ORIGINS OF MY LOVE OF HORROR 19

Derek Austin Johnson
2 min readSep 22, 2022

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Today is September 21. Stephen King’s birthday. So we are perhaps obligated to talk about our favorite King work, or in this case, our first King work.

I wrote about both the book and movie versions of The Shining in an earlier post. At the time I read the book and saw the movie, I didn’t know who either King or Stanley Kubrick were. So when I picked up a copy of his story collection Night Shift, I knew a little more about King, and read the stories with interest.

In fact, the first story I began reading was “The Boogeyman” because many of my seventh-grade classmates cited it as one of the scariest things they’d ever read. And they weren’t wrong. Set in a psychiatrist’s office, a patient describes how his entire family has been murdered by a strange apparition. It’s a brief story but engaging, with elements of Edgar Allan Poe, and captures well a descent into madness and horror.

Other stories are strong. “Sometimes They Come Back” is an unnerving tale of the past coming back to haunt its lead character, while “Battleground” serves as an homage to Richard Matheson. You can’t go wrong with any of these stories.

Have you read Night Shift? Do you have a favorite story in the collection? Do you have a different favorite King collection, or a favorite horror collection in general? Let me know in the comments.

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