Monday, July 29, 2019

The Great War and the taste for horror …

… The Horror of War and the Thrill of Horror – (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

After the armistice of November 1918, a wave of vivid memoirs, plays, novels, and poems tried to grapple with the civilization-shaking event that everyone had just experienced. These gradually gave way to more sanitized recollections, as each nation tried to move on from the conflict. Yet that wartime experience didn't disappear from the culture, Poole argues. It went underground, feeding a resurgent horror genre, especially in the new medium of film. Movies transmuted the effects of poison gas, flamethrowers, machine guns, and massive artillery barrages into creatures that reminded audiences of their all-too-real confrontations with death and dismemberment. While most of Europe and America tried to turn away from an industrial war's killing fields, the horror genre stared deeply into those abysmal years and brought forth fascinating monstrosities.

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