When I was a kid, there was this one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and the pile of clothes on my chair looked suspiciously like someWhen I was a kid, there was this one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and the pile of clothes on my chair looked suspiciously like some deformed monster, and I quickly dove under the covers. Fortunately, I'm really good at the whole sleeping thing, so I fell asleep quickly. I also used to have an irrational fear of vampires for a few days when I was little, which made me cover my neck every night when I went to bed, but that's a different story. I rarely had any troubles with sleep or fear, or both of them together.
Then, a couple of years ago when I was already living in my own apartment, I suffered a bout of sleep paralysis. I think I was at a stage when I was about to wake up, but I couldn't move or fully open my eyes. I saw my eyelashes flickering in front of my eyes, and then I saw a shadow on the wall. It didn't have a familiar form, just this blotch that was both oily and fuzzy at the same time, but I remember being convinced that it would attack me if I didn't run away right there and then. Obviously, the fact that I couldn't move horrified me, and I felt like I was stuck in another realm. I wanted to scream, but only a tear ran down my cheek. It didn't feel like reality at all, although I knew I was still in my apartment. At some point I just fell asleep and everything was back to normal again when I woke up.
I know that none of what I saw was real, so it's strange that you can actually have an experience where you fully believe in monsters (it's also not that comforting to know that you can't stop sleep paralysis from coming; if it comes back, it comes back). Wells's short story brought all that back to me. It's a very conventional story about a man who doesn't believe in ghosts and wants to stay in a haunted room. The ending falls flat and I expected more from the actual haunting, but the approach is interesting. It's up for the reader to decide what really happened, because the first person narrative allows room for interpretation.
It's all about the power of imagination and suggestion, and what being alone in a supposedly haunted place, with only shadows as your company, might do to you. The shadows might hide something or they may not, but the human mind is nevertheless able to change innocent things into something else, especially if there's complete silence and solitude. Also, would the narrator have had the same experiences if he hadn't known about the room's past or heard the stories about ghosts? Fear is an interesting thing, because it can suddenly creep up on you even when there's no reason to be frightened.
"There is neither ghost of earl nor ghost of countess in that room; there is no ghost there at all, but worse, far worse, something impalpable—"
"Well?" they said.
"The worst of all the things that haunt poor mortal men," said I; "and that is, in all its nakedness—' Fear!' Fear that will not have light nor sound, that will not bear with reason, that deafens and darkens and overwhelms. It followed me through me in the room—"
(A list of horror authors who have had at least one book published in Finnish.) Pätevän oloinen ja asian ytimeen menevä hakuteos, jonka alusta löytyy m(A list of horror authors who have had at least one book published in Finnish.) Pätevän oloinen ja asian ytimeen menevä hakuteos, jonka alusta löytyy myös pari kirjoitusta esittelyksi sekä suomennettuun kauhukirjallisuuteen että yleisemmin kauhun historiaan ja kehitykseen. Toki joitain kirjailijoita on suomennettu teoksen julkaisun jälkeen, mutta lista on silti varmasti hyvä alku niille, jotka aloittelevat genreen tutustumista (eivätkä välttämättä koe englanniksi lukemista omakseen). Löysin itsekin muutamia mielenkiintoisia uusia tuttavuuksia, koska tajusin että kiinnostukseni kauhuun on näemmä rajoittunut Kingiin ja muutamaan 1800-luvun/1900-luvun alun kirjailijaan/novellistiin....more
An interesting scientific approach that reminds me of Ghost Hunters and other modern day investigators, but there's a lot of referring to things thatAn interesting scientific approach that reminds me of Ghost Hunters and other modern day investigators, but there's a lot of referring to things that are never explained further, and the stories have very little variety case-wise. Carnacki goes to investigate, constructs a system of defence against the supernatural forces, and then either the supernatural force is vanquished or the whole thing is revealed to be a hoax.
It's all so formulaic that it makes me think whether Carnacki (who's an exceptionally one-dimensional character) is eventually going to die of boredom because of his job. In The House Among the Laurels the atmosphere is briefly intense when the manifestation starts to come to life, but only briefly. The writing itself reminds me of Lovecraft, and that ain't a compliment when it comes from me. Frustratingly vague and flat....more
To make a zombie war realistic is commendable, and everything that comes with warfare is explored fairly satisfactorily by Brooks. People have varyingTo make a zombie war realistic is commendable, and everything that comes with warfare is explored fairly satisfactorily by Brooks. People have varying degrees of survival skills and each handles the situation differently. Some find unexpected strength, some get disheartened, some act like complete asswipes etc.
