Tim Lebbon’s dark materials

I started as a horror writer and now I’m also writing (quite dark) fantasy with Echo City. The combination of these two genres can produce some very memorable results, so I thought I’d share my favourite fantasy/horror crossovers in books, TV and film:

When I first saw The Dark Crystal I was mesmerised by the story, the darkness, the landscape and creatures, and the sad and heroic main characters. I fell in love with world building, and Echo City bears witness to the fun I have imagining strange, unique new worlds. I saw it again recently with my children, and was equally mesmerised by the animation, and the love and skill that went into making this unique film.

My second film choice is much more recent. Guillermo Del Toro is a genius, and Pan’s Labyrinth is his towering achievement. It’s beautiful, haunting, wondrous, and I’ve cried every time I’ve watched it. It draws you into its complex, detailed world and refuses to let you go, even after the devastating final scenes have played out. Pretty close to perfection.

TV-wise, I’ve gone back to my youth to a series I mentioned in my last blog. Children of the Stones is a strange one, as though I don’t recall much about the programme, I am still very aware of the effect it had on me. It scared me. It terrified me. Even the opening credits had me shivering, yet I watched every episode, and its disturbing atmosphere and psychological terrors fed into my own writing years later.

Books … and here I have to plump for one series that, for me, pips every other at the post – Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. I think this might just be the greatest work he has written, or will ever write. The epic tale spans the whole scale of fiction he plays with, from darkest horror to fantasy, and it produces some of the darkest, most shattering scenes King has yet imagined. We become friends with his characters, and he puts them through hell. Quite brilliant.

I found choosing the above really difficult, because in truth the whole list is much longer, encompassing four decades of TV, films, and books. But now you might have some idea just where something as strange and dark as Echo City came from.