ETA Hoffmann- The Golden Flower
Pot, The Automata- The beloved holiday favorite of The Nutcracker comes
from this twisted German dude who reviewed Beethoven's new stuff.
Chiefly notable for cracking descriptive power and an imagination to
which the advance of time has merely added mojo.
Frankenstein- Now her we've heard more about. Familiar as we are with
the movie versions, once the creature starts bounding around the craggy
mountain peaks and starts telling his side, things get really
Edgar A. Poe- The Fall of the House of Usher, The
Tell-Tale Heart- Master of the short story. Poe works atmosphere and
gets into the head of his narrator like nobody else.
Stevenson- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- We take it for
granted as an image because it's so effective, but the split-personality
story, and the mad doctor story, has never been outdone--in spite of
spawning such great works as Altered States and The Silence of the
Bram Stoker- Dracula- Still spot on. The dark
inventiveness of the first main section from Harker's journal carries
the rest of the story.
Shirley Jackson- The Haunting of Hill
House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle- The darkest and loneliest
writer of all, with sentences as good as Steinbeck's best.
Lovecraft- The Colour Out of Space, The Whisperer in Darkness- He
started out copying Poe and wound up becoming seminal in terms of unique
style and the dark, consistent richness of his universe. Has aliens,
Stephen King- The Shining, 'Salem's Lot- Bringing
the modern world and all its pop culture brought his stories of death to
life at the time they were written. These two novels don't just still
hold up, the history they hold of '70s-ness has quite nicely gelled.
Stephen Gilbert- Willard- A top-quality story in every respect, and
twist on the Pied Piper, about a guy living with his invalid mother,
stuck in the rat-race at work, who finds he can control a whole lot of
rats. For awhile.
Ira Levin- Rosemary's Baby- Could be the best
Gothic book ever written. Host-woman for Devil-Boy's gestation. Just
about interchangeable with the movie.
Washington Irving- The
Legend of Sleepy Hollow- Two schools of Gothic thought: On the one hand,
there's Ann Radcliffe--Scooby-Doo follows the Radcliffe Gothic
model, which says that there really aren't spooks, it was just the wind,
basically. And then on the other hand we have Matthew Lewis--the last
fifty pages of The Monk are especially sweet--in whose Gothic world the
supernatural does exist, and can get you. I love The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow, but would prefer if Irving weren't so Radcliffe-like in his
Philip K Dick- Imposter- It's not typical October
fare, but Imposter is an exciting and frightening great American short
story about artificial life and identity.
Magic- The same guy who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (the
most successful Western movie ever) also wrote All the President's Men,
and The Princess Bride, and this dark gem about a man and his ventriloquist dummy.
Wells- War of the Worlds, The Island of Dr. Moreau- Big on concept,
Wells' strength is not in memorable characters so much as memorable
situations, too often disturbingly prescient. Was Wells influenced by
the mythological figures of artist Gustave Moreau? Take a Google and see
what you think.
Craig Jones- What Happened to Rhodri,
Outbreak- Master of the zombie story. Huge on humor, Jones works
elements of Poe, Wells, and George Romero in ways that make tales of
rotting bodies fresh.
Sheridan LeFanu- Carmilla- Gives Dracula a
run for the money as best vampire story--and precedes it, written by a