Pop quiz, hotshot. No, really, pop quiz. Get out your no. 2 pencils and your Big Chief tablets, and wrap your brains around these two questions:

Question 1: What do the following stories have in common: Alien; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; Cube; Dracula; The Evil Dead; Fire in the Sky; The Haunting of Hill House; Psycho; Session 9; The Shining; The Silence of the Lambs; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and The Woman in Black.

Question 2: What do the following stories have in common: Cujo; The Exorcist; Funny Games; Godzilla; Halloween; Hellraiser; The Hitcher; I Was a Teenaged Werewolf; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Mist; A Nightmare on Elm Street; The Ring; and Them!

No, it's not merely that they're all horror stories, though that's an excellent guess.

In Question 1, the common element is that all are set in The Bad Place.

In Question 2, the common element is that all are set in The Invaded House.

Let's talk about that those words mean. They're both terms coined by horror expert and RPG writer Kenneth D. Hite (in 1999's Nightmares of Mine from Iron Crown Enterprises and 2002's edition of GURPS Horror from Steve Jackson Games).

The Bad Place is a horror setting which is generally complex and confusing, difficult to escape from, anachronistic, and unnatural and malevolent. Examples would include a haunted house, Transylvania, or a cemetery.

The Invaded House, meanwhile, is a horror setting which is generally safe, secure, and completely normal until it is invaded by a disruptive, intrusive, and unnatural entity. Examples would include a suburban home, a modern grocery store, or a church.

Both can be present in a single story, of course, and the Invaded House can become the Bad Place over the course of a tale, or even from one story to its sequels. But the Bad Place is always going to be the Bad Place.

Setting is, of course, more important in some horror stories than in others -- the Arctic setting in the 1951 version of The Thing is just where the story takes place, whereas the 1982 version's Antarctica is as strong an element of the story as the monster itself. It's hard to create a truly great horror story that neglects the setting.

But no matter how strong your setting is, whether your story takes place in the Bad Place or the Invaded House, it's important to pay close attention to two settings in particular: the Bad Place inside your head, where the stories come from, and the Invaded House inside your reader's head, where your story crawls into...

It's that time of year again. Let's try to scare each other.

Write an original scary story. Write a horror-themed poem. Node a story that is in the public domain. Write a factual writeup that is about horror or scary stuff. Write a biography of a writer or actor closely associated with the horror genre. Create a review of a horror film or story. It can be any length and any topic -- as long as it's scary.

What's the runtime for the Quest? The entire month of October, plus November 1, server time. Halloween is too awesome to limit to just one day a year.

If you need inspiration, or if you just want to see some more of the scary stories that Everythingians have produced, check out our previous horror quests: I can make you howl. And vice versa. Let's get down to business., Everything Quests: Scary Stories, The Blood is the Life: A Frightful Halloween Quest, They Hunger For Nodes: An e2 Halloween Scary Story Quest (sadly, the nodequest entry has been deleted), I Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Text: The 2005 Halloween Horrorquest, It's the Season for Graves Cracking: The 2006 Quest for Fear (another deleted quest announcement, unfortunately), The Poet and the Worm, The Night's Plutonian Shore: The 2007 Halloween Horrorquest, Necronodecon: The 2008 Halloween Horrorquest, Pickman's Nodegel: The 2009 Halloween Horrorquest, Ten Years of Terror: The 2010 Halloween Horrorquest, and The Nodegel from Yuggoth: The 2011 Halloween Horrorquest.

Again, the Quest will run for the entire month of October and November 1. If you post early or late -- too bad, so sad.

When you write a story for the Quest, just /msg me with the node title, then softlink your writeup to this node. I'll include a list of all the Quest participants below.

Additionally, there is the following message and prize offered by corvus. Let us join hands and commune with the spirits:

Slowly but inexorably crawling upon my consciousness and rising above every other impression, came a dizzying fear of the unknown; a fear all the greater because I could not analyse it, and seeming to concern a stealthily approaching menace; not death, but some nameless, unheard-of thing inexpressibly more ghastly and abhorrent.

H.P. Lovecraft, The Crawling Chaos (1921)

In addition to the gruesome quest listed above, corvus is offering a reward (picture posted on his home node) for the writeup that most pleases the Elder Gods.

Rules for the sub-quest:
Cthulhu acknowledges no mortal rules! However, a studious supplicant to the teachings of the Necronomicon would remember that ...

  • The title of any entry into this sub-quest must be messaged directly to corvus
  • Entries into this sub-quest must also be listed in the main quest
  • The winner is up to the sole discretion of the everything2 representative of the Innsmouth Civitan's Club (corvus)

So start thinking horror, boils and ghouls. Halloween is coming. Let's scare each other.

The Girl and The Blood Tree by Uberbanana
Curse of the Defender by Jet-Poop
Golem gee by dannye
Spell of Osiris by Longwalker
This was then, and now I can't even find your grave by Zephronias
A Nightmare on Defender Street by Jet-Poop
Mia's Bad Night by Zephronias
Bloodweiser by borgo
Nema live morf su reviled by wertperch
I was pretty sure that wasn't how slasher films were supposed to end, but you won't see me complaining. by Zephronias
The Ookie-Kabookie Tree by StuartO)))
October 15, 2012 by Zephronias
Scream, Defender, Scream! by Jet-Poop
Coco Loco Underground by The Custodian
Gerrick's hobby by Pandeism Fish
A Simple Method for Enchanting a Magic Whistle by Jet-Poop
Lunacy by Zed Alpha
there are many mansions in my father's house by Auspice
Fire's attention by Zephronias
Danger, Will Robinson by borgo
The Lie-Detecting Beasts of the Great Stalingrad Tractor Factory by Glowing Fish
La pasión de la Llorona by Jet-Poop
While the Angels Blindly Stared by fool4luv
Horroromance, A by artman2003
The Tanzanian Devil 3 by rootbeer277
The Tanzanian Devil 3 2/2 by rootbeer277
Milkybar by Hazelnut

in the dark by Zephronias
Beggars' Night by Lucy-S
The Invisible Man by Lucy-S
I Move The Stones Beneath Your Feet by Uberbanana

rokit fool by haqiqat
Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film by corvus
Halloween on a shoestring by Croakery
TeePeeing by Zephronias

Carnacki the Ghost-Finder by Jet-Poop
Frankenweenie by JD
Sex House by Uberbanana
Scarecrows by Pandeism Fish
World War Z by Uberbanana
Sinister by JD
Berberian Sound Studio by gnarl

Pandeism and Halloween by Pandeism Fish
October 31, 2012 by wertperch
October 31, 2012 by haqiqat

The Quest is now at an end! Many thanks to everyone who participated!

Corvus has awarded the Cthulhu lanyard prize for his sub-quest to Uberbanana for The Girl and The Blood Tree. Congratulations, Uberbanana!

A special late prize was offered by haqiqat, with yours truly to decide the winner. After a great deal of sweat, worrying, and internal strife, I've decided that haqiqat's $40 Amazon card should go to wertperch for Nema live morf su reviled. Congratulations, wertperch!

Thanks to both Corvus and haqiqat for donating the prizes, and thanks again to all of our wonderful participants.

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