Writer Sarah Pinborough ("Poison," "Dog-Faced Gods") has this tip for writers of horror: "Make sure it's about the man or the woman; not about whatever the supernatural elements is. If you're pitching your novel as 'It's about some zombies' or 'It's about a werewolf' then it's going to be cliched."
In an interview with SciFiNow magazine, she added, "I always think whatever the supernatural element is, it should be a metaphor for something else in the book. The plot should be driven by the character, anyway. So I think with horror especially, make it about a person rather than about the monster."
Sometimes we forget that the real focus of Frankenstein, for instance, is on Dr. Frankenstein; the creation of his monster is a metaphor for man's hubris, thinking we can conquer nature to the point of creating life itself even when when nature has decreed otherwise. Given what's happening in science today, it's still a relevant topic.
Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a metaphor for the battle to control the darker side of our natures. Again, there's plenty of evidence that this theme is as fresh as ever.
Dracula explored several themes, one of which is the battle between science and superstition, another idea we're still debating.
One of the gifts given to writers of horror, science fiction, and fantasy is that they can write about what's going on today via metaphors, avoiding the effect of sermonizing that a more straightforward treatment might have. What form would your pet topic take in a horror novel or screenplay?
(For help writing your book or screenplay, get a copy of Your Writing Coach, published by Nicholas realey and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)