Thursday, 3 February 2011

Gothic horror

Talking of the National Theatre, I'm going to see Frankenstein next week. Hurrah!

At college I took a class with Vic Sage (being able to sit in a room with Vic Sage and Lorna Sage and talk about books made the price of admission to university alone worth it). It was all about Gothic fiction. Gothic fiction is majorly entertaining and still somehow very underrated. There's Poe (Tales of Mystery & Imagination probably a contender for my favourite book ever), there's Washington Irving, there's Bram Stoker, but most of all there's Mary Shelley.

I love it that this towering intellectual book that's cast such a huge shadow over our culture was written by a 19 year old girl. NINETEEN! To be grappling with science, life and death, morality and mythology, gender politics and horror, before you're out of your teens... The Golem existed in folklore before then but she was the first person to think of uniting modern science (galvanism) with monsters in fiction and to come up with this totally new concept of reanimation as a horror plot point. The first. Imagine science fiction/horror films without it.

When I saw last year that Danny Boyle was adapting it for the theatre, I didn't think 'Cool, Trainspotting', or 'Jonny Lee Miller' or even 'Benedict Cumberbatch.' Fuck that. I thought, 'Mary Shelley!'

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