Dark Fantasy

What is Dark Fantasy?

Dark Fantasy is a type of horror story in which the human race is terrorized by evil forces beyond the understanding of the human brain. In this subgenre, the story can be told from a monster's point of view. Sometimes this narrative viewpoint shines a more sympathetic light on the supernatural being. The focus isn't on victims and survivors but instead relies heavily on atmosphere. Stories involving werewolves, vampires, witches, rampant technology, etc., all fall into the Dark Fantasy genre. The stories can take place in the real world or secondary worlds or a hybrid of both.

Characteristics of Dark Fantasy

Level of Characterization
Low. The characters may face difficult moral decisions however.

Level of Plot Complexity

Level of Supernatural

Level of Scary

Level of Violence 
Varies with author.

Typical Setting
In reality or alternate reality. Can also be a mixture of both.  

Related Horror Sub-Genres

Supernatural. Both subgenres involve antagonists that aren't human.

Dark Fantasy Isn’t For You If You Dislike

Traditional survival type horror stories.


    1. Hotel Transylvania, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Saint-Germain is a gentleman and a vampire. When a young Madeline falls in love with him, a group of sorcerers targets her for their black mass and only Saint-Germain can save her.

    2. The Dark Tower Series, Stephen King. Roland, a gunslinger, is on a quest to the tower that is the center of all pillars of life.

    3. Shadowland, Peter Straub. Two friends spend a terrifying season as apprentices to a Master Magician.

    4. The Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allen Poe. A horrible plague called "The Red Death" is sweeping the country and killing thousands.

    5. Weaveworld, Clive Barker. A rug has the world of the Seerkind woven into it.  

    6. Faerie Tale, Raymond E. Feist. Phil Hastings has everything but when he moves into the house of his dreams, he is altered by magic.

    7. Lost Worlds, Clarke Ashton Smith. A collection of eerie and magical stories.

    8. Dreams underfoot, Charles de Lint. Nineteen stories about the fictional Canadian city of Newford. The author relocates the mythical creatures of fairy tale and folklore from their traditional settings and surrounds them with urban scenery.

    9. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman. Under the streets of London exists a city of monsters, saints, murderers, angels, knights in armor, and girls in black velvet.  


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