What I like about the Carpenter take on The Thing is the fact that it just has so much suspense. It seemed like a different story, with the horror elements. Those films that really speak to the primal fear that we, as human beings, have about the unknown have always intrigued me. That's the really scary thing, not the slasher, macabre movies.
People look at me as if I were some sort of monster, but I can't think why. In my macabre pictures, I have either been a monster-maker or a monster-destroyer, but never a monster. Actually, I'm a gentle fellow. Never harmed a fly. I love animals, and when I'm in the country I'm a keen bird-watcher.
It is true that as people, we tend to remember only the positive. With time, the grim details fade away, and as a species we survive on this notion. In our desire to gloss over the undeniable macabre parts of our American history, we forget. That amnesia manifests itself, especially when dealing with the plight of black men.
I try to offset any tendency towards the macabre with humour. As I see it, this is a typically English form of humour. It's a piece with such jokes as the one about the man who was being led to the gallows to be hanged. He looked at the trap door in the gallows, which was flimsily constructed, and he asked in some alarm, 'I say, is that thing safe?
The talked about their messed-up, dysfunctional families, carefully respecting boundaries, never probing too deep in any one sitting. And they always ended up laughing. Even when the subject matter was intense or macabre, Henry's sick and twisted and often politically incorrect sense of humor was infectious... Gloria laughed more in these first weeks at Oxford then she remembered laughing almost anywhere.
Andrea Kayne Kaufman
Chad Michael Ward is a master of the storytelling craft. His imagery, both still and moving, reaches deep into the darkest corners of the mind, combining the macabre and the sensuous Revealing humanity's secret daydream atrocities. CMW taps into our most excitable of emotions with a blend of fear and human sexuality. Like an erotic car accident we can not look away from.
The macabre who lived through the war have a story they loved to tell about the soldiers of the Foreign Legion giving a ball in the expanses around Verdun and dancing with the corpses. Alabama's continued brewing of the poisoned filter for a semiconscious banquet table, her insistence on the magic and glamor of life when she was already feeling its pulse like the throbbing of an amputated leg, had something of the same sinister quality.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art some time ago held a display of contemporary art at which $52,000 was awarded to American sculptors, painters, and artists in allied fields. The award for the best painting went to the canvas of an Illinois artist. It was described as "a macabre, detailed work showing a closed door bearing a funeral wreath." Equally striking was the work's title: "That which I should have done, I did not do."
Haw Par Villa is the nutty exception. It's mad, slightly unhinged and overwhelmingly rubbish. Without a doubt, Haw Par Villa is the Louis Tussaus House of Wax of Singapore. There is no higher compliment (...) For it's own sake, Haw Par Villa still had to be terrible, macabre, distasteful and offensive.
The reflection was that of a putrefying corpse. By some trick of the light, her face seemed sallow and slipping, the patches of darkness giving the appearance of skin sloughing off in small pockets. I'd almost forgotten the knife in my panic; the woman was far more dangerous than the weapon. Blood drizzled down the blade, obscuring the macabre reflection of Natalya's face and suddenly I was transfixed by a thought that should have been immediate: Whose blood is that?
Sometimes I am a collector of data, and only a collector, and am likely to be gross and miserly, piling up notes, pleased with merely numerically adding to my stores. Other times I have joys, when unexpectedly coming upon an outrageous story that may not be altogether a lie, or upon a macabre little thing that may make some reviewer of my more or less good works mad. But always there is present a feeling of unexplained relations of events that I note, and it is this far-away, haunting, or often taunting, awareness, or suspicion, that keeps me piling on.
Still, I look down, and the grass is so green, I cannot understand how it does not wither and die with sorrow. But against the emerald carpet, the warriors make war, and it is like a dance, almost beautiful, always macabre. The noise brings me back, the fearsome noise of swords striking swords, a metallic clanging that rings in my ears, echoing and echoing the fearsome din of men screaming and crying as they meet the sharp ends of blades.
Lisa Ann Sandell
The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to rappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will always take first place in the taste of the majority; rightly, perhaps, since of course these ordinary matters make up the greater part of human experience.
