Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for more weeks than there are in a year. This highly successful novel screams horror to all but the following entities:
- Amazon calls it Fantasy & Supernatural.
- The top shelves on Goodreads are Young Adult, Paranormal, and Mystery.
- The Peculiar Children Wiki categorizes it as fantasy.
Let’s look at the synopsis (obvious horror blurbage in bold):
A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
Because Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children utilizes photography, let’s check out some photos:
While vintage photography is beautiful, it also triggers our fear response, thanks to films like
- The Ring
- The Others
- The Sixth Sense
- The Omen
- The Grudge
TV Tropes identified the spooky photograph trope as part of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and it lists additional examples.
The final word goes to my teen students. When I ask, “How’s the book?”
They say, “It’s really scary.”
Can horror claim vintage photography exclusively as one of its tropes? Is it possible to have what Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has and not be horror?