Jun 6, 2014

Three Premises for Tales of Horror, Inspired by Heavy Metal... And Who Knows What Else

Maybe it’s just me, but Friday strikes me as a metal sort of day. You know what else metal fans gravitate toward? Horror movies. In my teens, I began a long-lasting affair with heavy metal music and scary movies. So the following prompts are, in a way, tribute to some of the forces that shaped my imagination. Let’s open the chthonic gates and see what comes out.

by Jeffrey Alan Love

Nightmare Number One

Consider a species older than humanity. They hail from a star so distant it may have gone nova by now. They can’t remember the star’s name, or what they call themselves.

The first stirrings of poetry among humans slowly tease them back from millennial sleep. As they wake, their changeable bodies come to resemble those of black rats.

They will make their homes in tunnels and sewers, listening to Sumerian poets and Greek tragedies. To Shakespeare and Beckett and Brecht. And when they feel strong and ready – which they will, soon – the black rats will take our words, leaving us mute and bewildered. Looking each other in the eye, but struggling with a leaden silence.

A crystallized pyramid of rodent bodies will emerge from the deepest pit of their underground colony and depart for the void, to look for signs of civilization elsewhere.

Musical Inspiration:

Nightmare Number Two

Jeremy finds his body slowly turning into a guitar. The pain takes on the quality of music, by and by, and its melodies grow long and involved, the fingerings quick and frenzied.

Nobody notices. Not in the street, not at home, certainly not at the church where he never belonged.

Nobody understands that his body is changing. That the substratum of Jeremy’s mind has turned into musical notation. Whenever he tries to speak Jeremy shoots out a flurry of tritones and pentatonic scales. Jeremy’s wife hears complaints about the fridge; his kids ignore him; the pastor suggests prayer meetings and a deeper connection with God.

At night the torrent of song becomes unbearable. It replaces his dreams with funeral dirges and laments. And Jeremy’s heart strings tense and vibrate and wail as a shadow plucks at them — until dawn creeps in through the window or the pain lulls his body into a coma.

Musical Inspiration:

Nightmare Number Three

A post-human race of time travelers hides among us, causing panics, ordering assassinations, motivating kill-crazy cultists and creating as much disinformation as they possibly can; all for scientific purposes. These post-humans revel in their role as improvers of the human animal.

Musical Inspiration:


What will you do with these story premises? How far can your imagination take them?

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