Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Guest Author & Giveaway: Daniel Kraus on Inspirations & Influences

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.


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.)


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.

Video available here


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.

Video available here


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!

You Might Also Like


  • SandyG265
    April 15, 2011 at 7:01 am

    My favorite grave robber scene is from the old Boris Karloff / Bela Lugosi Body Snatchers film.

  • Bohemienne
    April 15, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Oh, I think Young Frankenstein is always going to be my favorite gravedigging scene. 😀 The book sounds great! Best of luck, Daniel!

  • Kaethe
    April 15, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Sadly, I do not have a favorite body snatcher scene. I guess I need to put down those books and catch some movies.

  • Katrina
    April 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Well, I can’t think of any memorable grave-robbing moments, but I’d love to read this book! Then maybe I could go and do some myself…

  • D.L.
    April 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    “weirdo cult musical” lol? I freakin’ love that movie! And the grave robber is one of the best characters in it! My bff and I get together a few times a year to watch it. So my fav grave robbing scene is hands down the one in Repo! you posted about.

  • Sheila K.
    April 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Young Frankenstein—ghoulishly hilarious!

  • Bethie
    April 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win this one.

  • Courtney
    April 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    The only scene I can think of is the one in My Dog Skip.

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    April 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I really can’t of any grave robbing scenes from any movies. Maybe Pet Cemetery. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  • Katie A
    April 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, when the guy is stamping books at the library and Indy breaks the floor at the same time 🙂 Though Adele Blanc-Sec’s mummy-naping is pretty fun too…

  • vvb
    April 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    so deliciously creepy. i was looking for the body snatcher on netflix. not there 🙁

    hmm, fave grave robbing is from raiders of the lost ark.

  • ThisViewOfMine
    April 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    OMGOSH. I love the movie Repo The Genetic Opera. 😀

  • Scribe Kira
    April 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    pretty monsters by: kelly link is a collection of short stories and the first one has a grave-robbing scene. pretty good book!=o)
    thanks for the awesome giveaway and good luck to all!!!!!=o)

  • debbie
    April 16, 2011 at 2:59 am

    I really liked I Sell the Dead. It was “loosely” based on real graverobbers.

  • Ariana A.
    April 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    The classic grave seen from the original Frankenstein.

  • Alexandra
    April 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I once read a book about corpses called Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers which was really good. Nonfiction though, so I’m not sure it counts…Since I can’t think of anything else, that’s what I’ll go with.

  • alana
    April 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I disagree completely. I always love a little song and dance to go with my grave robbing. Repo is so full of win.

  • Brittany
    April 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    One I remember is in one of the Friday the 13th movies ( can’t for the life of me remember which one, they’re all pretty much one long movie anyway) when he goes to dig grave to make sure that Jason is dead and there’s 2 kids already digging up his grave. And then BAM! Jason comes back to life – for like, the billionth time. 🙄

  • jenmitch
    April 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    buffy the vampire slayer has plenty of grave digging, and i love all things buffy. 🙂

  • Katy
    April 18, 2011 at 4:51 am

    From The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey; it’s not a film, but I could see it in my head as if it WAS 🙂

  • Su
    April 18, 2011 at 9:54 am

    If stealing corpses counts as grave-robbing, definitely the scene in Princess Bride when Inigo and Fezzik steal Westley’s corpse. Mostly because I know Miracle Max is coming up next. =)

  • Jessy
    April 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Trainspotting is my favorite movie about grave robbers. Not sure if that counts since I can’t pick out a particular scene but it is a great movie. Thank you for the giveaway 😉

  • Jessy
    April 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Trainspotting is my favorite movie about grave robbers. Not sure if that counts since I can’t pick out a particular scene but it is a great movie. Thank you for the giveaway 😉

  • Amy C
    April 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I can’t say I know any books/movies that have stuff to do with grave robbing. Watching the first episode of Buffy, I got so scared (you know, in between making fun of the bad fashion sense) that I couldn’t bear to watch the second. And the classic slasher movies? Not for me, never for me.

  • heatwave16
    April 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Hmmm…I can’t think of my favorite grave robbing scene, but my favorite digging out of a grave scene is a tie between Kill Bill & Buffy.


  • Amelia P.
    April 20, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Hands down, my favorite grave-robbing has scene has to be from the Indonesian horror film “Tali Pocong Perawan”. The entire movie was just so bad in an absurdly and hysterically funny way. That scene in particular was just so awkward and even included random gremlin type creatures that were never explained nor appeared again…

  • Bailey
    April 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I couldn’t for the life of me think of a grave robber scene so I actually went and watched a movie from the comments… Repo! The Genetic Opera FTW. Awesome.

  • Priya
    April 22, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I haven’t seen any- they freak me out too much. =] But I would love to win this book!


Leave a Reply