Initial: There are many narrative movies I might have chosen for “W” but I decided on this documentary. I often wonder myself, “Why horror?” (And I still wonder. Maybe I’ll post about that some day in the future.)
What Did I Think: “Why horror?” is a big question and this documentary explores it broadly, but also focuses on Tal Zimerman’s personal history with horror.
Zimerman is an actor, writer, and a devoted horror fan. With the birth of his son, he began to wonder, why? Why did he find so much enjoyment and entertainment in things that might be seen as disturbing by others? *Is* there something wrong with horror fans? Or, is being an aficionado of the creepy okay, or even beneficial? Zimerman and filmmakers Kleiman and Lindsay talk to prominent industry figures and a cadre of academics.
Many theories are bandied around, and few answers are given. Fear, especially fear of the unknown, is a good evolutionary trait and maybe horror movies give us in the 21st century a way to fine-tune or safely test our fears. Maybe scary movies (and literature, video games, etc.) are a catharsis for the neurotic. Horror has been used in the teaching of moral lessons and also been seen as a moral danger. Maybe, everyone has a dark side and horror media is an acceptable way of expressing those darker urges. One of the more interesting bits was when Zimerman and his mother (not a horror fan) both watched horror clips while their physiological reactions were measured. Oddly enough, both had similar bodily reactions. The documentary also touches on how horror subjects are treated around the world. Really there is so much here that it could easily be multi-part series.
In the end, Zimerman notes that, despite it all, horror fans are more prevalent now and also more accepted as a fandom in general. For him, that sense of community, even when it was a community of outsiders, has been one of the best things.
I participated in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon on this past Saturday. I started more books than I finished, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I did read, cover-to-cover,Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren. It’s a horror novella that has been getting quite a bit of award nomination notice. Dora, who has recently lost her two children to a tragedy, becomes a resident at The Angelsea, a boarding house for people who have a hard time sleeping. It’s a grimy, skeevy place full of ghosts and opportunists.
I also read/listened to a few short stories, including Lovecraft’s “Colour Out of Space” and the delightful “The Tree’s Wife” by Mary Elizabeth Counselman. I’m not familiar with Counselman, but I find it delightful that she wrote for both Weird Tales and Good Housekeeping.
Deal Me In
J♦️ – “Dotty” by Horacio Quiroga This story by Uruguayan writer Quiroga was translated by Nina Zumel. Zumel includes a link discussing the translation and adaptation: how to include the word-play of the original story when a fairly straight English translation doesn’t allow for that. I think she does a darn good job. This story is a little weird and a little unsettling as we contemplate the many meanings of “dotty.”
Willa Cather Short Story Project
This month’s story is “The Son of the Celestial,” in which Cather indulges in Oriental exoticism. On one hand, it’s Cather stretching her writing muscles. It’s imaginative and has some fine imagery. On the other hand, the depiction of Yung Le Ho is very stereotypical for the time (and for a long time to come). Ponter is his good friend, a white man who is on the outs with academia due to his propensity for drinking and pool playing. It should be noted though that Yung is still a member of his community while Ponter is not really a member of white society.
One of the books I started on Saturday was Nightmare Movies: Horror on the Screen since the 1960s by Kim Newman. It’s big. I’ll try to finish it by the time my loan ends. Still doing a chapter-a-day of God Emperor of Dune (which reminds me, I haven’t read today!). And I’ve jumped back into the world of ARCs with P. Djèlí Clark’s A Master of Djinn.