Retro Cineplex

My Brief Obsession With Horror Haiku

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Like most irritating romantic sods I am not ashamed to say that I’ve written the odd bit of verse once or twice. This was usually done to impress members of the fairer sex who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the inane metaphors and pathetic rhymes I tried to peddle. I remember thinking, as a teen, “Hell, if Alan Moore and Robert E. Howard can do it, then by damn so can I.” Sure, Stephen King’s poetry sucked, but that didn’t means mine would. Alas, no. My poetry sucked far worse than sai King’s, and that’s probably an understatement.

Given my sordid history with the medium it surprised me that I was inspired to step back into the world of verse when I briefly became enamored with Haiku a couple of years ago. A friend gifted me a book of modern haikus back in Christmas of 2017. Most of the poems within were either nasty, profound, or opaque, but it sparked a desire to try my hand at the form, as a mental exercise if nothing else.

Subject matter was hard to come by, and though I managed to stick to the accepted three lines and 5-7-5 syllable restrictions quite easily, I was unable to write about Nature as a subject without cringing uncontrollably. Not that I don’t like Nature; writing about it just felt unbearably fake and saccharine to me. Fortunately I soon happened upon an underappreciated Haiku subgenre that made my compositions infinitely easier – the Horror Haiku.

What follows are a few I churned out in 2017 and 2018. I did this solely for myself, to stave off boredom perhaps, or to simply see if I could impress the jaded teen buried deep within. I succeeded in the former, but failed spectacularly in the latter.

Most of these haikus were inspired by horror films, but some were done for a laugh, like the Lone Wolf & Cub entry. Still, I got a kick out of writing them, and might return to the form one day, who knows? For now, though, I’m sharing them, otherwise they’ll gather dust on my rarely frequented Instagram account. So here they are:

Inspired by John Carpenter’s classic The Thing (1982)

My Brief Obsession With Horror Haiku
Inspired by Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The little antichrist reflects his thoughts in haiku form. You’d have to remember the end of the film to fully understand this one.
Pet Sematary (1989). I blended one King property with another here. After all, Pet Sematary and Sometimes They Come Back both deal with Zombies. Or do they?
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (1987). A franchise I return to again and again. I couldn’t NOT write a haiku about it.

My Brief Obsession With Horror Haiku
Lone Wolf & Cub (Manga). I experimented with comic book SFX here.

Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). “It” in this haiku refers to Drac, obviously, and the conversation he had with Mina in a tea room halfway through the film. For some reason that bit always stuck with me.

The Crow (1994)

Predator (1987). Not very original, as this parrots Mac’s eulogy to his dead friend Blain almost word for word. It felt good writing it, though.

If you haven’t seen Guillermo Del Toro’s brilliant The Devil’s Backbone (2001), hopefully this will entice you to see it. One of my absolute favorites.

2006’s Black Sheep. The trailer alone made this haiku pour out of my skull like the bloody entrails of those poor New Zealand farmers.

Want to post your own horror haikus, or know of any good ones you’d like to share? Let me know, and I’ll include them in a follow-up post. As for myself, I’ve still got a few in mothballs that I might share someday. Whether they’re fit for publication is up for debate, but I’ll let you decide.


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On my fifth birthday a relative gifted me a black box filled with old horror, war, and superhero comics. On that day, my journey through the Weird began, and The Longbox of Darkness was born. Four decades of voracious reading later, and here we are.

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