Why Not a Haunted Ambulance?
People arguably spend the majority of their lives at home. The home is supposed to be a comfortable place, where one can be at ease, can shut out whatever might be going on in the world outside. And so, a house (or in some cases an apartment) lends itself perfectly to a horror story, turning that comfort upside down with the possibility of confusion, terror, and even death.
Why not a car or a truck? We spend a large chunk of our lives in our vehicles as well. Yet there are few books and movies concerning haunted, or possessed, vehicles.
Perhaps the most famous haunted car story is Stephen King’s Christine, first a book, then a movie by John Carpenter. King is also responsible for the short story “Trucks” (turned into a film first as Maximum Overdrive and later, as Trucks). Both follow the events occurring around possessed vehicles, Christine being the more effective of the two. King manages to inject his car with enough creepiness and menace to out-do ten typical haunted house stories.
The past few decades have given us a number of horror movies dealing with vehicles (Death Proof, Duel, The Hitcher), but not very many in which the vehicle itself is possessed by some otherworldly entity. The only one that comes immediately to mind is The Hearse, and I can tell you that one didn’t exactly keep me up at night.
It was with some hesitation that I put on Larry Cohen’s The Ambulance, with Eric Roberts and James Earl Jones—not because I feared it wouldn’t be good (Cohen rarely disappoints this horror fan), but because I’d recently finished an early draft of my novel, Evil Ambulance, and part of me worried that, even though I’d never seen the Cohen film, there would be some similarity. Had someone else written a haunted ambulance tale?
That wasn’t the case, however. The Ambulance features some exciting chases and spooky hospital hallways, and a solid performance by Eric Roberts (with a supporting performance by his hair), but nothing supernatural about the titular vehicle. It’s a good movie. I’d recommend it if you can track down a copy.
Oh, and if you’re interested in reading about what a haunted ambulance might do on a typical Friday night, check out Evil Ambulance when it comes out this spring.
By Mark Rinker
Genre: Paranormal YA
Eighteen-year-old Eric Donnelly moved to a small town in Pennsylvania, to live with his uncle, Dan, while his parents finalize their divorce.
Dan has recently purchased an old house which sits atop a three-mile hill overlooking the town of Riverwood; a house which is host to the decades-old presence of Victor Devlin, a homicidal ambulance driver responsible for a series of brutal murders years before.
Eric soon finds himself alone, as the spirit of the ambulance driver begins to inhabit his uncle’s body, and each night Devlin’s ambulance appears in the driveway, eerily glowing, calling to Eric.
Two people had been unfortunate enough to be home when Victor had showed up at the front door of the house on Winding Way. The house at the top of the hill. No neighbors up here. It wasn’t his fault; the cops had forced him there, chased him there. He hoped they were happy with what they found there: a young couple each with a new, red smile drawn across their necks. The result of their chasing him, forcing him into a corner.
You can’t trap a wild animal and not expect him to lash out—at everyone and everything around it.
He scolded himself, continued saying the words, tried not to think of the police upstairs. If the incantation didn’t work before they got down to the basement—
Yes, I am a wild animal.
His own voice shouted at him inside his head, demanding he focus, shut out distractions, focus on the words and—
He stared straight ahead at the wall, repeated the words, over and over, faster, then slower, trying to find the right pace—and blocked everything else from his mind.
Mark R. Rinker was born in California, but has spent most of his life in eastern Pennsylvania. His short story, “Dog Mask” was published earlier this year by Dark Gothic Resurrected magazine, and Evil Ambulance is his first novel.