I love folksy beliefs. Chief among those that interest me is the belief that if you die in your dream, you really die. I don’t imagine this is true, because I have died in my dreams, and I’m still here to relate the experience. Sometimes in my dreams, I don’t merely die; I’m already dead. But Charles Beaumont taps into this fear of dream-death in his short story “Perchance to Dream,” which is also the name of the collection of short fiction the story appears in. Beaumont, one of the most influential Twilight Zone writers, died of Pick’s disease (and, possibly, early-onset Alzheimer’s) at age 38, but his contributions to the horror and science fiction genres are nonetheless abundant. This is the first of his works I’ve read, but with the compilation Perchance to Dream safely in my hands, I intend to read many more. Continue reading “To Read “Perchance to Dream””
I’ve come to conclude that one of the richest elements of Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams is the introduction he writes to each story. I’ve also come to conclude that the stories aren’t scary, per se, but that’s okay; I don’t think he intends to scare as much in this book as he does in some of his more frightening novels, despite what the somewhat misleading book title would suggest. What is particularly intriguing about The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is its rich variety. Each story is distinctly its own entity, written with a different style. I think variety in output is often the hallmark of true talent, though I need not make the argument that King is truly talented, because that seems like an understatement. The stories stand alone as good writing, but combine together to form an eclectic view not on the infinitely terrifying, but on the darker side of life. Continue reading “A Trip to the Bazaar: Stephen King’s “Premium Harmony” in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams”
Reading E.F. Benson’s “Caterpillars” tonight harkened me back to a summer night three years ago. I was in my bedroom on a balmy evening. I was living with my parents because I was a poor grad student. My parents usually turned the air conditioning on, but that night they didn’t and the stifling heat seemed to devour the wind that was trying to creep through my window. I fell asleep nonetheless, and when I woke up in the middle of the night, there was the shadow of a man standing above my bed. Mind you, this was before I re-kindled my childhood fascination with horror and that perhaps illusory world between life and extinction. So my mind wasn’t primed to see phantoms the way it theoretically would be now. I remember distinctly seeing the outlines of the books on my bookshelf behind the figure. I felt very much “there.” Everything looked real. Continue reading “It Was All A Dream: Or Was It?”
When I prepare to write a review of a story or movie, it goes something like this: I scribble some notes, on a tablet or in the margin of the book. Usually, I use these notes to prompt larger points. More ideas flow as I write. It’s highly exhilarating; I just started writing reviews for a blog, but I love it. At the same time, it doesn’t seem particularly hard. Indeed, it’s easy to discuss how I feel about something I’ve read. Sometimes, it’s easy to analyze it on a deeper level, especially if I apply a handy academic paradigm. Paradigms make all analysis easier. I went through four years of liberal arts schooling and two years of an English Master’s program; I know how to break things down and analyze them. My point? I find it relatively stress-free and enjoyable.
Robert Louis Stevenson does horror supremely with “the Body-Snatchers.” After all, what better sustenance for horror than a story about the illicit collection of corpses for money? In life, we all face situations where we have to choose between right and wrong. Sometimes, the right action is obscured, but usually the choice is clear. Only, the right action is difficult to take, for various reason. Such a conundrum becomes the impetus for further action in “The Body-Snatchers.” “The Body-Snatchers” is a gruesome story about the domino effect that follows a blatantly wrong choice, and the chooser’s concomitant fall. Continue reading “Snatch a Dose of Horror with “The Body-Snatchers””