Her Kind, a Poem by Anne Sexton

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Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

– Anne Sexton

The Complete Horror Timeline–Part 3 of 3: Mid-End of the 20th Century (1970 – 1999)

Blair Witch Project

Image: The Blair Witch Project, the first “found-footage film, 1999.

The Complete Horror Timeline

Part 3 of 3: Mid-End of the 20th Century (1970 – 1999)*

Go to Part 1: Pre-20th Century * Go to Part 2: 1900-1969

Complete Biography


1970s
This is the decade where film really started to see how far it could go in terms of gritty and sordid realism as America reeled from the images and their eventual loss of the Vietnam War. As Robert de Niro so prosaically put it: ‘Each night… I have to clean the come off the back seat. Some nights I clean off the blood.’ Outside the genre, violent movies were drawing the crowds, the like of Taxi Driver, The Godfather and The Deer Hunter, following on from 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde. It was also the decade of the (s)exploitation movie, though for the horror fan the most notable of these is Spermula, by its title alone (we’re not sure if The Sexorcist counts).

1970s
While there are certainly individual novels of great merit in the genre up to this point, fiction had been dominated by the short story since the demise of the Gothic Novel in the previous century. That all changed in this decade, and the novel would soon be the dominant form. Preceded by such successes as Levin [1967], Fred Mustard Stewart’s The Mephisto Waltz (1969) and Blatty [1971], the deluge began in 1973, soon finding Stephen King [1974] as a champion.

1970s
The re-growth of the popularity of horror on the stage started slowly this decade, the first real indication being Don Taylor’s The Exorcism (1975), playing at London’s Comedy Theatre, starring Honor Blackman and Brian Blessed. The show didn’t last long due the death of another lead, Mary Ure, but received rave reviews. The Rocky Horror Show [1973] and other successes had already occurred, including major adaptations of Blithe Spirit (originally by Noel Coward in 1942) and Sherlock Holmes (1974), with America taking the hint with The Crucifer of Blood (Paul Giovanni) three years later. Another American version of Dracula (1979) [1927] was a ‘miracle of production design and barely concealed eroticism’, though the English tour somehow turned high drama into comic absurdity [16]. This all set the stage, so to speak, for greater things to come, in the [1980s]

1970
A critical year for all death and speed metal, gloom and doom rock fans with the release of Black Sabbath’s first album. Make all the cracks you want about their imbecility, their inability to play their instruments beyond the most rudimentary of levels, their pretentiousness, whatever — the fact remains that there could have been no satanic/death/end of the world/crazed killer from beyond the pale metal without these Birmingham lads. — Tristan Riley

1971
Getting the whole gritty-film-thing off to a fine start was Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, based on Anthony Burgess’ novel of 1962. With its alienating view of rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven, it engendered a rather large amount of controversy, but also carried its own message about the rights of the individual. Not strictly a horror story, excess pushes it into the genre. Stanley Kubrick’s other major horrific foray was The Shining (1980). ‘At 14 [David Duchovny] saw A Clockwork Orange “which didn’t necessarily make me want to be an actor, but did make me want to be a criminal!”‘ [interview in The Sun-Herald, 21/1/96]. [Clippings]

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The Complete Horror Timeline–Part 2 of 3: Into the 20th Century (1900 – 1969)

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Image from the film, Häxan, a 1922 Swedish-Danish documentary-style silent horror film written and directed by Benjamin Christensen.

The Complete Horror Timeline

Part 2 of 3: Into the 20th Century (1900 – 1969)

Go to Part 1: Pre-20th Century * Go to Part 3: 1970 – 1999

Complete Bibliography


1902
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is published. As an exploration of the darker side of the soul it deserves mention, and is also considered the first twentieth century novel. Francis Ford Coppola moved the premise into Vietnam to see what would happen in 1979, whereas Nicholas Roeg’s telemovie (1994) was set in the original’s time period.

1902
‘The Monkey’s Paw’ is W. W. Jacobs’ contribution to the genre, and a significant one it is — probably the most famous short horror story, certainly of those written this century.

1904
The first collection from M. R. James, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, is published, heralding one of the most respected of this century’s horror authors, particularly in his speciality of the quiet but creepy ghost story.

1907
The Listener is published, a book of short stories by Algernon Blackwood containing his best-regarded work, ‘The Willows’. Blackwood was only one of a number of successful authors belonging to the Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society created in 1888 by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and whose most infamous member was Aleister Crowley. Other notable members were William Butler Yeats, Arthur Machen (debuting with ‘The Great God Pan’ in 1894), Lord Dunsany and the incredibly popular (in his time) Sax Rohmer who gave the world Dr Fu Manchu. This group represented not only most of the weird fiction originating in the UK at the time (one report lists Bram Stoker as a member), but is the last flourishing of English horror literature till James Herbert and Clive Barker [1984].

1908
Among the first experiments with film there were a number of gruesome and fantastic scenes, but the first real horror movie was probably William N. Selig’s 16 minute version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde [1885].

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The Complete Horror Timeline–Part 1 of 3: Pre-20th Century (1235 – 1899)

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Black Manor by unknown (Pinterest).

The Complete Horror Timeline

Part 1: Pre-20th Century

Go to Part 2: 1900 – 1969 * Go to Part 3: 1970 – 1999

Complete Bibliography

1235
An order comes out of the Vatican, authorising the commencement of an Inquisition to re-establish the orthodoxy of the faith. The charge of heresy soon becomes entangled with the charge of witchcraft, and in this form took until the seventeenth century to die away. [Article]

1307 – 1321
La Comedia, or The Divine Comedy as it came to be known, of Dante Alighieri is written in Italy. This semi-autobiographical poem sets forth one of the most influential descriptions of Hell in the literature, though Dante’s vast and intricate plan has, in the public eye, been superseded by Milton’s vision [1667]. Even less well-known are the two sections after Inferno that complete the poem, Purgatorio and Paradiso. [Article]

Nothing ere I was made was made to be
Save things eterne, and I eterne abide;
Lay down all hope, you that go in by me.

— trans. Dorothy L. Sayers

1456
Vladislav Basarab of Transylvania gains the crown of Wallacia for the first time (until 1462, and again briefly in 1468). From his father he earned the nickname ‘Dracula’, son of the Dragon, but he earned for himself the name Vlad the Impaler, for his favourite method of execution. Despite a large amount of slander by his political opponents, many of the tales of his cruelty were true (he is said to have killed over 40,000 people in his reign). He was also a staunch defender of Christendom from the Turkish threat. [1897]. [Article]

1470 – 1516
The Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch in this period produced paintings of religious theme and nightmarish impact — the best known is The Garden of Earthly Delights. They came to the attention of the Inquisition after his death, but powerful patrons protected the collection. [Article]

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“Yet each man kills the thing he loves…” Oscar Wilde (“The Ballad of Reading Gaol” 1898)

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He looked upon the garish day
With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
Into an empty space.

– Oscar Wilde

Links

Cliqck here to read the entire poem…

Click here to learn about the poem…

Click here to read about the poem in The Guardian…

“The Listeners” — a Creepy Poem by Walter de la Mare

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‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:—
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

– Walter de la Mare