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Portal:Horror fiction

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The Horror fiction Portal

Introduction

Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks, or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural, though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

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The Vampire, by Philip Burne-Jones, 1897
Vampires are mythological or folkloric revenants who subsist by feeding on the blood of the living. In folkloric tales, the undead vampires often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today's gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early Nineteenth Century. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in most cultures, the term vampire was not popularised until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania. This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to what can only be called mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.

In modern times, however, the vampire is generally held to be a fictitious entity, although belief in similar vampiric creatures such as the chupacabra still persists in some cultures. Early folkloric belief in vampires has been ascribed to the ignorance of the body's process of decomposition after death and how people in pre-industrial societies tried to rationalise this, creating the figure of the vampire to explain the mysteries of death. Porphyria was also linked with legends of vampirism in 1985 and received much media exposure, but has since been largely discredited.

The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori; the story was highly successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula which is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of the modern vampire legend. The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, and television shows. The vampire has since become a dominant figure in the horror genre.

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Horror-related WikiProjects

Little-vampire.svg You are invited to participate in WikiProject Horror, a WikiProject dedicated to developing and improving articles about horror fiction and films.
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Randall Flagg is a fictional character created by Stephen King. The character first appeared in the novel The Stand (1978), and has since been featured in various novels by King, sometimes as the main antagonist and others as in a brief cameo. He often goes under different names, most of which can be abbreviated by the initials R.F. However, there are exceptions to this rule; in The Dark Tower series, the name most often associated with Flagg is Walter o'Dim. Flagg is described as "an accomplished sorcerer and a devoted servant of the Outer Dark" with general supernatural abilities involving necromancy, prophecy, and unnatural influence over predatory animal and human behavior. His goals typically center on spreading destruction and causing conflict, usually through bringing down civilizations.

This day in horror

18 July

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