After the Attack: Horror Sequels

Happy Halfoween!

halfoween april (5)

Get out your now empty plastic eggs and fill them with fingers and eyeballs. Behead the Daffodils. Leave bloody footprints as you tiptoe through the red tulips. Keep watch for killer bunnies.

As we’re halfway to Halloween, I began to ponder how, in scary books and movies, we are given only half of the story.

The demon has been defeated by rituals and symbols. The ghost vanquished. The insane killer with the chainsaw has been left to die in a rock quarry or lake. The vampire staked. The werewolf left breathless by the silver bullet. All the evil driven back to hell where it belongs…well, most of the time.

We say a sad farewell to the survivors as they limp away into the shadows. The blood-covered maiden escorted into the ambulance or police car. The weary faced man gazing upon the house as it implodes. The tear-streaked cheeks of the kid who just wanted to play.

We witnessed the big story, the fight, the fear. People died horrible deaths.

But what happens after the horror?

Sure watching a group battle a horde of zombies or run screaming from the guy in the mask is exciting…scary! Gets our blood pumping, our imaginations racing.

But what about our favorite characters’ lives after the blood has been wiped away. Living with a past haunted by ghosts, by pain, by loss, is just as horrifying.

Which brings me to my favorite horror sequel.

Cover of Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, published by Scribner in 2013

Cover of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, published by Scribner in 2013 from Google Images

The other half of Danny Torrance’s story. The half where we learn what happened to the boy who faced the horrors of the Overlook Hotel, where we learn what emotional scars remain from having lost his father to that place. I love The Shining. Dude, that book is the reason why hedge animals make me cry. And the world waited a long time for the sequel. And, oh boy, did I love it too! The Shining gave me an end, the end of the Overlook. And Doctor Sleep gave me an end, the end of Danny’s suffering…the beginning of peace for him.

So for Halfoween, let’s think on all the characters we’ve watched survive the most horrific events and wonder what happened after the battles. Maybe surviving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe the horror sequel would be just as terrifying. Maybe the scars are just as scary.


  • Erica Davis
    April 15, 2016

    Come to think of it, it’s like the opposite of THE END. More like AND THEN…And I hate it. I hate it so much I can’t stop myself from going back for more. I haven’t read DOCTOR SLEEP. Yet. But yeah, it was pretty clear that evil wasn’t done.

    Kath, do you think the story-makers PLAN the returns/sequels ahead of time? Even if they don’t, it still works. Like, there’s always going to be something bigger, badder, or bloodier than what just happened. AND THEN…poof! the evil entity has its own demons…

    • Kathy Palm
      Erica Davis
      April 15, 2016

      I know Stephen King never planned to write Doctor Sleep. Danny suddenly started talking to him again. And boy am I glad. I am planning a THE END/AND THEN to a short I wrote called Price to Pay, that will be pubbed soon, to show all the horror of those emotional scars. I think those are pretty darn creepy.

  • seebrianwrite
    April 15, 2016

    Love this post! So much of Woodsview #2 is going to be about he scars Avery and Quinn have from surviving the Harvester.

  • Rita (R. A. Slone)
    April 15, 2016

    Nice post, Kathy! This book is on my long list to read. Maybe I should move it up 🙂

    • Kathy Palm
      Rita (R. A. Slone)
      April 19, 2016

      I loved Doctor Sleep! A new story, but linked back to the story in The Shining…fabulous.

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