Old School Horror

Old-School Horror

Nick Cutter, author of THE TROOP, on his horror influences

24 Feb 2014

I’m old school when it comes to horror. Not old-old school, not Nosferatu and Hammer Films old (though those are great); I’m talking 80s-90s vintage horror.

I was into the splatterpunk movement, sought out the boldest and the most extreme horror I could lay my hands on. It was always a treat to ferret out some nasty piece of work by David J Schow or Ed Lee or Jack Ketchum – or even Roald Dahl or Piers Anthony. Filmwise, I followed the same line. My friends and I would head to a huge video store (remember those?) in our town, the sort of place run by high school dropouts who resembled roadies-in-training and who could be counted on to order some of the weirdest films to fill the shelves. It was there that I rented the entire filmography of my country’s pre-eminent horror-meister, David Cronenberg; my horror education continued under John Carpenter, Brian Yuzna, Peter Jackson’s early work, Italian schlocksters such as Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento and Mario Bava, George A Romero, the trippy horror of David Lynch … point being, it had to be extreme. That was the aesthetic me and my buddies dug. If the movie felt as if it had been made by a pack of escaped mental patients, we’d love it. If fake blood ran by the bucketful, so much the better. If it was a story about an old mansion in the hills where the residents were driven slowly insane by mincing ghosts, no, we likely weren’t into that … if the ghosts wielded chainsaws, however, you might’ve gotten a bite from us.

I would like any potential readers to understand that in relation to my book, The Troop. It’s important, I think, for readers to know where a writer comes from and what has influenced his or her tastes when it comes to their own work. As such, it would be unfair and uncool to give anyone the impression that The Troop wasn’t written in the same vein of the writers and directors mentioned above. It’s an adrenal, nasty, rattlesnake-mean piece of work. There ain’t no blowsy ghosts drifting through scarlet-lit hallways in this book (not that there’s anything the matter with ghosts!). There ain’t no shimmery vampires, either. This is old-school, 80’s-vintage, take-no-prisoners, fireballin’ horror. It’s the literary equivalent of grain alcohol: cheap, 90-proof rotgut, and it’ll burn all the way down. That’s what I grew up to reading and it’s what I decided to serve up to readers with The Troop, raw and bloody and on the hoof. I hope you enjoy it, but take my advice and don’t read it on a full stomach.

THE TROOP is published on 25th February 2014.


The Troop

By Nick Cutter

Winner of the inaugural James Herbert Award, THE TROOP is a novel that cannot fail to get under your skin...

He felt something touch his hand. Which is when he looked down.

For the scouts of Troop 52, three days of camping, hiking and survival lessons on Falstaff Island is as close as they'll get to a proper holiday.

Which was when he saw it.

But when an emaciated figure stumbles into their camp asking for food, the trip takes a horrifying turn. The man is not just hungry, he's sick. Sick in a way they have never seen before.

Which was when he screamed.

Cut off from the mainland, the troop face a terror far worse than anything they could have made up around a campfire. To survive they will have to fight their fears, the elements ... and eventually each other.

THE TROOP scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night.Lean and crisp ... Disquieting, disturbingDisturbing, disgusting, and bone-chilling. I am delightedNick Cutter pulls out all the stops in The Troop. This is a brilliant and deeply disturbing novel that you absolutely cannot put down. Highly recommendedA grim microcosm of terror and desperation ... hauntingNick Cutter brings a bone-chilling spin to a classic horror scenario in The Troop. It's Lord of the Flies meets Night of the Creeps, and I enjoyed it immenselySuspenseful ... sinister ... horrifying'The Thing meets Lord of the Flies in this fast-paced, addictive novel that will really get under your skin.Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories. He lives in Toronto, Canada.'Scared the hell out of me' Stephen KingA modern horror with a credible - and terrifying - threat.Combines deftly drawn characters with fantastically rendered gore.A lead title for Gallery, the US publisher.

Nick Cutter

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories. He lives in Toronto, Canada.