I was surprised that when I came back to writing, I chose to write horror. Even more, that I continued to write horror. Happily.
It seems to me that horror is an open genre. There are no required formulas to the horror, as least as far as I can tell. Anything can be turned into horror -- any subject, any setting, any format; any other genre or no genre at all. The only expectation is that it has something scary in it. The fright can be physical, psychological, or spiritual, or any combination thereof.
To me, it's a very freeing genre to write in. I just need to dig down into my own malaise of concerns and sure enough, there is always a twinge to be explore, which can be turned into something frightening.
So far, I've delved into historical events, trying my best to be authentic and accurate about what happened to the Donner Party, and using werewolves as both real and symbolic elements.
I've written a vampire trilogy that asked whether redemption could be achieved by anyone. An exploration of the religious and the spiritual.
I've written a story about hyper-intelligent wild pigs on the rampage called Tuskers, who represent nature's revenge against mankind's neglect and arrogance.
I've just finished two stories, one that include elements of Noir, with a gangster Golem, and another that is a sexual thriller involving Succubae.
I love fantasy and mysteries, but it seems to me that they are trapped by convention, if not formula. That to break from these conventions, the form has to be stretched so much that it bends and sometimes breaks -- or at the very least, calls attention to the effort. Whereas horror can be bent in any direction and it won't surprise the reader.
There are, of course, sub-genres within horror where the reader has expectations of certain conventions, but I don't have to go there; and even if I break from expectations, it seems to me that the horror readers are more open to such twists.
I have yet to have an idea for a story that I didn't think could be improved by exploring the horror elements of that story.
Or maybe I'm just twisted. Happily.