H. P. Lovecraft
At this point, a few words on this term 'horror' are perhaps called for. Some amateurs of this kind of literature engage in endless hairsplitting disputes, centered around this word and its close companion 'terror', as to which' stories may so be categorized and which may not, and whether or not descriptions such as weird or fantasy or macabre are preferable. The designation 'horror', with its connotations of revulsion, satisfies me no more than it does the purists but I believe that it is the only term which embraces all the stories in this collection and which succinctly suggests to the majority of readers what is in store for them. Horror then, in this instance, covers tales of the Supernatural and of physical terror, of ghosts and necromancy and of inhuman violence and all the dark corners and crevices of human belief and behavior that lie in between. ("An Age In Horror" - introduction)
In the spring of 1990 I flew to Aspen, Colorado, to cover a summit meeting between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President George Herbert Walker Bush. This fairly routine political event took on sudden significance when, on the evening before the talks were scheduled to begin, Saddam Hussein announced that the independent state of Kuwait had, by virtue of a massive deployment of military force, become a part of Iraq. We were not to know that this act-and the name Saddam Hussein-would dominate international politics for the next decade and more, but it was still possible to witness something extraordinary: the sight of Mrs. Thatcher publicly inserting quantities of lead into George Bush's pencil. The spattering quill of a Ralph Steadman would be necessary to do justice to such a macabre yet impressive scene.
There is something about the very idea of a city which is central to the understanding of a planet like Earth, and particularly the understanding of that part of the then-existing group-civilization which called itself the West. That idea, to my mind, met its materialist apotheosis in Berlin at the time of the Wall. Perhaps I go into some sort of shock when I experience something deeply; I'm not sure, even at this ripe middle-age, but I have to admit that what I recall of Berlin is not arranged in my memory in any normal, chronological sequence. My only excuse is that Berlin itself was so abnormal - and yet so bizarrely representative - it was like something unreal; an occasionally macabre Disneyworld which was so much a part of the real world (and the realpolitik world), so much a crystallization of everything these people had managed to produce, wreck, reinstate, venerate, condemn and worship in their history that it defiantly transcended everything it exemplified, and took on a single - if multifariously faceted - meaning of its own; a sum, an answer, a statement no city in its right mind would want or be able to arrive at.
Iain M. Banks
AN ACADEMIC DEFINITION of Lynchian might be that the term "refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former's perpetual containment within the latter." But like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Porter Stewart-type words that's ultimately definable only ostensively-i.e., we know it when we see it. Ted Bundy wasn't particularly Lynchian, but good old Jeffrey Dahmer, with his victims' various anatomies neatly separated and stored in his fridge alongside his chocolate milk and Shedd Spread, was thoroughgoingly Lynchian. A recent homicide in Boston, in which the deacon of a South Shore church reportedly gave chase to a vehicle that bad cut him off, forced the car off the road, and shot the driver with a highpowered crossbow, was borderline Lynchian. A Rotary luncheon where everybody's got a comb-over and a polyester sport coat and is eating bland Rotarian chicken and exchanging Republican platitudes with heartfelt sincerity and yet all are either amputees or neurologically damaged or both would be more Lynchian than not.
David Foster Wallace
Against a set of desolate scenery, amid spectral crags and livid mountains of ash, beneath the funereal daylight of slopes illuminated in blue, she personified the spirit of the witches' sabbat. Morbid and voluptuous, sometimes with extenuated grace and infinite lassitude, she seemed to carry the burden of a criminal beauty, a beauty charged with all the sins cf the multitude. She fell again and again upon her pliant legs, and as she outlined the symbolic gestures of her two beautiful dead arms she seemed to be towing them behind her. Then, the vertigo of the abyss took hold of her again, and like one possessed she stood on point, holding herself fully erect from top to toe, like a spike of flesh and shadows. Her arms, weighed down just a few moments earlier, became menacing, demoniac, and audacious. Twisting like a screw, she whirled around, like a winnowing-machine - no, like a great lily stirred by a storm-wind. Clownish and macabre, a nacreous gleam showed between her lips... oh, that cruel and sardonic smile, and the two deep pools of her terrible eyes! Ize Kranile!
