RARA-AVIS: Horror and Gothic and Noir ("Oh, My!")

From: Reed Andrus ( randrus@home.com)
Date: 06 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.

Tribe replied:

> 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."

Well... not typically with the Ann Radcliffe "school" in which a rational solution generally overcame any supernatural overtones. But I agree that resolution in either form is not as important as the attitude and the actual plotting.

Someone mentioned Hjortsberg's FALLING ANGEL -- an excellent example of a supernaturally-based noir/hard boiled. Jay Russell has been doing similar things lately with his character Marty Burns, a semi-PI while struggling as an actor (CELESTIAL DOGS, BURNING BRIGHT). And Terrill Lankford deserves a place in this category (but only with one book; T.O. when are the next ones due?).

Richard Laymon was mentioned in passing. He's usually associated with supernatural horror, but it really depends upon your definition. His
"Beast House" series is really an extension of Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" in which the perpetrators, horrendous as they are, aren't supernatural. Laymon's presented some very hardboiled attitudes in many of his books -- THE STAKE and BITE come to mind, either of which is more Joe Lansdale than Lauren Hamilton.

...Reed (wondering how long Bill D. is gonna let this thread go on)

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