Wednesday, 23 February 2011

"I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome . . . "

It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open”

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

I have been thinking about my influences & would say Gothic literature and horror is a massive one. I wouldn’t say I have a love for horror in the ‘shock splatter gore’ sense of the word and I do not wear a long black leather coat and have fangs. But, I love ‘classic’ horror stories: Frankenstein, Dracula, Wuthering Heights, anything by MR James, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P Lovecraft & Ambroise Briece. You might think Wuthering Heights is a odd one to include, being a love story, but, actually it’s a perfect Gothic example.
In my experience Gothic novels include a number of key themes on top of the usual terror, suspense and mystery. And they are as follows. ....
Gothic horror checklist:
  • Omens, portents, visions—often the story is based on a prophecy
  • Opposites / Light and dark, black & white, good & evil
  • Supernatural elements & characters – not explained by science
  • Terror evoked through the depiction of physical and psychological violence
  • Architecture – Medieval settings or ruined buildings, physical decay of characters reflected through surroundings.
  • Explores dreams / the nightmares under the surface of the “civilized” mind or aberrant psychological states
  • Features melodrama & mad characters
  • Merciless, flamboyant villains
  • Persecuted damsels
  • Curses which pass down the generations
  • Dark family secrets or family curses / incest
  • Hero / anti hero with a flaw

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