Tales to Terrify No 48 Cat Rambo and Horror 101

December 6, 2012 by Drew S

Coming up:

Good evening 0:00:41

Fact: Horror 101 with Kevin Lucia 0:07:30

Fiction: Events at Fort Plentitude by Cat Rambo 0:42:20

Pleasant dreams 1:08:53

Narrator: Steven Thomas Howell


  1. Yes. I do say an incredibly stupid thing, on this week’s show.

    In commenting on Kevin’s Horror 101 discussion of Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw” I said neither Hollywood nor Pinewood has made a good “Turn of the Screw” film.

    While it is literally true that no good film has been made using James’s title, a very good…no, no, an EXCELLENT…film was adapted from the book in 1961 and was called “The Innocents.”

    “The Innocents,” in fact, is one of my favorite ghost-tale films so there is just no excuse for me.

  2. I enjoyed this installment of Horror 101, and wanted to share a few thoughts:

    Wells’ War of the Worlds actually has one superb Gothic element. Early in part 2 (chapter 1, “Under Foot”) we learn that the Martians use living humans for blood injections. The narrator sees them like so:

    “this Martian … used no Heat-Ray to destroy them, but picked them up one by one. Apparently he tossed them into the great metallic carrier which projected behind him, much as a workman’s basket hangs over his shoulder. It was the first time I realised that the Martians might have any other purpose than destruction with defeated humanity.”

    What a shuddering sentence!
    Later on he realizes,

    “They [the Martians] were heads–merely heads. Entrails they had none. They did not eat, much less digest. Instead, they took the fresh, living blood of other creatures, and injected it into their own veins. I have myself seen this being done, as I shall mention in its place. But, squeamish as I may seem, I cannot bring myself to describe what I could not endure even to continue watching. Let it suffice to say, blood obtained from a still living animal, in most cases from a human being, was run directly by means of a little pipette into the recipient canal. . . .”

    Awesome horror. And the novel appeared at about the same time as Dracula. Interesting, eh?

    Charles Brocken Brown – Edgar Huntly is a fine doppelganger tale. I love the way it uses doubling to explore early America, from immigration issues to town culture.

    Brontes – I’m glad you included Jane Eyre. It’s such a central text to the female Gothic tradition. Check out, for example, Gilbert and Gubar’s classic Madwoman in the Attic, which argues for the enclosed woman as a metaphor for women’s writing and status in the 19th century. Or look for Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, written from Bertha’s perspective.
    I didn’t read Wuthering Heights until I was 29, and, expecting a gentle romance novel (this is how old folks described it) experienced instead horror. Unlike Jane Eyre, this is a novel of extreme violence and cruelty. Remember how Lockwood treats the ghost, sawing its arm across broken glass? Man, there is so much going on in this book. I taught it whenever possible.

    Houses are a crucial aspect of the Gothic to explore. In the American scene they are a way for us to imagine haunted spaces, as we generally lack the mighty, ancient architectural fastnesses Europe so generously provides. We Yanks turn instead to houses, the home, hotels, the suburb built upon an Indian graveyard, the Bates Motel.

    Sorry to be so telegraphic. More later, as I get time –

  3. I am just about to listen to Cat’s story, but I wanted just to put in a word of praise for Kevin’s segment. It was a fascinating insight into a segment of the early development of the horror genre. Certainly I agree about Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights having big gothic elements. (By the way, Lawrence, I agree completely that The Innocents was a good film version of Turn of the Screw – but what about the opera version?) And, to add to Kevin’s insightful comments on the nature of haunted houses, in psychological terms, and in the interpretation of dreams, the house of course, represents the person, and the rooms and so on aspects of the human being, from dark corridors to locked rooms, to bright and airy spaces (not that any of us Tales to Terrify fans are interested in those latter spaces).

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  1. […] Cat Rambo’s story “Events at Fort Plentitude,” which originally appeared in Weird Tales, was podcastified by Tales to Terrify. It features a […]

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