to draw inspiration and imagery. To the unwary traveler who finds themselves off the beaten path and wondering down the many dark country roads, you never know what might lie beyond the next bend in the road. Or hide behind the big Missouri Oak trees.

I’ve walked in the woods alone at night and heard the cry of a screech-owl so close that it made me jump. I swear, it will make your blood run cold. I’ve also heard many other sounds that will make you shiver in the darkness. Eerie howls, the flapping of wings, unknown footsteps. It’s more than enough to make your imagination run wild with the possibilities.

I know many of you aren’t from this area and may never have the chance to visit. I hope that my writing can take you down some of those lonely roads, dark trails and mist-shrouded valleys. I will do my very best to paint a vivid picture with my words so that you can see these places as I have seen them.

As always, writing is a journey that I am thrilled you have taken with me. I am both humbled and amazed by the reviews, comments and messages I’ve received from all of you throughout my writing career, thus far. I hope that I am fortunate enough to continue this journey for many years to come.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The end is only the beginning. I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. I have plenty more stories to tell and can’t wait to share them with you.

Thank you all, so very much.

D.A.

Leave a Reply