As the outbreak starts in China and spreads all over the world, we see the success of governments depending on how seriously they take the threat and how well they have estimated their powers to stop it. Unfortunately for me, Brooks spends a lot of time explaining the political background of the war, the different strategies, and the general global effects.
The parts I found most interesting were the struggles of civilians. When the world looks like it's ending, not even rich celebrities are able to save themselves by splurging money on the newest security technology (that chapter was hilarious by the way).
It all boiled down to personal preference regarding the zombie experience. What I missed in World War Z, I've previously found in The Walking Dead (the tv-series) and Night of the Living Dead (1968). It's the individuals that interest me, although Brooks's characters seem to be the same old cliched stereotypes (the Japanese, wtf?), and therefore the whole book is lacking real cultural insight. The lack of tension was the biggest problem, though. The zombies themselves seemed to be mere background elements in order to take a stance on the modern world and its future. The execution of the interview format didn't help, what with all the infodumping and expositions happening in a supposedly oral history....more
I currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildlyI currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildly entertaining, if even that. The vomiting scene makes me want to eat pea soup. Pea soup, mustard, and crisp bread with cheese on top are the best combination ever - but I digress. If the film was meant to be funny, fine, but since the tone is serious throughout I highly doubt it was made as anything else than a good ol' creep show. Ravenous (1999) and Evil Dead II (1987) are hilarious gore fests (although I don't usually like overly violent horror) but The Exorcist is unintentionally so.
However, this wasn't always so. I can't remember my age, but I was certainly under ten when me and my two friends decided to secretly watch it. Obviously it was a bad idea, since it scared the shit out of me. I've never liked hospitals or anything remotely related to them, so when Regan was subjected to all kinds of tests that alone was horrifying. I don't remember the famous scenes, though, so I was probably mostly burying my face under a pillow and only listening to all the suspicious screams. Fast-forward to a couple of years later when I rewatched the whole thing: Jesus Christ, what is this now?
I think the problem is that I don't like exorcism horror. Even The Conjuring (2013), which is otherwise excellent, was in danger of falling flat during the latter half. I find nothing even remotely scary about a contorted body, a face that looks like Chucky, blasphemy, profanities etc. It's then painfully obvious what my attempt to inject a little creepy horror into the hot summer days turned out to be: a dud.
I don't require a lot from a horror novel, just that there's a some sort of looming threat or creepiness that has an effect on me. Blatty spends too much time educating the reader about possessions and psychology, and the underlying message about how God is good and evil will always lose is a bit heavy handed for my liking. There's also this awkardness in his writing, like he wanted to appear more intellectual and literary, but actually failing miserably (a sad table? really?). I did like Karras, his struggles with faith and the games he had with the demon, but the story overall works better in a visual form. The novel does however reflect (either intentionally or unintentionally) the social upheavals of the time, so that's something that would be worth exploring.
I'm trying to catch up on 1970s horror novels, since I've already seen some films from that era, but Blatty left me disappointed and underwhelmed, and the issues far outweighed the interesting aspects. I'm confident there will be better material later on (and there already has: The Other (1971) is the ultimate forgotten horror classic that is atmospheric, creepy, and heaps of fun)....more
A basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small toA basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small town works great in a horror novel, and when King sinks his teeth into the small town life, it's executed in such a way that I always keep coming back to get a fix of that certain atmosphere. Although the identity of the werewolf is easy to guess right at the beginning, this was still an entertaining snack. Even at his worst King is highly readable and fun....more
While Maupassant's The Wolf fell flat, here he depicts madness in a more convincing and harrowing way. Too uneven and meandering but still worth the rWhile Maupassant's The Wolf fell flat, here he depicts madness in a more convincing and harrowing way. Too uneven and meandering but still worth the read. Even more effective when you know that in his later years Maupassant suffered from paranoia among other things, and was finally committed to an asylum....more
A family has been vilified and reproached for years. They are accused of being werewolves and causing misfortune, and due to the society's judgment thA family has been vilified and reproached for years. They are accused of being werewolves and causing misfortune, and due to the society's judgment they are forced to live in isolation. After suffering great losses, the protagonist is driven into a state of rage and "transforms" himself into a werewolf with the help of a dyed sheepskin and a mask.
