Dallas Mayr, who wrote under the name Jack Ketchum, died January 24 announced Horror Writers Association President Lisa Morton:
HWA is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dallas Mayr. Under the name Jack Ketchum, Dallas produced some of the most riveting and intense works of modern horror, including the novels The Girl Next Door, Red, and The Lost; he was both a multiple winner of the Bram Stoker Award and our 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Dallas was a wonderful teacher and an inspiration to many, and he will be deeply missed by all.
Ketchum also received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award (2011) for outstanding contribution to the horror genre.
The Washington Post’s obituary recalls he was once labeled by Stephen King as likely the scariest writer in America:
“Jack Ketchum’s first novel … set off a furor in my supposed field, that of horror, that was unequaled until the advent of Clive Barker,” King said in 2003 upon accepting an honorary National Book Award. “It is not too much to say that these two gentlemen remade the face of American popular fiction.”
When Ketchum was a teenager he was mentored by Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, who was “paying forward” the support he’d received from his own mentor, H.P. Lovecraft.
His first novel, Off Season (1980), prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography.
His novel The Girl Next Door is considered a horror classic. Five of his books have been filmed: The Girl Next Door, The Lost, Red, Offspring and The Woman. Ketchum and Lucy McKee won the Best Screenplay Award for The Woman at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain.