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des
Posted on Friday, November 25, 2005 - 10:05 am:   

I feel that Horror is the best art form; I feel that Horror is the worst art form.

Nothing in between can compare.

des
www.weirdmonger.com
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des
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2005 - 12:50 am:   

My belief is that the general reading world has become too politically correct to *call* anything Horror, whilst they may enjoy it if they don't call it Horror.

Health & Safety concerns outweighing the joy of life is another example of political correctness gone wrong. The Claims-for-accidents (eg in schools) culture etc. Certainly in UK. How about USA or elsewhere?

Therefore my contention is that Horror Literature as called Horror is now against Health & Safety Rules, at least metaphorically.
des
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des
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2005 - 04:06 am:   

It has been recently said elsewhere:

"There was no horror genre until Stephen King made it one. I'm happy to see it go back into literature, mystery, sf, and fantasy where it belongs."

To recap my view, the latter part of above is possibly true (in UK at least) because, if it's called Horror, I feel there is a symbiotic relationship of (a) increased general 'political correctness' and (b) a desensitisation plus a general reader's perception that Horror as called Horror is too extreme. This means, at least in UK mainstream (as opposed to Small Press), Horror Literature still exists as it always did but under another name and shares various other genre-fields in different ways, including SF, mainstream and literary, however one defines them.

However, re the above point about the actual start of "Horror" as a genre, as far as I am concerned, in the Sixties I saw myself interested in "Horror" Literature - owning many horror story anthologies by August Derleth, Peter Haining, Dennis Wheatley, Herbert van Thal etc.

I believe Horror as a *genre* began before the Sixties. But is this true? Did Stephen King start the Horror genre (presumably in the Seventies)?
des









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des
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2005 - 12:02 pm:   

Re above, someone elsewhere has kindly provided this information:

Until the later 70s, horror and fantasy were both subsets of "science fiction" in terms of marketing. A book like I AM LEGEND first came out as SF. Some genre classics, like Fritz Leiber's CONJURE WIFE, came our at various times marketed as sf, mystery, gothic romance and -finally - horror. A string of big horror bestsellers, ROSEMARY'S BABY, THE EXORCIST, GHOST STORY and the phenomenal popularity of early Stephen King, convinced publishers that there was a marketable "genre." And those blood-spattered, babies-with-glowing-eyes (or, alternately, skull faces) mass market covers were born.

For me that's a startling observation but one that actually now rings true, based on my memory.

However, I do have paperbacks from the Sixties with skulls and horror images etc; it just wasn't that they represented a GENRE, I suppose.

Which leads to the question or contention that -

The Horror genre is now returning to the genres from which it emerged?
And, if so, is that a good or bad thing??
des
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des
Posted on Monday, December 05, 2005 - 09:08 am:   

Another thing that has bugged me about the Horror genre over the years -
They give the game away.
Horror is meant to surprise, shock, mess with the mind...

Horror practitioners have all those horror images on the covers of their publications that counteract such aims.

Yes, they give the game away. Make it too easy for the reader to acclimatise, prepare themselves.
des
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des
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 05:22 am:   

Grimmest horror?

Within Horror as Horror Literature, I find Thomas Ligotti's work admirably the purest and thus the grimmest. Without let or hindrance. It is Horror literature remarkably for its own sake.

But the grimmest, unhappiest work inside or outside of Horror Literature?

Horror is not only fiction with Horror accoutrements - and I was wondering what anyone thought to be the saddest, or grimmest, unhappiest work they've ever read (with no light to alleviate it or even a didactic moral).

My vote would go to another Thomas, ie. Hardy's Jude The Obscure a 1996 film version of which I happened to see the other night on TV with Kate Winslet and a younger Christopher Eccleston who seemed to keep reminding me of Dr Who! (I read the book many years ago).

Jude is a breeder. The child he bred from one woman (his wife) kills the two children that Jude breeds from his cousin -- with whom he has a love affair (with some guilt on both sides) -- and then that child strangles himself. That child (supposedly) thought all three children (including himself) were a burden amid the abject misery & poverty that Jude and his cousin found themselves in. This was after long years of Jude trying to better himself as a student, which failed because of general snobbery or just the cruel uncluttered circumstances of life. I can't do justice to the plot here. I think it appropriate that Jude was a stonemason.

Pure uncluttered Horror. Craving (if not carving) the ultimate Obscure that some call God.

des
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Read my novel 'The Hawler' from here:
http://www.weirdmonger.com
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 06:11 am:   

My vote would go to "Notre Dame de Paris" by Victor Hugo. It's as grim as it gets, specially towards the end, and a marvellous story. The film versions pale by comparison.

For runners up, I'd have Stevenson's "The Master of Ballantrae" and "The Ebb-Tide", and something (perhaps anything) by Conrad.
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Tamar
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 09:59 am:   

'Under the Volcano' is pretty grim, as I recall.
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des
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 11:20 am:   

I agree, Tamar, Malcolm Lowry is a very powerful writer and I've long been a fan of UTV.

I think of Joseph Conrad, too.
des
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Forrest
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 03:51 pm:   

Brian Evenson. It's not even a contest. Read THE WAVERING KNIFE (which won the International Horror Guild Award last month), THE BROTHERHOOD OF MUTILATION, and DARK PROPERTY. The characters in all of these books look on brutality and murder as if they are household chores. They are completely a-moral. The writing is some of the best in fiction today.
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des
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2005 - 02:14 am:   

Someone elsewhere has said (something I intend to put on my wall!):

But misery, grimness, poverty, and murder (while compelling) IMO are not true Horror, they just add to it.

So I feel Horror literature (that's *called* Horror) is for being cheered up, because you want to be horrified by the act of reading it and, if it's done well, it does horrify you. Mission accomplished.

Which begs a question: books that are not labelled Horror or do not have a Horror cover, do they have the potential to horrify to a greater degree, by giving the reader a false sense of security? They are not so well primed for horror, so the horror becomes more effective?

des


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des
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2005 - 09:02 am:   

But should Horror be grim downers or escapist supernatural grotesques?

Are these two alternatives (and the generalities for which I intend them as shorthand) mutually exclusive?

If the style of doing utter 'grim' is admirable, can this admiration cause 'pleasure' as well as depression from the grimness expressed, and thus be stylistically counter-productive?

And other extrapolative questions from that trend of thought - which I hope you can read into the above - that need to addressed & then answered.

There are many paradoxes and oxymorons along the way, I suggest, before nailing down what 'Horror' is or should be.

Is Horror, as one example of a paradox or oxymoron, entertainment?

Entertainment can be by various means.

To horrify seems one set of means that is most difficult, because it comes with a lot of mixed emotions.

But surely Horror's purpose is not simply to horrify, because its purpose is to *truly* horrify. Otherwise, why call it Horror?

... but to *truly* horrify, I suggest, does not necessarily entail using extreme horror. In fact, I find extreme horror counterproductive, quite often, in accomplishing the true horror effect, for various reasons of overdose or dulling the horror centres of the nerves (or insulating them with a layer of vomit).
des
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des
Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - 08:59 am:   

I said above: But surely Horror's purpose is not simply to horrify, because its purpose is to *truly* horrify. Otherwise, why call it Horror?

Hence my first novel is about Bird Flu.
This is probably my best work - but that's not saying much! :-)
And I'm 58 *today*!
des

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