When it came to writing about the horrors of real life and the human monsters that walk among us, there was perhaps no one better than author Jack Ketchum, aka Dallas Mayr, and we're sad to share the news that Dallas has passed away at the age of 71.

Jack Ketchum's official website confirmed the news of Dallas' passing, and fellow author and close friend Christopher Golden also shared the news on Twitter, mentioning that Dallas had been fighting cancer for a long time.

When it came to writing visceral prose that pulled no punches, Dallas was a master. Whether writing about cannibals in Off Season, an old man seeking revenge for his dog in Red, or a pregnant woman trying to survive demented kidnappers in Right to Life, Dallas dug deep into tormented psyches and harrowing situations, shining an unforgiving light on both the humanity and depravity of all-too-real horrors that could (and sometimes did) happen in real life.

Many of Dallas' written works were adapted for film (with the author also acting in several of them), including Red, The Lost, The Woman, and The Girl Next Door, the lattermost of which is based on one of the most important horror novels written in the 20th century. The Girl Next Door peeled away the sunny exterior of suburbia to look at the darkness within, examining the gruesome side of groupthink and pushing boundaries with its portrayal of a harrowing loss of innocence smack-dab in the middle of classic Americana.

In recent years, Dallas collaborated with filmmaker Lucky McKee to write The Woman (which was adapted for the screen by McKee), I'm Not Sam, and The Secret Life of Souls, continuing to create compelling stories that chilled, thrilled, and stayed with readers long after the final page was turned.

For years, Dallas was an active participant on his website's message board, and he answered every single question that fans asked him. I'll always treasure the book recommendations and pleasant comments he shared with me and so many other readers over the years.

With Dallas' passing, a beloved chapter has ended in the history of horror fiction, but his work (long championed by Stephen King) has inspired generations of writers, artists, and filmmakers, and it will no doubt continue to do so in the decades to come.

As important as he was as a writer, Dallas was even more influential as a friend to so many, serving as a mentor to authors, artists, and actors just as Robert Bloch had mentored him. Many of those writers and actors are sharing their remembrances online, and we've collected their fond thoughts below. Our thoughts are with Dallas' family and friends during this difficult time.

*Photo credit: Above photo from Jack Ketchum's Facebook page.

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.