RE: RARA-AVIS: Noir Horror?

From: John & Carrie (
Date: 05 Feb 2000

A.N. Smith sed:

> But updating and substitution
> occured: the
> big city for the craggy mountain ranges, the mansion for the castle, the
> fear of being watched/pursured, the fear of death and the dark, etc. etc.
> And as far as the supernatural elements, I don't think the key in
> Gothic was
> to ask if they were real or not, but to ask if you believe the characters'
> fears that they might be real. A lot of that in HB/noir: did you
> really see
> what you thought you saw? Are you really being followed? Not to mention
> all the family secret stuff.

I really like this idea. It was never really important whether the source of the dread was supernatural or not. I think in gothic the source od the dread was typically attributed to the supernatural because something dark and chilling was still seen as having its origins in something "out there." By Hammett's time, "rationality" has got a foothold and it's sort of inconceivable that the thing that's giving one the creeps is coming from dark spirits. Now, the dark is something "in there", it's Thompson's "The Killer Inside Me." Even scarier because of it's immediacy.

But like Smith mentions, it's the same thing. Great point, Smith.


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