Reading gothic horror stories

As part of our research for our SIGGRAPH 2019 project, my co-creator Kris and I have been reading lots of classic gothic horror stories. Yesterday morning I re-read Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.

This morning I read Perdval Landon’s Thurnley Abbey and The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick. The latter is most definitely gothic horror, despite having been first published in 1953 in a Science Fiction magazine.

When you read a lot of gothic horror in a short amount of time, its general theme really starts to resonate. There is a sense that reality itself — or what you thought was reality — turns out to be a mere veil. Once that veil falls way, something far darker and more terrifying is revealed.

The key here is that we’re not talking about anything as simple as a monster jumping out of the closet. The “monster” turns out to be reality itself. The emotion one feels is not mere fear of pain or of death, but true existential terror — the Universe itself has been compromised.

Very cool stuff. :-)

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