Horror, and the week that’s in it
It’s that scary time of year again, and I’m musing on my favourite horror stories and films. What is it that makes fiction frightening? Personal bookish favourites include Frankenstein (not for the horror factor, but for its compelling human sympathy) and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (the terror of the uncontrollable within). A course in university on Gothic fiction taught us to read it from a psychoanalytical perspective, which was a fascinating process that only served to augment and internalise the fright therein.
When it comes to fictional fear-merchants, I should point out that I have always been embarrassingly easily scared, and was forbidden to watch even the Incredible Hulk due to the post-TV show nightmares induced even when my own younger sister found it perfectly palatable. I’ve been petrified by The 39 Steps, King Kong and even the Boys from Brazil over the course of my youth, so eschewed a lot of the grimmer stuff that was terrifying my peers (Poltergeist etc). As an adult, however, I’m about ready to push the fear boundaries again and, while I’ve been freaked by the Red Rumming kid in the Shining, I did manage a full night’s sleep afterwards.
With this in mind, I’d appreciate any recommendations of scarey fiction – on the page or screen – to get me in the Hallowe’en spirit.