Welcome to Into The Void, a weekly pilgrimage into, well, whatever happens to be going on in the horror-obsessed (and unfortunately opinionated) mind of Scott Wampler, officially licensed opinion-haver and co-host of the FANGORIA Podcast Network’s The Kingcast. All sales are final. No refunds will be issued.
Some years ago, I crossed paths with an author by the name of Mallory O’Meara. She’d just written a helluva book called The Lady from the Black Lagoon, and our shared love for all things Creature-related resulted in us becoming very fast friends. In the time since, Mallory’s become one of my best friends, a regular fixture on The Kingcast, a sounding board for my stupidest ideas, and a seemingly bottomless source for great recommendations – movies, books, you name it. A thing worth knowing about Mallory O’Meara is, she’s never wrong.
A month or so ago, she was once again berating me for not having read one of her favorite books, a bit of werewolf romance/erotica by the name of The Last Werewolf. I’d never actually read any erotica before – much less werewolf erotica – and after mowing through the book in a few sittings, I couldn’t help but wonder why I’d waited so long. In fact, I wondered about a few things, actually, and so I very graciously invited Mallory into The Void to discuss my reaction to the dirty little werewolf novel she’d recommended.
FANGORIA: Well, well, well. If it isn’t James Beard Award-nominated author and slide whistle enthusiast Mallory O’Meara. How did you get in here?
Mallory: It seems like I got in here because you were too much of a coward to write about horny werewolves on your own.
Yes, I was, in fact, hoping to talk about this horny werewolf novel you recommended, Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf. Let’s start there – you are a master book-recommender, are you not?
It’s true. It’s one of my many superpowers, along with super strength and being a slide whistle virtuoso. I am simply one thousand book recommendations in a trench coat. Now, you had never read an erotic horror novel before, correct? What made you want to try this one?
Well, you were very adamant that this would be a good fit, your previous book recommendations have all turned out to be great, and the idea piqued my interest precisely because I’ve never read any erotica before. Plus, it has a werewolf in it. What made you think I would respond to this one, in particular?
“Adamant” is such a kind word for “Mallory bullied me into it.” Now, I didn’t set out to convert my dear friend Scott Wampler to the world of horny spooky books, but I knew you would love the voice. Besides all the things going into various holes, erotica and romance writing have some of the strongest character work in the entire literary world.
The character work here was very strong, particularly that of The Last Werewolf’s lead character (and titular werewolf), Jake. I was very taken with the way this one blended together a pseudo-noir caper, grisly horror, and, in spots, something that felt almost like a spy thriller – what with all the gadgets and burner phones and what have you. And, yes, the hole-play.
So much of horror is imbued with sex, nudity, and overall horniness that I’m surprised more horror film fans aren’t reading horny horror books.
Right. And this sorta brings up a point I’ve been considering since reading this one: Why aren’t more dude horror fans – or, hell, just dudes in general – reading erotica? Like, guys’ll find any reason to get horny about pretty much anything, but I find it intriguing that the only people I know who read erotica are ladies. This is anecdotal, of course, but I’m wondering what you make of that.
Well Scott, have you ever heard of sexism? It’s a bummer!
For decades and decades, maybe even a century or more, romance and erotica have been billed as “women’s fiction”, and anything being marketed to or created by women is usually looked at as an inferior thing. Romance/erotic books are looked down upon as lesser forms of literature simply because they’re made for women, and they generally center on a woman’s experiences and feelings. Because of this, and some unconscious—or even conscious!—bias, many men avoid reading things that are “for girls”. Which, of course, makes them cowards. Now, The Last Werewolf is by and about a man, but I think it’s a great entry point for those looking to see if erotica is for them.
I’m trying to figure out why I never waded into these waters myself, and I don’t think I have a good explanation for that. I think I just sorta figured, well, if I wanna get horny and possibly get off in the process, there are easier methods than reading a book. But in reading this, I realized that I was just straight-up limiting my arsenal. It was quite a thing to experience! I feel dumb for having waited so long.
You are dumb, but I still love you. That’s what friends are for, to get you to read about werewolf dicks. I am thrilled this book has broadened your literary horizons. Stretched them, if you will. If someone loves films like The Hunger, Jennifer’s Body, American Werewolf in London, and When Animals Dream, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be reading either horror romance or erotic romance books.
Did your perceptions about these types of books change while you were reading, if you had any prior perceptions at all?
I don’t think I had any real perceptions in place, but I was legitimately impressed by how well-balanced this one was, and how well-written. I didn’t think you’d recommend a shittily-written book, obviously, but I was pretty struck by how measured it was.
Correct. I only recommend certified … wait for it … bangers. Many notable film critics have pointed out the depressing dearth of sex on screen in recent years. I think it is our right, nay, our duty, to keep the spirit of sexy horror alive and seek it out on the page. Do you think you’ll dip into more horny horror books in the future? Now that you’ve got your … toe wet?
Oh, absolutely. I think, for reasons I’d rather not state explicitly because they would count as spoilers for The Last Werewolf, that I’m probably gonna set aside the other two novels in this trilogy for the time being, so I am in the market for further recs along these lines.
One of my recent favorites was The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller. It’s a very spicy romance wrapped up in a genuinely scary haunted house story. Red-hot boning and a fascinating ghost legend? What’s not to love? In my TBR (to be read, for non-nerds) pile of sexy horror books, I have The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James, another sexy ghost book. As in, there’s sex and there’s also ghosts, not that people want to fuck ghosts. Although I have recommendations for that, too! I also have Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione and Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh in the pile, both books about demon banging that come highly recommended.
You don’t need to take notes. I just wrote that all out for you.
Ah! So you did! OK, here’s a question that newcomers like myself might have: Is there any way to gauge how spicy these books are upfront? I’m guessing it just comes down to knowing the writer’s work and knowing how far they’ll dial up the horniness.
It depends on how the book is categorized. If it’s a romance, you’re guaranteed a love story, some sex/sexy scenes, and a happy ending (both kinds). If it’s an erotica, the focus is mostly on the sex itself, with everything else as secondary. If you’re just starting out, looking for horror romance is probably the way to go.
I would like the horniness dialed up to 12, please.
Then you want erotica. Erotica is full blast, no-holds-barred filthy horniness.
This is excellent intel, and my team will be carefully considering my next move on this journey.
Be honest, Scott. Is your team just a box of tissues and a pump-action bottle of Vaseline?
They have names, you know.
I don’t need to know the details of your little kinks, my friend. Call them whatever you want.
What would you say to fellow horror fans who have never read any horny scary books?
“Hey, you know how you love horror?” Yeah. “And you know how being horny is great?” Yeah. “Well, this combines both of those things, and doesn’t skimp on either in the process.” I mean, everything that can be going wrong in the world is currently going very wrong, but one thing I do like about this era is that sex positivity is such a big deal. Time to break free of those chains and embrace being horny and scared simultaneously. No one’s gonna razz you about it! And if they do, my dear friend Mallory (who is extremely strong) and I will stomp their goofy ass for you in public.
Oh yes, one of my hobbies is finding people who make fun of romance readers and stealing their lunch money.