[Note: In this special guest post, Gary Whitta, author of the upcoming fantasy horror book Abomination, shares four cinematic influences on his new novel.]
Though I wrote Abomination as a novel, my background is primarily a screenwriter, and the movies I watched growing up played even more of a part in inspiring me to become a writer as the books I read. So it’s perhaps not surprising that many of the influences that led to the creation of this book have cinematic roots.
THE THING (1982)
Abomination really began with wanting to write a good old-fashioned monster story, a fable about a man struggling with a beast within him in the tradition of The Wolfman, Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, and even The Incredible Hulk. And I knew that I wanted the monsters to be as gnarly and twisted and horrifying as I could possibly make them. In that regard I always look at John Carpenter’s classic The Thing as the gold standard in stomach-churning monstrosity, and I definitely drew some influence from those awful, awful creations as I thought about Abomination’s monsters. In the book, the monsters are the result of a dark, evil magic that can turn men and beasts into creatures so twisted and hideous that they defy all biological reason, and what Carpenter and his SFX genius Rob Bottin created in that movie has a very similar foundation—the comforting and familiar turned suddenly, horrifically, monstrous.
HAWK THE SLAYER (1980)
Okay, I might not be particularly proud of this one. You may never have heard of this movie, and if you have you know that it’s not really that good. In fact it’s gained a bit of a reputation for being so incredibly cheesy and cheap. But when you’re an eight-year-old kid, as I was when I first saw this movie, none of that matters. All you see is a guy with a magic sword teaming up with a giant, a dwarf, and an elf with a machine-gun bow teaming up to take on an evil Jack Palance (yes, really, Jack Palance). As low-grade and unintentionally funny as it often is, Hawk the Slayer occupies a special place in my heart as my first real exposure to the sword-and-sorcery film, and there are scenes in Abomination that can be traced, in very broad terms, all the way back to Hawk. Check it out if you can find it.
Maximus Decimus Meridius is, in my opinion, one of the great movie heroes of the modern age and there are little pieces of his DNA in everything I’ve written since. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of the reluctant soldier, the man who hates war even though he’s been blessed (cursed?) with an innate gift for it, and who longs only to go home and lead a simple life of peace with his loving family. Wulfric, one of the two main protagonists of Abomination, is very much a hero in the Maximus mold; his is a similar journey, defined by love of family, by loss and regret and ultimately salvation. But with more monsters.
STAR WARS (1977)
Well, of course. I have no doubt that without Star Wars I’d be much less likely to be a writer today. It is for so many of my generation the single greatest source of inspiration to become storytellers. So on a very foundational level Abomination owes its existence to Star Wars, but perhaps in some more specific terms too. The main character in my movie The Book of Eli was inspired to some extent by the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, an old warrior-mystic with hidden depths of wisdom who nears the end of a life-long crusade but who has one final task to complete before he can rest. Wulfric is not dissimilar either, a man of faith who reluctantly became a man of war. I’ve been incredibly privileged to work in the Star Wars universe in recent times, as a writer on the upcoming Star Wars Anthology movie Rogue One and the animated TV series Star Wars Rebels. In studying that universe from the inside out, it’s remarkable to realize just how much the characters and themes that George Lucas brought into the mainstream have resonated in the work of so many filmmakers and storytellers today, including my own. Though it’s set in a real historical time and place, Abomination is fundamentally inspired by a galaxy far, far away….
Abomination synopsis: "He is England's greatest knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.
She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her past, she defies her controlling father and sets out on a dangerous quest to do what none before her ever have―hunt down and kill an abomination, alone.
When a chance encounter sets these two against one another, an incredible twist of fate will lead them toward a salvation they never thought possible―and prove that the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history’s darkest age."
In case you missed it, read our exclusive excerpt from Abomination and enter our contest to win a signed hardcover edition of the new novel:
Abomination will be released as an Inkshares Paperback Original later this month. To learn more visit: