Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir Horror?

From: Bob Toomey (
Date: 09 Feb 2000

Ron Clinton wrote:
> Bob Toomey wrote:
> > Hardboiled is
> > grounded in a skeptical, cynical, unsentimental view of the world.
> > Horror is the polar opposite -- romantic, sentimental, emotional.
> Perhaps if by "horror" one means those bodice-ripper Gothics that were
> popular decades ago or the ghost stories of the 19th century and early 20th
> century. Or today's Mary Higgins clones. But if you're suggesting that the
> horror of the last two decades is limited to "romantic, sentimental,
> emotional" prose, you may want to sample a Lansdale, Laymon, Schow, Bloch,
> Ketchum, Garton, McCammon, King, Koontz (okay, maybe you're right about
> him), Campbell, Brandner or a host of other horror luminaries who would
> savage your view into hardboiled, cynical, unsentimental, bloody ribbons by
> the end of the first chapter.

I've read all these guys and like their stuff, with the exception of Brandner. King, McCammon, Koontz and Campbell I would score pretty high on the romantic, sentimental and emotional scale. Laymon is more hardboiled, but there's a strong streak of romantic sentimentality in his work. Maybe all the blood in your eyes is blinding you to those elements. Ketchum is harder still, but can you honestly say that a book like JOYRIDE isn't romantic in its basic outlook? As for Garton, LIVE GIRLS strikes me as pretty romantic, and his BLOOD & LACE (as Joseph Locke) is even more so. Even an extreme piece of work like Poppy Z. Brite's EXQUISITE CORPSE is highly romantic, sentimental and emotional at its core. All of these writers are straight out of the Gothic tradition -- ask them, they'll be happy to tell you that.


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