An interesting early example of lycanthropy as a psychological disorder. Could also be interpreted as an intentional act to seize an opportunity instead of an involuntary delusion: why not try to shed the last remnants of a conventional society and act like a werewolf, when you're already believed to be one? The love aspect might be forced, if it wasn't about finding someone who actually accepts you for who you are, hair and all. The final sentence even has a glimpse of humour....more
Body horror in the dark corners of colonial Africa. The mysterious and moody suspense leads to a final revelation that is both disgusting and slightlyBody horror in the dark corners of colonial Africa. The mysterious and moody suspense leads to a final revelation that is both disgusting and slightly amusing. I'm kind of hoping a campy 1980's flick exists that was inspired by this story....more
Sweyn and Christian are brothers, who clash after a beautiful woman comes into their lives. Sweyn falls in love with her, but Christian believes she'sSweyn and Christian are brothers, who clash after a beautiful woman comes into their lives. Sweyn falls in love with her, but Christian believes she's a werewolf. He tries to convince his brother, but Sweyn thinks he's mad. Christian ends up showing to him the meaning of real love.
I absolutely loved that this felt like an extended and elegantly written folk tale, which also has the kind of werewolf I love. The references to Christ's sacrifice could have been less obvious. I'm more into showing, not telling. That was just a minor thing, though, and luckily it wasn't taken very far. The violence during the chase scene caught me by surprise. Pleasantly, but it was still kind of icky. I can just hear that crackling in my ears. The beginning on the other hand was creepy and subtle in just the perfect way. People are gathered around the fireplace, when suddenly they hear a voice from the outside. The way Housman desribed the darkness when the door was opened was great. She had also taken all the interesting aspects of werewolf mythology, and managed to make a seemingly simple story into a wonderful allegorical horror tale.
By the way, Clemence was a leading figure in the Suffragette movement. A suffragette writing about werewolves makes me unbelievably happy. I don't know why, but it does....more
Inspired by a real murder case, where Burke and Hare murdered fifteen people and sold the bodies to a private anatomy school. Not really scary per seInspired by a real murder case, where Burke and Hare murdered fifteen people and sold the bodies to a private anatomy school. Not really scary per se (more like a tale of conscience and principles), but pleasantly moody in a traditional ghost story way. The ending reminded me of a particularly unpleasant one, that I had already forgotten. Crap. The whole body snatching thing is a really interesting topic, which shows the wonderful weirdness of people back then....more
I can't easily come up with a more pallid place than Florida. At least I've always thought of it (like King expresses in this book) as a place of newlI can't easily come up with a more pallid place than Florida. At least I've always thought of it (like King expresses in this book) as a place of newlyweds and half dead. And maybe Hemingway lookalikes (I know, it may be a stereotype, but all states have their own I guess). Somehow King makes this calming sunny paradise into a less calming one with his own convincing style. Through Edgar Freemantle he explores the consequences of a serious accident: how difficult the recovery process is, but how it's still possible with determination and the support of loved ones.
I liked the oppressive feeling. That state which doesn't stem from the temperature, but from the feeling that someone's watching and manipulating you. In that state the breeze of wind coming from the ocean doesn't feel refreshingly, cool but brings with it the smell of the dead. The characters are nice and down-to-earth, and I liked the theme of art and creativity because of its former familiarity in my life. I once again started to think whether I should dig up my pencils and papers and start scribbling. And starve myself, because I forget to eat in the midst of the burst of creativity.
Although overall this is good King quality, the story involuntarily seems a bit prolonged. I can't tell whether the balance would be restored by cutting some of the stuff out, but around the middle part I started to experience a slight stagnation both in the story itself and in character development. Nevertheless, it was a real delight to get a King book in my hands once again and disappear into that world for a while. It's amazing how someone has such storytelling skills, that I had to read the last 200 pages or so obsessively and feverishly on one sitting, because I couldn't wait till the next day to see how it will all turn out. Actual horror elements didn't get their place in the spotlight properly until the latter half, but King really let himself go in that part, so it was worth the wait. How the hell twins can be so scary? Don't get it....more
Unlike in the case of The Tenant, Roman Polanski's source material proved to be far inferior to the film here. Even my mother who hates horror and susUnlike in the case of The Tenant, Roman Polanski's source material proved to be far inferior to the film here. Even my mother who hates horror and suspense remembers the film, and she got chills when she found out what I was reading. Oh well...
Rosemary is a bit bland and little girl-ish as a character (like Mia Farrow is in the film, but she just had enough charisma so that I wasn't bothered about it), who luckily before the ending starts to show some sort of taking control of the situation. On the other hand, the revelation concerning the baby is a big cliché and kind of ridiculous. Levin's writing style was awkward and sometimes reminded me of a movie script.
Maybe this was due to me having seen the movie, but the naivety and blindness of Rosemary started to annoy me because I already knew the Castevets' secret. The book wasn't particularly creepy even for psychological horror. Levin didn't manage to create any atmosphere, and the monotonically told daily chores mainly just made me yawn. The dream scene and the ending were a small improvement and a nice change to the flatness. It's also always nice and relaxing (yes, for me it's usually that) to read these classic horror novels, even if they don't get to the level of the famous films based on them....more