Creepy Hollow

It’s my own fault.

Had I given a bit of thought to the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I might not have been so disappointed. The original story isn’t about secret history. It’s horror, plain and simple, with ghosts and all sorts of scary concepts.

But being a huge fan of American History and Fantasy, the commercials sucked me in. Ichobod Crane and the Headless Horseman in modern times? Cool!

Or not.

Please don’t be offended if you like the new Sleepy Hollow series on FOX. It’s  just not my cup of tea. They seemed to bill it as secret history and time travel, but the demons and witches creeped me out.

I’ve never been a fan of horror. I prefer to not question every shadow on the wall at one o’clock in the morning. It makes sense that I didn’t like it.

I was a little surprised at how many people echoed my thoughts. A lot of my friends who enjoy Once Upon a Time were turned off because they were expecting something different.


Which brings up an important point.

If I promise a reader a certain kind of story, I better deliver. Otherwise, I’ll lose them.

I don’t know many people who randomly say, “You know what? I need a good Steampunk novel.” Most readers know what they want to read and are looking for something that fits their expectations. When a cover, blurb, commercial, or trailer promises what they’re looking for in a creative way, they bite.

It’s our job to keep them chewing.

But if the first few bites taste completely different than expected, they might spit it out.

That’s what I did with Sleepy Hollow. I think FOX was trying to appeal to a larger audience since horror is a smaller niche. In my opinion, that seldom works.


About Will Ramirez

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God's Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the the last 17 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his coming debut novel, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning. He lives in Central Florida with his bride of seventeen years and their four children. Since 2010, he's been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team of Word Weavers of Orlando. He is currently working on the second book of the Godslayer series as well as The Unspoken, book one of a dark fantasy trilogy. In the land of Adme, powerful beings rule as deities and compete with one another for followers. But when a young priest is revealed as the prophesied godslayer, the pantheon unites to destroy him.

18 comments on “Creepy Hollow

  1. Very good points all. Your last paragraph is spot-on. But I especially liked this: “If I promise a reader a certain kind of story, I better deliver. Otherwise, I’ll lose them.”

    Maybe it’s a good thing then that I always promise the reader eclectic goulash – that’s something I can always deliver. 😀

  2. I agree. I didn’t like all that talk about witches and covens, and the demon was totally disturbing. I’m not a huge fan of horror to begin with; I was there for the legend and the history…so it just creeped me out.

    It also reminded me of a page from a Dr. Seuss children’s book that read, “Ichabod is icky! Ick! Ick! Ick! (from his rhyming ABC’s book?) LOL

  3. I’ve never even seen the animated Sleepy Hollow, nor do I know the whole story behind it…which is fine by me. I don’t do horror. I don’t even read spiritual warfare novels anymore, even though at one time Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker were among my favorite authors.

  4. Yeah, if I want some gore, I’ll watch Grimm and be entertained by the freak of the week. Horror’s not my cup of tea, either. I really enjoyed Agents of Shield, though.

  5. While I do like some horror, I just couldn’t get into Sleepy Hollow. I can’t quite pinpoint one thing, but–meh. It’s all good, I didn’t need to add anymore to my list. lol …

    Excellent point about delivering what you promise. There’s few things worse to a reader–and will likely have them on Amazon, letting the world know what they think of the perceived slight.

    • I agree – The strongest reactions I’ve seen from reader reviews is when the author doesn’t deliver on what they promised. Which leads me to a pet peeve of mine. I’m not a big fan of “hidden” Christian themes. I’m also not a fan of watered-down Christian themes. People see through it and it only angers them.

      I know this might step on some toes, but in my opinion, write your story. If you want to write a story based on Christian themes, then do so without apology. Write a darn good story and let the chips fall where they may. If you don’t want to incorporate those themes, then write the story on your heart with passion. Your value system will come out in the story in a much more powerful way than trying to force or hide a certain theme.

      • One could (and probably should) write an essay about forcing a theme on the one hand and hiding it on the other: what constitutes either, and what constitutes holding the golden mean while remaining authentic.

        Of course, when you write authentically eclectic goulash as I do, that is rarely a problem. 😀 My themes are veiled, but thinly. Anybody who can’t figure out who the Hooded Man in my Metacosmos is (especially when His fictional proper name is mentioned) has been living under a rock for 2,000 years. 😉

      • In the show Sleepy Hollow, the horsemen and other demons were connected to prophecy in Revelation. If these “Christian” connections are developed more, or are just minor background details, time will tell as the season progresses.

        You’re right about writing your story. Authors have to write their story, not what they think people want to hear. To do otherwise often comes across forced or fake.

        • Call me picky, but I found the “Christian” connections annoying. They didn’t seem to do their homework very well, even having Ichabod call the book “Revelations”. While the average person might mistakenly relay the title of the book, it struck me as a bit amateurish to do so on a TV show. I’d get crucified if I misquoted a title in my writing, yet this made its way onto FOX without anyone catching it? /rant off hehe

          I didn’t like the hokey connections to the prophecies in revelation, but I guess I could live with that. It’s literary license in my opinion. Thanks for posting!

  6. “Horror” is a broad term. Too broad for a one-size-fits-all approach. While I concur with the sentiments on demons and witches, “horror” also embraces monsters, creatures, beasts both supernatural and unnatural. Monsters don’t have to be demons. Satanic spirituality need not permeate a well-crafted shuddery tale. Personally I find the “I don’t do horror” a bit dismissive and conveniently all-encompassing. I don’t particularly care for zombies as a genre either but AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD is the best show on American television, period, for quality of acting, superb character-driven storylines and overall impact. And these are monsters, not demons. Yes, stories with monsters in them are “horror” — at its best. With all the hoopla about “magic is okay” in Christian fiction, monsters need to be given the same regard. That’s just my opinion. Imprimatur. Nihil obstat.

    • I hope I didn’t come off as criticizing horror as a genre. While I understand my stroke was broadly painted, I simply don’t like being grossed out or frightened. The Walking Dead could be the best show on the planet, but I’d never watch it because the commercials make me want to vomit. I can’t imagine what an episode would do lol.

      While there’s horror that doesn’t incorporate Satanic elements, i still wouldn’t read/watch it because I simply don’t like it. The same reason I don’t read romance novels. That’s not a criticism of each genre, just a taste preference. And I think FOX did a disservice to many people who have tastes similar to mine by marketing it as something it’s not. I think the show is a perfect fit for those that like a “shuddery” tale. I’m just not one of those folks 🙂

      As for monsters and magic – to each their own. I’m not going to read a book/watch a show about vampires, werewolves, or zombies. But I’m not going to criticize someone else who writes or enjoys those stories. It’s fiction. I think everyone needs to be persuaded in their own mind as to what’s right and wrong for them. There are way more important hills to die on in my opinion 🙂

  7. I have been enjoying the Fox series, but could never get into the ABC shows. Probably because I like Poe and Lovecraft and prefer fantasy to be more Tolkien-epic-like.

    • I was not expecting to like Once Upon a Time. Seemed to0 cheesy, but there’s a charm to it that drew me in. Like you, I prefer my fantasy to be more from a “high” perspective like Tolkien’s.

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