A New Perspective

by Mark Allan Gunnells


As a gay author (or an author who happens to be gay, whichever way you prefer to think of it), I have a very particular interest when it comes to writing horror fiction. I want to present the reader with something familiar then give it a twist by offering a perspective not often seen in horror fiction. Namely, a gay perspective.

Growing up an avid horror fan, I rarely saw any representations of gay people, and what representations there were tended to be stereotypical and borderline offensive. Things have gotten a little better these days, but more often than not gay characters in horror fiction play supporting roles and are not often front and center. One of the things I want to do through my writing is change that.

In a lot of my work, I like to take traditional scenarios and situations (tropes, if you will) and insert gay characters. May seem like a little thing, but this new perspective can often breathe new life into a standard formula. In my novel Sequel, for instance, I placed gay characters in the midst of a very traditional slasher story. In The Quarry and its follow-up The Cult of Ocasta, my main character had to deal with a combination creature-feature and possession tale while also navigating issues of sexuality and romance. However, never have I played with the concept of taking a standard horror trope and tweaking it with a gay perspective more than in my novella Asylum.

Here I took a very standard zombie set up, filched right out of the Romero playbook, and trapped a disparate group of survivors in a small space, fighting the onslaught of the undead while also dealing with personal demons and interpersonal conflicts amongst themselves. Only instead of trapping them in a farmhouse or shopping mall or military bunker, I chose to trap them in a gay club. Instead of having a group of straight characters with one token gay character, I had a cast made up almost entirely of gay men with one token straight female.

When I started writing this piece, I had no real mission, no intention to make a statement. I merely wanted to take a familiar situation and put in people that readers are not using to seeing in those situations at the forefront and see what developed from there. Just as a natural extension of these characters and their concerns, the story ended up dealing with issues of bigotry, persecution, self-loathing, addiction, loneliness, sex, love, and strength. The framework for the story was nothing new, but by using these characters, I felt something new came out of it. A story at once familiar and yet unique.

I was so thrilled when Apex Publications recently put out a new edition of Asylum, including a brand new story “Lunatics Running the Asylum” set in that fictional universe, and I hope that the story continues to engage people through offering a new perspective on a traditional horror trope.


Mark Allan Gunnells loves to tell stories. He has since he was a kid, penning one-page tales that were Twilight Zone knockoffs. He likes to think he has gotten a little better since then. He loves reader feedback, and above all he loves telling stories. He lives in Greer, SC, with his husband Craig A. Metcalf.

Buy your copy of Asylum today! 





Michael Schutz

Michael Schutz was born and raised in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, where the macabre tales of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King kept him warm at night. He’s seen way too many horror movies to be healthy and blogs and podcasts about them on Darkness Dwells. Watch for his new novel, Edging, from Burning Willow Press in spring 2017. He is the author of the novel Blood Vengeance and the novella Uninoch. His short fiction has been featured most recently in Dark Moon Digest, Sanitarium, and the anthologies Beasts: Revelations, Beyond the Nightlight, and Cranial Leakage: Tales from the Grinning Skull. He lives with his three naughty cat-children in northern California.