“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free reign so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.”
Today’s guest is young adult author Daniel Kraus, who you may know from his book The Monster Variations, or his new release, Rotters. In celebration of his newest book – in all its grave-robbing glory – we are delighted to have Daniel over to talk about his Inspirations & Influences for this macabre subject.
Please give a warm welcome to Daniel!
Great grave robbing scenes are all over the place in the movies, and I found myself inspired by them during the writing of Rotters. Usually such scenes are held to the periphery of the story, but I wanted to look straight at them and deal with them in a realistic way. At the same time, I was committed to the book leading up to a big gothic climax in a cemetery, complete with rain pounding down and lightening splitting the sky.
Below are a list of movies that I watched before (or, sometimes, during) the process of creating Rotters.
THE BODY SNATCHER
Possibly the best-known film about grave robbing, this pairs Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in a film directed by Robert Wise—the same guy who directed The Sound of Music and West Side Story. No choreographed dance here, though—just murderous foul play loosely based on famous case of Burke and Hare. The final few minutes of this movie are creepy as hell.
How’s this for a backstory? When Mr. Sardonicus’s father is buried with a winning lottery ticket in his pocket, Sardonicus has to dig him back up. But when he sees the obscenely large smile on his father’s skull, his own face becomes similarly frozen. This is one of my favorite horror films, and you’ll get a nice look at the big grave robbing scene in this trailer. (This is also the film where producer William Castle famously gave the audience the “choice” to end the film one of two ways – not mentioning, of course, that he only really shot one ending.)
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE
With all the running and screaming and chainsawing and whatnot, it’s easy to forget that this movie centers on a family of grave robbers. In fact, the very first scene (after that John Larroquette narration) features some positively excruciating sounds of grave robbing: breathing, digging, crumbling, popping. It gets me every time.
DRAG ME TO HELL
Right smack in the middle of writing Rotters, I went to see this wonderful Sam Raimi flick, and what happens at the end? Oh, not much. Just the best grave robbing scene of the past decade! Look fast in this trailer and you’ll get a gruesome glimpse.
REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA
When I was just about finished with my book, I made the questionable decision to watch this weirdo cult musical. To my surprise, one of the first numbers is about a grave robber. When he gets to the part where he sings/screams “GRAAAAAAAAAVES!!!”, I admit I got a little chuckle. But between you and me, there is no shouting in grave robbing. And definitely no singing.
Thank you, Daniel!
We have ONE copy of Rotters to give away to a lucky winner! The contest is open to addresses in the US and Canada and will run until Saturday, April 23 at 11:59pm (PST). In order to enter, simply leave a comment here telling us what YOUR favorite grave-robbing scene/film is! Good luck!