It’s happened to all of us: we meet that person who’s inexplicably captivating. I admit, I’ve been enamored by people now and then after little more than a brief introduction. But, usually those people are charming, witty, sometimes attractive, seemingly kind, and so forth. Usually such people are not white-faced demons with flaming green hair and a pointed desire to “watch the world burn,” as they say in The Dark Knight. And yet, I know now it’s not impossible to be fascinated by just such a person. Much like psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel, who tragically transforms into Harley Quinn, the villainous Joker who sits opposite to the Batman captivates me, though, unlike Harley Quinn, I am (thankfully) not madly in love with him.
In 1988, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland gave the world Batman: The Killing Joke, a graphic novel unique in both its depiction of depravity and the emotional toll it takes on the reader. At first glance, a Batman comic may seem an odd choice for an article on a horror blog. Yet, I’d argue no other piece of literature (comic book or otherwise) delves into the sadistic depths of darkness and evil quite like The Killing Joke. In all I’ve explored of the horror genre proper, there are few works that make me cringe like this and even fewer that leave me as disturbed. In The Killing Joke, the reader encounters an unflinching portrayal of evil. And you can’t remain unchanged after reading it.
Tonight, after a dinner at the Public House, Michael and I headed to Erie’s Warner Theater on 8th street to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho on the big screen while the Erie Chamber Orchestra sat under the screen, playing the score. The experience was phenomenal. Watching musicians play the opening score while credits splashed across the screen was so exhilarating I got chills. Of course, one pivotal musical moment happens during the infamous shower scene, but the music was similarly arresting when the last remains of Marian’s car sink under the swamp, and when “Mrs. Bates” turns around, and we see her “in the flesh.” (Or, if I may, in the lack of flesh). In fact, I never realized how beautiful Psycho’s score was until I saw it produced by a live orchestra. Continue reading “We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Examining Evil, Psychosis, and Human Error in Psycho and Other Films”→