Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Horror yesterday - horror today

I've been re-reading Stephen King's "Dance Macabre" recently - actually not a novel at all, but a book about horror as a such. It's an interesting read I can recommend for everybody who is either interested in this field or just has to find out about it for college or university. It's written quite well and even though it's not very up to date - it was written in the 80s -, most of it is still right. After all, the novels and movies he writes about do not change just because new one are produced.

Anyway, the book made me think about horror novels and movies as a such. I've been a fan of those from around 13 when I tackled Bram Stoker's "Dracula" for the first time and also read the first Stephen King novels. While I'm not reading that many horror stories today - I've found a host of other interesting books as well -, I still like them and remember some of them, like "Dracula", "Salem's Lot", "Needful Things" and a variety of penny dreadfuls quite well.

The same goes for a lot of movies I saw in my teens - and I'm currently being remembered of those movies a lot, given the fact Hallowe'en has finally arrived in Germany and most TV-stations answer to this by packing their late night programs with horror movies.

While the looks of the movies have changed a lot since the 80s, mainly due to the new special effects you can do with a computer these days, the topics - as I've realized while going through the book again - still remain the same. There are still a lot of vampires about (especially since "Underworld" and "Van Helsing") and there's still the strong theme of 'Things Mankind Is Not Supposed To Know'. The only thing sadly missing at the moment is a good movie about spiders or snakes, in my point of view. I haven't seen a decent movie about snakes in a while and "Eight Legged Freaks" wasn't a real horror movie to me. Sharks are still there (my favourite is "Deep Blue Sea" and I'm still waiting for a good movie version of Steve Allan's "Meg"), but where would Hollywood stand without those creatures of the deep?

The same goes for the novels. Some things have changed - ever since 'Interview with a vampire' our perception of the vampire as a such has been different - but most things remain the same. After all fear is one of our most basic emotions and we've found out how to tease it a long time ago.

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