Compassion for human hurt, a humble sense of our impermanence, an absolute valuation of justice-all of our so-called virtues only trouble us and serve to bolster, not assuage, horror. In addition, these qualities are our least vital, the least in line with life. More often than not, they stand in the way of one's rise in the welter of this world, which found its pace long ago and has not deviated from it since. The putative affirmations of life-each of them based on the propaganda of Tomorrow: reproduction, revolution in its widest sense, piety in any form you can name-are only affirmations of our desires. And, in fact, these affirmations affirm nothing but our penchant for self-torment, our mania to preserve a demented innocence in the face of gruesome facts. By means of supernatural horror we may evade, if momentarily, the horrific reprisals of affirmation. Every one of us, having been stolen from nonexistence, opens his eyes on the world and looks down the road at a few convulsions and a final obliteration. What a weird scenario. So why affirm anything, why make a pathetic virtue of a terrible necessity? We are destined to a fool's fate that deserves to be mocked. And since there is no one else around to do the mocking, we will take on the job. So let us indulge in cruel pleasures against ourselves and our pretensions, let us delight in the Cosmic Macabre. At least we may send up a few bitter laughs into the cobwebbed corners of this crusty old universe.
Four times during the first six days they were assembled and briefed and then sent back. Once, they took off and were flying in formation when the control tower summoned them down. The more it rained, the worse they suffered. The worse they suffered, the more they prayed that it would continue raining. All through the night, men looked at the sky and were saddened by the stars. All through the day, they looked at the bomb line on the big, wobbling easel map of Italy that blew over in the wind and was dragged in under the awning of the intelligence tent every time the rain began. The bomb line was a scarlet band of narrow satin ribbon that delineated the forward most position of the Allied ground forces in every sector of the Italian mainland. For hours they stared relentlessly at the scarlet ribbon on the map and hated it because it would not move up high enough to encompass the city. When night fell, they congregated in the darkness with flashlights, continuing their macabre vigil at the bomb line in brooding entreaty as though hoping to move the ribbon up by the collective weight of their sullen prayers. "I really can't believe it, " Clevinger exclaimed to Yossarian in a voice rising and falling in protest and wonder. "It's a complete reversion to primitive superstition. They're confusing cause and effect. It makes as much sense as knocking on wood or crossing your fingers. They really believe that we wouldn't have to fly that mission tomorrow if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the middle of the night and move the bomb line over Bologna. Can you imagine? You and I must be the only rational ones left." In the middle of the night Yossarian knocked on wood, crossed his fingers, and tiptoed out of his tent to move the bomb line up over Bologna.
There is a degree of emotional impact in the nature poetry of the eighteenth century which marks a shift in sensibility towards what came to be called 'the sublime'. The concept, from classical Greek, came to England through the French of Boileau, and reached its definitive explication in Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757-59). This is a key text of the times, displaying an emphasis on feelings and on imagination, which is almost the antithesis of the neoclassical insistence on form and reason. Burke's idea of the sublime goes beyond natural beauty (although the beauty of nature is very much a part of it) and goes into the realms of awe, or 'terror'. The sublime is, for Burke, 'productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling'. Terror, emotion, feeling: all these represent a break from the intellectual rigours of the Augustan age, and are in one sense a reaction against the new pressures of society and bourgeois concerns... The link between the sublime and terror is most clearly seen in the imaginative exaggeration of the Gothic novel - a form which concentrated on the fantastic, the macabre and the supernatural, with haunted castles, spectres from the grave and wild landscapes. It is significant that the term 'Gothic' originally had mediaeval connotations: this is the first of several ways of returning to pre-Renaissance themes and values which is to be found over the next hundred years or so. The novels of the 1760s to the 1790s, however, gave the term 'Gothic' the generic meaning of horror fantasy. The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole (son of the prime minister Sir Robert Walpole) was the first of this kind, and the sub-genre has flourished ever since... .. Like many texts of its times, Walpole's novel purported to be a translation of an ancient manuscript dating from the eleventh or twelfth century. There was a strange fashion for these mediaeval rediscoveries, Thomas Chatterton and James Macpherson (Ossian) being notable contributors to the trend. Whether this was a deliberate avoidance of boastful originality or an attempt to give the works involved some spurious historical validity is not clear. Peter Ackroyd's novel Chatterton (1987) examines the phenomenon.