Jack Ketchum is the one who Stephen King once referred to as the scariest writer in the country due his extreme portrayal of realistic horror over the past several decades. With a laundry list of credits to his name, Jack Ketchum has permanently cemented his legacy as a terrifying American writer. Sadly, Ketchum passed away early Wednesday morning, his friend and webmaster, Kevin Kovelant, told The Associated Press.
Ketchum is quite famous for a number of works, but the one that most Americans might know the most is The Girl Next Door. The book inspired film adaptations and a lot of talk about a young girl who was tortured and beaten by a woman, the woman’s children and other neighborhood kids.
The horror that Jack Ketchum is most famous is the kind that seems to echo a dark reality in some way. Mostly devoid of supernatural monsters and such, Ketchum rather opted for the monsters within people that are the most horrifying and wrote extensively about such things.
Although the world knows him as Jack Ketchum, his real name is Dallas Mayr and his closest friends knew him and referred to him as such. That also includes Stephen King himself, who penned a tweet is memoriam of Ketchum on Wednesday afternoon.
“Very sorry to hear that an old friend of mine, Dallas Mayr, died,” Stephen King wrote in his tweet. “He terrified readers with books like OFF SEASON and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. Dallas and I went back to the 70s together.”
Very sorry to hear that an old friend of mine, Dallas Mayr, died. He terrified readers with books like OFF SEASON and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. Dallas and I went back to the 70s together.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 24, 2018
One of Jack Ketchum’s most famous and controversial works was Off Season, which was published way back in 1980. The book was inspired by the legend of Sawney Bean, which also inspired Wes Craven’s 1977 film, The Hills Have Eyes. Some might say that the book and the film share some interesting similarities, but are still quite different.
Although Ketchum’s cause of death has yet to have been revealed, he had been battling cancer recently.
[Featured Image By Georges Seguin (Okki) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons]
Be sure to check out the latest horror collection from Fogstow Jamison Press, The Grunge Narratives: A Rare Horror Collection.